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Lecture 2

LINB06H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Financial Institution, Adverb, Preposition And Postposition

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Juvenal Ndayiragije

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LINB06 – Lecture 2 – Constituency, Phase Structure Rules and Trees
How do words combine together to form sentences?
Ex. Few students attended the first lecture of this course
Constituent – a group of words form a constituent if they function together as
a syntactic unit
Two Logical Possibilities
Option 1 – Words enter the sentence (S) one by one
Option 2: Words are first grouped into small sets (constituents/phrases)
and these constituents are grouped into larger ones, as so on until we
get a sentence
E.g. Set 1: [A N] Set 2: [T V] Set 3: [D A N] Set 4:[P D N]
[Many students] [will attend] [the first lecture] [of the course]
Tools: Four Syntactic Tests
Test 1: Replacement
oIf you can replace a group of words with a single word, then the group
forms a constituent
oE.g. Some of my students took an online English Grammar course
this summer.
They took an online English grammar course this summer
Who took an online English grammar course this summer?
Mine took an online English Grammar course this summer
The italicized string of words is a constituent because it can be
replaced by a pronoun
Test 2: Stand alone
oIf a group of words can stand alone in response to a question, then
they probably form a constituent
oE.g. What will we do Friday night?
A. Go to the bar or most likely go to the bar
B. *will most or will most likely
Follows the italicized groups of words in (A.) qualifies as a
constituent, not the ones in (B.)
Test 3: Movement
oIf a group of words can be moved around in the sentence, then they
are a constituent because you can only move constituents
oClefting: involves putting a string of words between It is (or It was)
and that at the beginning of a sentence
oPseudo-clefting: involves putting the string of words before is/are
what or is/are who at the front of the sentence
oPassive: involves putting the object in the subject position, and
changing the verb from the active form to a passive one
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