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Chapter 5- Syntax The Analysis of Sentence Structure.pdf
Chapter 5- Syntax The Analysis of Sentence Structure.pdf

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Chandan Narayan

Chapter 5- Syntax: The Analysis of Sentence Structure Syntax- the system of rules and categories that underlies sentence formation in human language Grammatical- the status of a sentence that speakers judge to be a possible sentence of their language Transformational/generative grammar- a widely accepted approach to syntactic analysis in which syntactic phenomena are described with the help of transformations  Used widely in linguistics Universal Grammar (UG) – the innate (standard) system of categories, operations, and principles that are shared by all languages  Despite the many superficial differences among languages, there are certain commonalities with respect to how syntax works  The syntactic component of any grammar must include at least 2 subcomponents: o Lexicon- a speaker’s mental dictionary, which contains info about the syntactic properties, meaning, and phonological representation of a language’s words o Computational system- operations that combine words and arrange them in particular ways  2 principle structure-building operations: o Merge- a syntactic operation that combines elements to create phrases and sentences o Move- a syntactic operation that transports an element to a new position within a particular sentence 5.1- CATEGORIES AND STRUCTURE Syntactic category-the category into which an element is placed depending on the type of meaning that it expresses, the type of affixes it takes, and the type of structure in which it occurs (includes both lexical and functional categories) 5.1.1- Categories of Words Lexical categories- a word-level category whose members have substantial meaning  Noun (N) – a lexical category that typically names entities, can usually be inflected for number and possession (in English), and functions as the head of a noun phrase  Verb (V) – a lexical category that typically designates actions, sensations, and states, can usually be inflected for tense, and functions as the head of the verb phrase  Adjective (A) – a lexical category that designates a property or attribute of an entity, can often take comparative and superlative endings in English, and functions as the head of an adjective phrase  Preposition (P) –a lexical category that functions as the head of a prepositional phrase and occurs before its complement  Adverb (Adv) – a lexical category that typically denotes a property of the actions, sensations, and states designated by verbs 1 Non- lexical/functional categories- a word-level syntactic category whose members are harder to define and paraphrase than those of lexical categories  Determiner (Det) – a functional category that serves as the specifier of a noun  Auxiliary verb (Aux) –verbs that must always occur with another verb in complete sentences  Conjunction (Con) – a functional category that joins 2 or more categories of the same type, forming a coordinate structure  Degree word (Deg) –a functional category that serves as the specifier of a preposition or an adjective Meaning  A word can be refer to as a noun, but also can be refer to as a verb  Even though words for actions tend to be verbs, some nouns also express this type of meaning Inflection  Very useful for distinguishing among different categories of words Distribution Distribution- the set of elements with which an item can co-occur  A noun with a determiner  A verb with an auxiliary  An adjective with a degree word 5.1.2- Phrase Structure Phrase- a unit of syntactic structure consisting of an obligatory head and an optional specifier and/or complements Transitive- a verb that takes an NP complement (a direct object) Intransitive- a verb that does not take a direct object The Blueprint  A typical phrase can be broken down into 3 parts: o A head o A specifier o A complement  Arranged in accordance with the blueprint or ‘schema’ (X’  ‘X-bar’)  Inverted ‘trees’ capture the hierarchical organization of phrases and sentences o All phrases have a 3-level structure (X, X’ and XP) o All phrases contain a head, X 2 o If there is a complement, it is attached at the intermediate X’ level, as a ‘sister’ of the head o If there is a specifier, it is attached at the XP level Heads Head (of a phrase) – the word around which a phrasal category is built  The obligatory nucleus which a phrase is built  Usually are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and prepositions  Can form a phrase all by itself Specifiers  The type of specifier depends on the category of the head  Nouns  determiners  Verbs  qualifiers  Adjectives and some prepositions  degree words  When a specifier is present, it attaches to XP, in accordance with the X’ schema  Usually occur at the left boundary (the beginning) of their respective phrases  Help make the meaning of the head more precise Complements Complement- the element or elements for which a head is subcategorized and which provides info
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