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Syntax ch 3.docx

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LING 1000
Linda Gerber

Chapter 3: Syntax: The Sentence Patterns of Language 1  Syntax: The part of the grammar that represents a speaker’s knowledge of sentences and their structures.  Rules of Syntax: Principles of grammar that account for the grammaticality of sentences, their hierarchical structure, their word order, whether there is structural ambiguity. Ex: system from the word un + system + atic + ally. Grammatical or Ungrammatical:  Well formed: Sequences of words that conform to the rules of syntax. (grammatical)  Ill formed: Sequence of words that violate the syntactic rules. (ungrammatical) What Grammaticality is not based on  The ability to make grammaticality judgements does not depend on having heard the sentence before.  Grammaticality judgements do not depend on whether the sentence is meaningful or not  You may understand ungrammatical sequences even though you know they are not well formed.  Grammaticality does not depend on the truth of sentences. Untrue sentences can be grammatical.  Our unconscious knowledge of the syntactic rules of grammar permits us to make grammaticality judgements. What else do you know about Syntax?  Ambiguity: The term used to describe a word, phrase or sentence with multiple meanings.  Hierarchical structure: The groupings or subgroupings of the parts of a sentence into syntactic categories. Ex: the bird sang [[[the] [bird]] [sang]]; The groupings and subgroupings of morphemes in a word  Structural ambiguity: The phenomenon in which the same sequence of words has two or more meanings based on different phrase structure analyses. Ex: He saw a boy with a telescope.  Grammatical relations: Any of several structural positions that a noun phrase may assume in a sentence.  Subject:  Direct Object: The grammatical relation of a noun phrase when it appears immediately below the verb phrase (VP) and next to the verb in deep structure; the noun phrase complement of a transitive verb. Ex: the puppy in the boy found the puppy. Sentence Structure Chapter 3: Syntax: The Sentence Patterns of Language 2  Tree diagram: A graphical representation of the linear and hierarchical structure of a phrase or sentence.  Constituents: A syntactic unit in a phrase structure tree. Ex: the girl in a noun phrase constituent in the sentence the boy loves the girl.  Constituent structure: The hierarchically arranged syntactic units such as noun phrase and verb phrase that underlie every sentence  If the sentence has more than one constituent structure, it is ambiguous, and each tree will correspond to one of the possible meanings. Syntactic Categories.  Syntactic Category: Traditionally called “parts of speech”; also called grammatical categories; expressions of the same grammatical category can generally substitute for one another without loss of grammaticality. Ex:noun phrase, verb phrase.  Noun phrase (NP): category of expressions containing some form of a noun or pronoun as its head, and which functions as the subject or as various objects in a sentence.  Verb phrase (VP): The syntactic category of expressions that contains a verb as its head along with its complements such as noun phrases and prepositional phrases. Ex: gave the book to the child.  Verb: The syntactic category, also lexical category, of words that can be the head of a verb phrase. Verbs denote actions, sensations, and states. Ex: climb, hear, and understand.  Prepositional phrase (PP):  Sentence: A syntactic category of expression consisting minimally of a noun phrase, followed by an auxiliary, followed by a verb phrase in deep structure.  Adjective phrase (AP): A syntactic category, also phrasal category, whose head is an adjective possibly accompanied by modifiers that occurs inside noun phrases and as complements of the verb to be, ex: worthy of praise, several miles high, green, more difficult.  Determiner (Det): The syntactic category, also functional category, of words and expressions that when combined with a noun forms a noun phrase. Includes the articles the and a  Adjective (Adj): The syntactic category, also lexical category, of words that function as the head of an adjective phrase, and that have the semantic effect of qualifying or describing the referents of nouns. Ex: tall, bright, intelligent.  Noun: The syntactic category of words that can functions the head of a noun phrase, such as book, jean, and sincerity.  Preposition: The syntactic category, also lexical category that heads a prepositional phrase. Ex: at, in, on, up.  Adverb: The syntactic category, also lexical category, of words that qualify the verb such as many adverbs like quickly and time adverbs like soon. The position of the adverb in the sentence depends on its semantic type. Ex: John will soon eat lunch, john eats lunch quickly. Chapter 3: Syntax: The Sentence Patterns of Language 3  Auxiliary verb: Verbal elements, traditionally called “helping verbs,” that co- occur with, and qualify, the main verb in a verb phrase with regard to such properties as tense, ex: have, be, will. Phrase Structure Trees.  Phrase structure tree: A tree diagram with syntactic category information. AKA constituent structure tree.  Articles: One of several subclasses of determiners. Ex: the, a.  Node: A labelled branch point in a phrase structure tree; part of the graphical depiction of a transition network represented as a circle, pairs of which are connected by arcs.  Every higher node is said to dominate all the categories beneath it. VP dominates V, NP, PP, Det, B, P.  A node is said to immediately dominate the categories one level below.  Sisters: Categories that are immediately dominated by the same node. Heads and Complements  Head (of a compound): The rightmost word. Ex: house in doghouse. It generally indicated the category and general meaning of the compound.  Head (of a phrase): The central word of a phrase whose lexical category defines the type of phrase. Ex: the noun man is the head of the noun phrase the man who came to dinner;  Complements: The constituent(s) in a phrase other than the head that complete(s) the meaning of the phrase. In the verb phrase found a puppy, the noun phrase a puppy is a complement of the head verb found. Selection  Transitive verb: A verb that selects an obligatory noun phrase complement. Ex: find.  Selection: A specification in the lexical entry of a word that determines the constituents required or permitted as complements when that word is the head of a phrase. Ex: in a verb phrase, a transitive verb such as find requires a direct object complement, whereas a verb such as eat permits a direct object complement.  Intransitive verb: A verb that must not have a direct object complement. Ex: sleep. What Heads a Sentence?  Modals: The auxiliaries other than be and have.  Auxiliary verbs specify a time frame for the sentence, whether the situation described by the sentence will take place, already took place, or is taking place now.  To express the idea that Aux is the head of S, the symbols INFL (=inflection) and IP (=inflection phrase) are often used instead of Aux and S Chapter 3: Syntax: The Sentence Patterns of Language 4
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