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What is Syntax?. The rules that govern the structure of utterances; also called grammar The basic organization of sentences is around syntax build sentences around syntactic constituents; not word meaning nonsensical sentences & non-grammatical sentences

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what is syntax
What is Syntax?

The rules that govern the structure of utterances; also called grammar

The basic organization of sentences is around syntax

build sentences around syntactic constituents; not word meaning

nonsensical sentences & non-grammatical sentences

colorless green ideas sleep furiously -vs-

run boy the quickly to dog home the

more proof
More Proof

Nonsensical words/lexical gaps

‘Twas brilig, and the slithytoves did gyre and gimble in the wabe:

All mimsy were the borogoves and the mome rathsoutgrabe.

The grammatical constituency is clear even if you don't know what the word means

two levels of structure
Two Levels of Structure

surface structure

final result of the grammar

deep structure

underlying structure, based upon grammatical categories and constructed by syntactic rules

Most prescriptive grammars only deal with surface structure concerns. Why?

They address how we write, not how we speak. Also most deal with style concerns, ie effective language use, rather than true grammatical rules

transformational generative grammar
Transformational Generative Grammar

Generative Grammar

rules that allow us to create any sentence

Transformational Grammar

uses “shortcuts” to change surface structures

Descriptive

not telling us how we should construct sentences, but trying to explain how we create sentences

levels of constituency
Levels of Constituency

Word—smallest unit in syntax

N, V, Adj, Adv, Det, Pro, Prep, Comp, Conj

Phrase—consists of word level constituents

Consists of a head and compliments

NP, VP, PP, AP, CP

Sentence—consists of Aux, Phrases, and a few function word constituents

what is an auxiliary
What is an Auxiliary?

Aux is the head of a sentence

AuxTense (modal) (have +en) (be +ing)

Tense Past or Non-Past

Modalcan, do, will, may, etc

The “+en” and the “+ing” attach themselves to the main verb

have +en eg. have written

be +ing eg. is writing

properties of syntactic rules
Properties of Syntactic Rules

Grammatical—meet with native speaker’s linguistic competence

Open-ended—allow for endless productivity in language

Synonymy—allow to express idea in more than one way

Ambiguity—allow a sentence to have more than one meaning

a few notes about the rules
A Few Notes About the Rules

Simplified rules

Hierarchical: follow L to R

Parenthesizes mark optional components

An arrow [] means “consists of”

A superscript n [ n ] means this component can be repeated

More than one rule means more than one choice