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S yntax . Structures of sentences. Syntax is…. Openness Ordering words in sequences to express meanings for which no separate word exists. Meanings we want to express far outstretch the resources provided by the lexicon & morphology. Syntax is…. Openness

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S yntax l.jpg

Syntax

Structures of sentences


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Syntax is…

  • Openness

    • Ordering words in sequences to express meanings for which no separate word exists.

    • Meanings we want to express far outstretch the resources provided by the lexicon & morphology


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Syntax is…

  • Openness

    • Ordering words in sequences to express meanings for which no separate word exists.

    • Meanings we want to express far outstretch the resources provided by the lexicon & morphology

  • Though the lexicon & morphology are somewhat open (to new members/meanings), syntax gives another way to express new meanings/nuances/ precision/links between ideas


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Syntax is…

  • Openness

    • Syntax enhances the creativity of expression

  • All grammatical systems (phonology, morphology, the lexicon) are open, however openness is a more salient feature in syntax.


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Syntax is…

  • Sentences

    • The largest linguistic unit showing grammatical structure (over which patterns apply)*

    • Opposite the morpheme – the smallest such unit


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Syntax is…

  • Sentences

    • The largest linguistic unit showing grammatical structure (over which patterns apply)*

    • Opposite the morpheme – the smallest such unit

  • Bloomfield: S= a string of words not included in any larger form by virtue of grammatical structure

  • John went home. I saw him.

  • 2 sentences; bec the 2 are gram’ly independent


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Syntax is…

  • A system of principles constructing & interpreting new sentences (hence, it’s open)

  • New sentences are quite common, more so than words. They’re more likely to be considered unremarkable (vs. words)


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Syntax is…

  • Grammaticality

    • Not to be confused with ‘meaningfulness’

    • Some grammatical sentences are nonsensical

    • Some ungrammatical sentences are sensical


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Syntax is…

  • Grammaticality

    • Not to be confused with ‘meaningfulness’

    • Some grammatical sentences are nonsensical

    • Some ungrammatical sentences are sensical

  • Recognizing the ungrammatical tells us about the syntax of a language.

  • As across all science, finding ‘problems’ leads to insights about the system.


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Hierarchy: sentence structure

  • Grouping

    • ‘above’ the level of morphology and words (the lexicon) and ‘below’ the sentence, we have another unit which we need to recognize in order to understand language.


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Hierarchy: sentence structure

  • Grouping

    • ‘above’ the level of morphology and words (the lexicon) and ‘below’ the sentence, we have another unit which we need to recognize in order to understand language.

  • We find evidence for these ‘chunks’ of words in three tests: movability, contractibility, & structural ambiguity.


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Hierarchy: sentence structure

  • Grouping:

  • Movability

    • If certain groups always move about together, they constitute a single group


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Hierarchy: sentence structure

  • Grouping:

  • Movability

    • If certain groups always move about together, they constitute a single group

    • A reasonable criterion but imperfect:

      • ‘on the fence’ ‘the fence….the net on’ (p 109)


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Hierarchy: sentence structure

  • Grouping:

  • Movability

    • If certain groups always move about together, they constitute a single group

    • A reasonable criterion but imperfect:

      • ‘on the fence’ ‘the fence….the net on’ (p 109)

    • However, words that don’t belong together don’t consistently move around in concert

      • Cf. ‘the net on’ (p 109)


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Hierarchy: sentence structure

  • Grouping:

  • Contractability

    • The potential for a string of words to be replaced by a single word (if it is, that string = a gr’mtcl element)


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Hierarchy: sentence structure

  • Grouping:

  • Contractability

    • The potential for a string of words to be replaced by a single word (if it is, that string = a gr’mtcl element)

    • Also imperfect: are ‘through the mtns’ or ‘the line through mtns’ replaceable?


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Hierarchy: sentence structure

  • Grouping:

  • Contractability

    • The potential for a string of words to be replaced by a single word (if it is, that string = a gr’mtcl element)

    • Also imperfect: are ‘through the mtns’ or ‘the line through mtns’ replaceable?

    • Again, groups of words which don’t belong together cannot be replaced by a single word

      • E.g. ‘chugged along the’


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Hierarchy: sentence structure

  • Grouping

  • Meaning differences/structural ambiguity

    • Sometimes a sentence/phrase which has ambiguous meanings can be interpreted by alternative groupings (or construing the structure differently)

      • E.g. ‘to shoot the man with the rifle’

  • This, thus, recognizes the various groups as valid units


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Syntactic units

  • Grammatical units showing unified behavior

  • E.g. morphemes, words, sentences…clauses & phrases


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Syntactic units

  • Grammatical units showing unified behavior

  • E.g. morphemes, words, sentences…clauses & phrases

  • Clauses

    • Simple sentences: just one verb and one event

    • Complex sentences: combine simple Ss


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Syntactic units

  • Grammatical units showing unified behavior

  • E.g. morphemes, words, sentences…clauses & phrases

  • Clauses

    • Simple sentences: just one verb and one event

    • Complex sentences: combine simple Ss

      Simples Ss or their modified versions = clauses


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Syntactic units

  • Clauses

    • 1. minor clause: basically no structure (e.g. interj.)

    • 2. major clause: refers to real/imaginary event & “has” a verb and accompanying nouns

      • A. Independent – stand alone

      • B. Dependent – but correspond to ind. clauses


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Syntactic units

  • Phrases

    • Intermediate-sized units b/w words & clauses


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Syntactic units

  • Phrases

    • Intermediate-sized units b/w words & clauses

  • Grouped by internal structure:

    • NP & VP - found in most languages

      • NB nouns & verbs are not separate p.o.s. in all languages


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Syntactic units

  • Phrases

    • Intermediate-sized units b/w words & clauses

  • Grouped by internal structure:

    • NP & VP - found in most languages

      • NB nouns & verbs are not separate p.o.s. in all languages

    • PP, AdjP, AdvP– even less common


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Syntactic units

  • NPs

    • Typically refers to some concrete/abstract entity

    • May include: Determiner, Possessive Pron, Demonstrative, Adjective


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Syntactic units

  • NPs

    • Typically refers to some concrete/abstract entity

    • May include: Determiner, Possessive Pron, Demonstrative, Adjective

  • VPs

    • Refers to events that NPs are involved in

    • Includes: lexical verb + gram &/or lex free/bnd morphemes


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Clause structure

  • Clauses – sequences of phrases of various types

    • Similar to phrase structure

  • Sample structures:

    • NP VPI ate

    • NP VP PPI ate at home

    • VP NP PPAre you at home?


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Clause structure

  • Clauses – sequences of phrases of various types

    • Similar to phrase structure

  • Sample structures:

    • NP VPI ate

    • NP VP PPI ate at home

    • VP NP PPAre you at home?

    • PP VP NPIn Norway lives a nysse

    • VP NP NPAre you my mother?

    • NP VP NP NPI will give her something precious

    • INT VP NPWhat is that thing?

    • INT VP NP PPWhen was the train in Voss?


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Clause structure

  • However….

    • Consider questions which use auxiliaries:

      • Should we go? Do you like me? Will you give that to him?


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Clause structure

  • However….

    • Consider questions which use auxiliaries:

      • Should we go? Do you like me? Will you give that to him?

    • Notice the AUX and its VERB are split


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Clause structure

  • However….

    • Consider questions which use auxiliaries:

      • Should we go? Do you like me? Will you give that to him?

    • Notice the AUX and its VERB are split

      • We can ‘record’ such sentences but that would greatly increase the number of sentence patterns that we store.


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Clause structure

  • However….

    • Consider questions which use auxiliaries:

      • Should we go? Do you like me? Will you give that to him?

    • Notice the AUX and its VERB are split

      • We can ‘record’ such sentences but that would greatly increase the number of sentence patterns that we store.

      • As you’ve noticed, linguistics:

        • looks for ways to streamline all language-related units we store


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Clause structure

  • However….

    • Consider questions which use auxiliaries:

      • Should we go? Do you like me? Will you give that to him?

    • Notice the AUX and its VERB are split

      • We can ‘record’ such sentences but that would greatly increase the number of sentence patterns that we store.

      • As you’ve noticed, linguistics:

        • & tries to do so by making generalizations/rules. (thus, this increase in sentence patterns to be memorized is rejected in favor of formula which capture pattern regularities)


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Clause structure

  • Grammatical relations

    • Furthermore…the NP VP PP variety description, although capturing generalizations about clause structure, fails to say anything about meaning:

      • Leaving out any acct of systematic sims & difs in mng


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Clause structure

  • Grammatical relations

    • Furthermore…the NP VP PP variety description, although capturing generalizations about clause structure, fails to say anything about meaning:

      • Leaving out any acct of systematic sims & difs in mng

    • Such a description merely specifies possible formal shapes, related only in that they involve similar component units


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Clause structure

  • Grammatical relations

    • Furthermore…the NP VP PP variety description, although capturing generalizations about clause structure, fails to say anything about meaning:

      • Leaving out any acct of systematic sims & difs in mng

    • Such a description merely specifies possible formal shapes, related only in that they involve similar component units

    • Gr roles show differences in mng expressed by formally related Ss & also deepens understanding


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Grammatical relations

  • Gr roles show differences in mng expressed by formally related Ss & also deepen understanding:


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Grammatical relations

  • Gr roles show differences in mng expressed by formally related Ss & also deepen understanding:

  • …by recognizing gr’tcl roles or functions assoc’d w/ the formal syntactic shapes it is possible not just to acct for differences of mng expressed by formally re- lated Ss, but also to describe clausal syntax beyond merely listing alternatives


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Grammatical relations

  • Gr roles show differences in mng expressed by formally related Ss & also deepen understanding:

  • …by recognizing gr’tcl roles or functions assoc’d w/ the formal syntactic shapes it is possible not just to acct for differences of mng expressed by formally re- lated Ss, but also to describe clausal syntax beyond merely listing alternatives

  • 3 different types of gr’tcl functions:

  • Experiential roles, Subj/obj, Theme


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    Grammatical relations

    • Experiential roles

    • NP VP PP etc tell us sthg @ a S’s structure

      • But not @ meaning


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    Grammatical relations

    • Experiential roles

    • NP VP PP etc tell us sthg @ a S’s structure

      • But not @ meaning

    • 1 The Northstar is leaving from track 2

    • 2 The Northstar is being shunted from track 2


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    Grammatical relations

    • Experiential roles

    • NP VP PP etc tell us sthg @ a S’s structure

      • But not @ meaning

    • 1 The Northstar is leaving from track 2

    • 2 The Northstar is being shunted from track 2

      Same phrase patterns (NP VP PP) but NP is an Actor ‘doers of event’ (in 1) and an Undergoer ‘patient or sufferer’ (in 2)… (Verb = Event)


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    Grammatical relations

    • Subject/Object – needed in add’n to above 3 experiential roles

      • The sniper shot the tourist

      • The tourist was shot by the sniper


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    Grammatical relations

    • Subject/Object – needed in add’n to above 3 experiential roles

      • The sniper shot the tourist

      • The tourist was shot by the sniper

    • But note how the unfortunate tourist is ‘undergoing’ in both but functions grammatically differently. i.e. it ‘moves’ to the front, before the verb; verb ‘agrees’ w/ NP; NB use of pronoun substitution for the NP and the use of tag Qs.


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    Grammatical relations

    • Subject/Object – needed in add’n to above 3 experiential roles

      • The sniper shot the tourist

      • The tourist was shot by the sniper

    • But note how the unfortunate tourist is ‘undergoing’ in both but functions grammatically differently. i.e. it ‘moves’ to the front, before the verb; verb ‘agrees’ w/ NP; NB use of pronoun substitution for the NP and the use of tag Qs.

    • Thus subjectdiffers from actor


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    Subject/Object: not so easy

    • Is it (the S or O) just a formal gr’tcl role assoc’d w/ an NP in a particular structural position?


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    Subject/Object: not so easy

    • Is it (the S or O) just a formal gr’tcl role assoc’d w/ an NP in a particular structural position?

    • Or is it also a meaningful gr’tclreln? (like actor,etc)


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    Subject/Object: not so easy

    • Is it (the S or O) just a formal gr’tcl role assoc’d w/ an NP in a particular structural position?

    • Or is it also a meaningful gr’tclreln? (like actor,etc)

      • If yes, consider:

      • Subject = perspective clause is viewed from

        • Viewed from sniper/tourist’s p.o.v.


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    Subject/Object: not so easy

    • Is it (the S or O) just a formal gr’tcl role assoc’d w/ an NP in a particular structural position?

    • Or is it also a meaningful gr’tclreln? (like actor,etc)

      • If yes, consider:

      • Subject = perspective clause is viewed from

        • Viewed from sniper/tourist’s p.o.v.

      • (or) Sub= the thing about which the truth of the proposition can be evaluated


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    Subject/Object: not so easy

    • Is it (the S or O) just a formal gr’tcl role assoc’d w/ an NP in a particular structural position?

    • Or is it also a meaningful gr’tclreln? (like actor,etc)

      • If yes, consider:

      • Subject = perspective clause is viewed from

        • Viewed from sniper/tourist’s p.o.v.

      • (or) Sub= the thing about which the truth of the proposition can be evaluated

      • (or) Sub= cognitive prominence; …events are profiled from the subject’s perspective


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    Subject/Object: not so easy

    • So, if it’s also a meaningful gr’tclreln? (actor, etc)

    • …then, what of Object?


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    Subject/Object: not so easy

    • So, if it’s also a meaningful gr’tclreln? (actor, etc)

    • …then, what of Object?

      • Perhaps it represents the secondary vantage pt


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    Subject/Object: not so easy

    • So, if it’s also a meaningful gr’tclreln? (actor, etc)

    • …then, what of Object?

      • Perhaps it represents the secondary vantage pt

      • NB ditransitive verbs (e.g. ‘give’ …takes 2 objects)

        • Which ever is fronted takes on secondary prominence


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    Subject/Object: not so easy

    • Hence S/O are not the construal of the world of experience/experiential meaning;


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    Subject/Object: not so easy

    • Hence S/O are not the construal of the world of experience/experiential meaning;

    • S/O = selecting perspectives that the speaker wants to represent…which leads perhaps to the hearer adopting the same angle.


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    Subject/Object: not so easy

    • Hence S/O are not the construal of the world of experience/experiential meaning;

    • S/O = selecting perspectives that the speaker wants to represent…which leads perhaps to the hearer adopting the same angle.

    • AKA ‘the establishment of a shared perspective… Lx as interactive; mng as interpersonal


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    Grammatical relations

    • Theme (AKA ‘topic’)

      • Can be either what the clause is about, or establish a setting for it: it anchors the message, fixing a pt from the message can be expanded

    • Cf German example on p 121


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    Grammatical relations

    • Theme (AKA ‘topic’)

      • Can be either what the clause is about, or establish a setting for it: it anchors the message, fixing a pt from the message can be expanded

    • Cf German example on p 121

      • ‘DerPriester’ & ‘Den Bischof’ are S & O respectively


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    Grammatical relations

    • Theme (AKA ‘topic’)

      • Can be either what the clause is about, or establish a setting for it: it anchors the message, fixing a pt from the message can be expanded

    • Cf German example on p 121

      • ‘DerPriester’ & ‘Den Bischof’ are S & O respectively

      • The 4 examples have same experiential & interper-sonalmngs; & NPs maintain roles (NOM & ACC)

      • But the theme hinges on which NP comes first


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    • Undergoer – indicates patient or sufferers


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