Chapter 6 and 7 Notes.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Narayan, Chandan

Chapter 6: Syntax What is Syntax?  It is a system of rules and principles that describe how we organize words into phrases and phrases into larger units, the largest being the clause  The position of a word in the sentence is often the only way we know its syntactic category (part of speech). Ex. The girl goes on many long walks (noun). The girl walks (verb) the dogs  Sentences have some kind of internal structure, structure about which we have pretty strong intuition Phrase/Phrase Structure:  A phrase is a syntactic unit. A collection words that are headed by a syntax category (noun phrases, verb phrases, adjective phrases, etc.)  Phrase Structure: a system of rules that organizes words into larger units or phrases (they tell us about the syntax of certain categories)  Each syntax structure can be divide into phrases, and each phrase must have a head (word who syntactic category determines the category of the phrase). Constituents group of words that forms a larger syntactic unit (all the elements in a phrase)  Heads combine with other elements to make up phrases  We can draw tree diagrams, to represent phrase structures (see lecture notes for examples) Noun and Noun Phrases:  Usually have determiners which is a modifying word that determiners the kind of reference a noun/noun phase has such as the, these, this, all some, six. (ex. Possessive, quantifier, indefinite, definite)  There can be more than one determiner, but they have a specified order. And some nouns don’t need determiners (eg. proper nouns)  Phrase Structure Rule: NP -> (Det) N “can contain a determiner or more than one, but must contain a noun)  Head: the noun Verbs and Verb Phrases:  Syntactically verbs can be divided into three groups: o Main Verbs: feel, go, eat, run, hope (verb that occurs under V and is head of VP, they are lexical verbs) o Auxiliary Verbs: have, be (form of have, be, or do that occurs in Aux, a syntactic position preceding V) o Modal verbs: may, might, shall, should, will, would, can could, must (class of verbs that occur in Aux  These elements occur in a specific order; modal precede auxiliary have, have precedes be, and last is the main verb. (modal) (have) (be) main verb  Since main verbs are required, it is the head of the verb phrase (VP). To keep things simple we consider Aux-> modal, have or be  Phrase Structure: VP-> (Aux) V  With negation: have/be/modal + not then the main verbs (evidence that the aux is in a separate position then the main verb)ji Subject-Auxiliary Inversion:  Is the moment of an auxiliary verb to sentence-initial position (preceding the subject- NP) to form a question o Eg. Minerva is singing the aria -> Is Minerva singing the aria?  Main verbs in English cannot undergo SAI. Eg. Sings Minerva the aria?*  Tag Question Formation: syntactic rule that “copies” the subject and an auxiliary or modal verb in sentence-final position: Bert should leave, shouldn’t he?  Main verbs don’t appear in tag question formation English-Do Insertion:  Is the insertion of pleonastic (not necessary) do into empty Aux to form questions, tags, or negative sentences  This do insertion occurs in sentences without an auxiliary or modal verb, in contexts which such an auxiliary or modal is needed to form a question or negate the sentence  Way to look at it: sentences that express tense but do not have the Aux, Aux position is still there, but when such sentences are negated or questioned, do shows up in Aux to do the work of auxiliary verb (Which would otherwise be ungrammatical) o Sings Minerva the aria?*….. Does Minerva sing the aria? Emphatic And Main Verb Do:  Do can also occur for emphasis, in sentences that lack an auxiliary or modal, the emphatic do is stressed e.g. But I DID clean my room!  The sentences sound very odd if do is not emphatic and is pronounced with level intonation  Sometime do also acts as the main verb in the sentence. E.g. I did my homework/ I am doing my homework/ I have done my homework  We know this since, if we want to negate or question such sentence, do insertion applies just as it does in other sentences with main verbs and no Aux verb. o Eg. Did I do my homework? (SAI) Aux as its own Syntactic Category:  We have seen that there is quite a bit of evidence that the Aux position is not part of VP, but rather a separate constituent altogether.  Evidence: Joachim played a game of chess but Minerva didn’t play a game of chess  The sentence illustrate a phenomenon called VP deletion, which, VP deletion operates only on the VP but not on Aux  The evidence from VP deletion, together with the other evidence we have discussed supports the hypothesis that Aux is actually a separate from VP.  Revised Structure VP: -> V Aux-> (modal) (have) (be) or (do) (for our purposes we leave Aux as part of the VP, and don’t write aux if it’s not there) A Phrase Rule for Clauses:  CL-> NP Aux VP… note that Aux is separate from VP (and present, even if it is not filled with an actual word). Adjectives and Adjective Phrases:  Adjectives are words that describe noun
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