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  1. Topics in English SyntaxAn Introductory Course Lecture notes

  2. Topics in English Syntax Bibliography The following works have been used and quaoted extensively without this use being clearly marked. Verspoor, M. (2000), English Sentence Analysis: An Intro-ductory Course. Amsterdam: Benjamins Burton-Roberts, N. (19972), Analysing Sentences. An Introduction to English Syntax. London etc.: Longman Huddleston, R.; Pullum, G. K. (2002), The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: CUP Lecture notes

  3. Topics in English Syntax • Introduction to the practical analysis of Present-day Standard English • two especially favoured dialects „Standard Southern British English“ and „American English“ • spoken or written by (educated) native speakers ( UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, ...) • language of the government, broadcasting, print media, education, science, public discourse • any topic, • for informal and formal events Lecture notes

  4. Topics in English Syntax • E - language, the externalized language seen as a potentially infinite set of sentences • performance (errors, slips, other problems) • corpus data (representativity as a problem) • I - language, the internalized language seen as a finite set of rules and principles in the mind of a native speaker / hearer • competence (Chomsky 1986, Barriers) • idealization • introspection (methodological problems) Lecture notes

  5. Topics in English Syntax • Syntax: the branch of grammar dealing with the organization of words into larger structures such as phrases and sentences; the study of sentence structure. • Three basic assumptions: • Sentences have parts which may themselves have parts. • The parts of sentences belong to a limited range of types. • The parts have specific functions within the larger parts they belong to. Lecture notes

  6. Topics in English Syntax • Sentence patterns & functions of communication • give information about something to someone • [John] subject [is leaving] whole verb // declarative • ask someone for information • [Is] part of verb [John] subject [leaving] rest of verb // interrogative • make someone do something • [Leave!] verb only // imperative • express one‘s feeling or attitude • [What] What a shock! Rest of sentence // exclamatory Lecture notes

  7. Topics in English Syntax In a declarative sentence speakers give information on • one or more participants (subject, object) • the event, state, process, activity (predicator) • attributes of participants (attribute) • the setting of the event or situation (adverbial) • The little tiger is happy. • The boy turned five years old yesterday. • The boy considered the tiger dangerous. • A bird hit the car. • The boy gave the tiger some milk. • He was holding his balloon up high. • Pam bought him the book. Lecture notes

  8. Topics in English Syntax Roles Function abbrev. 1st participant subject S process / event predicator P 2nd participant direct object DO 3rd participant indirect object / IO benefactive object BO attributes of 1st participant subject attribute SA attributes of 2nd participant object attribute OA the setting adverbial A Lecture notes

  9. Topics in English Syntax Basic / typical word order patterns of English sentences with subject - predicate - other participants - attribute - setting (predicator = verb; predicate = predicator plus complements other than subject: predication = predicate plus subject (external complement) ) (1) Intransitive verb pattern Pam is jumping (high). - (1st participant , process) - (subject, predicate, (adverbial)) - (predicator = intransitive verb cycle, listen, talk, swim, ...) Lecture notes

  10. Topics in English Syntax Basic / typical word order patterns of English sentences (2) Copula verb pattern Tiger is a nuisance. - (1st participant, process / state) - (subject, predicate, (subject attribute )) - (predicator =copula verb: be, appear, grow, seem, look, make, smell, sound, become, prove, taste, feel, remain, turn) Lecture notes

  11. Topics in English Syntax Basic / typical word order patterns of English sentences (3) The (mono-)transitive verb pattern Pam read the book. A bird hit the car. - (1st participant, process / activity, 2nd participant) - (subject - predicate - direct object) - (predicator = mono-transitive verb: see, hold, kick, hear, believe, think, read, print, ...) Lecture notes

  12. Topics in English Syntax Basic / typical word order patterns of English sentences (3) The ditransitive pattern Mother bought Pam a lolly. John gave Peter the present. (1st participant, process / activity, 2nd participant, 3rd participant) (subject, predicate, direct obj, indirect / benefactive obj) (predicator = ditransitive verb: give, buy, tell, send , pass, ...) Lecture notes

  13. Topics in English Syntax Basic / typical word order patterns of English sentences (5) The complex transitive pattern They elected John the president - (1st participant, process / activity, 2nd participant, attribute of 2nd participant) - (subject, predicate, direct object, object attribute) - (Predicator = complex transitive verb: make, wipe, drive, call, crown, name, consider, assume, regard, certify, declare, deem, ...) Lecture notes

  14. Topics in English Syntax • Note: Many verbs can be used in several patterns • He makes a good teacher. (1) • He made a goal. (3) • We made him a cake. (4) • The troops made him emperor. (5) Lecture notes

  15. Topics in English Syntax • Note: (1) the declarative sentence pattern can have different communicative functions. (2) words have different senses in different contexts (3) „process, state, activity“ are loose or fuzzy labels for events which are denoted by the predicates (4) there exist terminlogical variants: e.g. subject complement, object complement, used for subject / object attribute Lecture notes

  16. Topics in English Syntax sentence subject predicate predicator complement adverbial* no complement subject attribute direct object dir obj + indirect or benef. obj dir obj + obj attribute Lecture notes

  17. Topics in English Syntax • Structure: constituents, categories, function sentence old Sam sunbathed beside a stream The divisible parts of a sentence are called constituents. What does the diagram tell us about this sentence? - linear order of words and well-formedness * asunbathed old beside Sam stream Lecture notes

  18. Topics in English Syntax - transition word x to word y / class of word x (e.g Adj) to class of word y (N)? A sentence has different kinds / categories of constituents sentence Adj N V Prep Art N N V Prep Art N How many sequences of English words / word classes result in well-formed (grammatical) sentences ? Testing: - movement of constituents - deletion of constituents Lecture notes

  19. Topics in English Syntax - substitutions of constituents - adding constituents He sunbathed beside the stream Sam sunbathed. Beside the stream, the old dog bathed in the sun. The constituents are arranged in a specifiable manner Structure def: some parts of an entity are constituents of different kinds (categories) which occur in specifiable arrangements and which have certain specifiable functions Lecture notes

  20. Topics in English Syntax bicycle frame crossbar wheel spoke handlebar pedal chain bicycle frame wheel handlebar crossbar spoke rim pedal chain bell handbrake • Diagram of structural relationships: immediate constituents Lecture notes

  21. Topics in English Syntax • Sentence and clause Syntax is concerned with the way words combine to from sentences. sentence = largest unit of syntax; (intuitively understood concept) „a syntactically related group of words that expresses an assertion, a question, a command, a wish or an exclamation“ usually begins with a capital letter and ends with a period, question or exclamation mark word = smallest unit of syntax; (intuitively understood concept) clause = basic syntactic construction consisting of a subject and a predicate; occurs as main, co-ordinated or subordinated clause Lecture notes

  22. Topics in English Syntax • Simple, compound and complex sentences • a simple sentence consists of one main clause Whales cannot breathe under water. They have lungs instead of gills. We will see several applications of this order of the primitives in the course of the book. The waitresses are basking in the sun like a herd of skinned seals, their pinky-brown bodies shining with oil. Is America streched too far? Just give me a remote control for the planet. Lecture notes

  23. Topics in English Syntax • a compound sentence consists of two or more (independent) main clauses, connected by • a coordinate or a correlative conjunction • coordinate conjunctions: and, but, or, nor, for, so, yet correlative conjuctions : both ... and, not only ... but also, either ... or, neither ... nor Whales cannot breathe under water, for they have lungs instead of gills. • a conjunctive adverb and/or a semicolon • conjunctive adverbs: moreover, so, therefore Whales have lungs instead of gills; therefore they cannot breathe under water. ...instead of gills; they therefore cannot breathe under water Lecture notes

  24. Topics in English Syntax • a complex sentence contains at least one full dependent clause which functions as a constituent and is introduced by a subordinating conjunction • subordinating conjunctions: after, although, as, as if, as/even though, because, before, how, however much, if, in order that, now that, once, rather than, since, so that, that, though, unless, until, what(ever), when(e), where(ever), whereas, whether, which(ever), while, who(m)(ever), whose • a dependent clause may function as adverbial Whales cannot breathe under water because they have lungs instead of gills • a test for adverbials: move into different positions, e.g. sentenece initial Lecture notes

  25. Topics in English Syntax • a dependent clause may function as a modifier of a noun (relative clause) Jane, who always drives fast, bought a Lotus. Whales, which cannot breathe under water, have lungs instead of gills. • a dependent clause may function as a subject, object, or subject complement clause; no complete main clause remains That Jane drives fast is common knowledge. What is surprising is that whales cannot breathe under water. We all know that Jane drives fast. A fact is that Jane drives fast Lecture notes

  26. Topics in English Syntax • a compound-complex sentence contains at least two main clauses and one dependent clause A tone is what you hear in music and a note is the symbol that you write down for a tone. • The notion of phrase phrase def: a word or a group of words without a subject and predicate but functioning as a unit in a sentence: the old man / recently / in the corner / have mastered / beside the pool Lecture notes

  27. Topics in English Syntax: Verbs • Subject, object, predicate and predicator“ name syntactic functions which are realized by a certain type of word, or a phrase, or a type of clause. [ [The mother] subject [ [gave]predicator [the little boy] indirect object [a balloon] direct object ]predicate]sentence • The predicator is realized by a verb. The verb is the syntactically most important element within the VP (VP = a syntactic category). Verbs are the heads of the VP = they determine what other kinds of element are required Lecture notes

  28. Topics in English Syntax:Verbs • Verbs are lexical verbs (write, swim, ride, tread) or auxiliary which name events, processes, states, etc. • i. (non modal) be, have, do • ii. (modal) can, may, will, shall, must, ought, need, dare • iii. dare, need, be, have, do (are also used as lexical verbs) • verb forms are finite (tensed) or non-finite (non-tensed) • most lexical verbs have six inflectional forms finite: bake (plain present tense), bakes (3rd pers. sg present tense), baked (past tense) non-finite: bake (plain infinitive), baking (present participle/gerund), baked (past participle) Lecture notes

  29. Topics in English Syntax Topics in English Syntax • auxiliary verbs • differ from lexical verbs in their morphology (cf. be, am, was ...); • modals have no non-finite forms (*to shall ; *musting; *the musted sale); do not occur in an environment where non-tensed forms are required • do not enter into person - number agreement with the subject • function in the complex verbal forms for tense, aspect, mood, modality contrasts • are distinguished syntactically from lexical verbs: they can be negated by a following not and they invert with the subject in interrogatives I have not seen him. *I saw not them. Will you go with them? *Want you to go with them? • Auxiliaries have negative forms isn‘t. wasn‘t, can‘t, ... Lecture notes

  30. Topics in English Syntax • VP can be simple (gave) or complex, i.e. consist of aux elements plus a lexical verb (will have given) • progressive be + present participle to express progressive aspect Max writes / wrote an interesting term paper Max is writing an interesting term paper Max was writing an interesting term paper • perfect have + past participle to express perfect aspect The men set out hours ago. The men have already set out. The men had set out hours before we arrived. Lecture notes

  31. Topics in English Syntax • modals + (to) infinitives to express mood and modality (degrees of possibility, factuality, necessity, capability, obligation) They found something horrible They must have found something horrible They may find something horrible They may leave now. • passive be + past participle They found something horrible. Something horrible was found ? Something horrible got found. Lecture notes

  32. Topics in English Syntax • do for questions, negation and emphasis whenever there is no aux verb in the predicator They walked with their heads down, as if they were ashamed? Did they walk with their heads down, as if they were ashamed? They did not walk with their heads down as if they were ashamed They did walk with their heads down as if they were ashamed. Lecture notes

  33. Topics in English Syntax • Verb phrase: relative ordering of auxiliaries in the predicator • the main verb may be preceeded by up to 4 auxiliaries: modal perfect progressive passive in that order. • order is rigidly fixed; each position is optional • each auxiliary determines the inflectional form of the following verb Auxiliary Inflectional form of following verb modal base form: may take perfect -en form: has eaten progressive -ing form: is reading passive -en form be taken Lecture notes

  34. Topics in English Syntax Modal perfect progressive passive lexical verb takes is taken is taking is being taken has taken has been taken has been taking has been being taken may take may be taken may be taking may be being taken may have taken may have been taken may have been taking may have been being taken Lecture notes

  35. Topics in English Syntax • Be, have, do as aux and lexical verbs He is my friend. lex He is writing a letter aux, progr. This letter was written by Thomas Cook. aux, pass He was to write many more letters. aux mood He has many friends lex He has written many letters. aux, perf He has to leave now. aux, mood He does a lot of work lex Does he write many letters? aux, interrog Lecture notes

  36. Topics in English Syntax • Sub-types of lexical verbs The verb is the syntactically the most important element within the VP and the clause. Verbs are the heads of the VP because they determine what other kinds of element are required or permitted as complements of the predicator. He | always | jogs| before breakfast. C A P A He | always | reads | the paper | before breakfast. C A P C A Adjuncts are free additions to the VP or clause, are loosely attached Complements are central to the predicator, have sharply distinct syntactic functions as subject or object, etc. Lecture notes

  37. Topics in English Syntax • Internal and external complement the first constituent structure boundary in canonical clauses is between subject and predicate; subjects are complements external to the predicate, the other complements are internal to the VP. • Transitivity all canonical sentences have a subject, but depending on the verb, they may or may not contain an object S - P clauses are called intransitive : The Imam fainted. S - P - O clauses are called transitive The Imam loved aubergines. Lecture notes

  38. Topics in English Syntax • Many verbs are dual-transitivity verbs The door opened (intransitive) She opened the door (transitive) He reads / He is reading ( intransitive) He is reading a novel (transitive) • Intransitive verbs do not take objects or subject or object complements / predicative complements: S - P Mara dreams Her heart beats. Lecture notes

  39. Topics in English Syntax • copula verbs like be, seem are called complex intransitive verbs which allow a pattern of S - P- PC Ed seems quite competent. The soup tastes salty. • transitive verbs are divided into mono-transitive and di-transitive verbs depending on the number of objects they have and into complex transitive just one direct object = monotransitive (S - P - DO) He is drinking whisky and milk. The local council must observe the law Troops quickly occupied the city. Lecture notes

  40. Topics in English Syntax ditransitive verbs have two objects, an indirect and a direct Object (S - P - IO - DO) She told him the truth. Max gave mother some painkiller. She baked a cake for her ssister He bought me a book complex transitive verbs admit a direct object and predicative complement / object attribute (S - P - DO - OA) She considered Ed a decent guy. They elected George W. the president. Lecture notes

  41. Topics in English Syntax • Note: the direct objects of the three types of transitive verbs may be realised by different structures • a phrase: I know him. I know the student. I know the student who lives next door. • a clause with a finite verb • I know that he moved to Münster last year. • I asked him whether he would join us. • a clause with a non-finite verb: (to inf, bare inf, plain inf) • I enjoy listening to cool jazz. • I forced him to eat the tuna sandwich. • She made him paint the fence. Lecture notes

  42. Topics in English Syntax • Passive clauses The positive, active, declarative clause is generally considered the canonical clause. Other types of clauses are made to fulfill certain functions: • passive clauses are used to focus on the goal, the recipient or experiencer rather than on the agent of an action. • passive clauses depend on transitive verbs (which have at least 2 roles / participants ) Max bought an expensive painting. An expensive painting was bought by Max. Lecture notes

  43. Topics in English Syntax • monotransitive verbs and the passive construction active clause passive clause subject by object object subject active predicator be + past participle • ditransitive verbs have two passive alternants : two objects may become the subject of the passive construction • Max gave Mary the book • The book was given to Mary by Max • Mary was given the book by Max Lecture notes

  44. Topics in English Syntax • complex-transitive verbs: one object, one passive alternant We consider him a nuisance He was considered a nuisance (by us). Note: The object attribute becomes a subject attribute • non-finite clauses and the passive I know [ him to be a noisy guy ]DO. He is known to be a noisy guy. I certainly expect [ him to clean up his act soon ] DO. He is certainly expected to clean up his act soon. Note: the subject of the non-finite clause, an indirect object, becomes the subject of the passive construction Lecture notes

  45. Topics in English Syntax • multi-word verbs • phrasal verbs: verb + adverb write up, run off, ring off • prepositional verbs: verb + preposition run into, agree to • phrasal prepositional verbs: verb + adverb + preposition keep away from • idiomatic noun + preposition verbs catch sight of, set fire to, lose count of Lecture notes

  46. Topics in English Syntax • Tests to distinguish a phrasal verb from a prepositional verb He looked into the problem. He looked into it. He looked up the word. He looked it up. Position of pronoun after a preposition but in front of an adverb = phrasal verb. If there is no direct object, the verb is a phrasal one. He walked down. Lecture notes

  47. Topics in English Syntax • Phrases We analyse sentences as consisting of smaller units (constituents) which are called phrases. We assume that the words of a phrase “belong together naturally“. We can test this notion by deletion or addition some words of a phrase or by testing different segmentations of a sentence. # A good knowledge of English # is essential # for engineers # and # other staff in charge of aircraft maintenance.# *A good # knowledge of # English Lecture notes

  48. Topics in English Syntax • Each phrase has a core element which, if deleted, will produce an ill-formed „unnatural“ phrase. • This core element is called the head element; it names the whole the phrase, e.g. verb phrase, noun phrase; prepositional phrase, etc. and determines its category or type. • We describe the linear order of elements in a sentence either by the sequence of phrasal categories VP, NP, PP or by the syntactic function these units realize in the sentence. Lecture notes

  49. Topics in English Syntax • Functions are subject, direct object, indirect object, predicate, adverbial of S • Phrases realize functions; „ : “ = „realized by“ Subj: NP Pred:VP dir obj: NP The white tiger # bit # the magnificent magician#. • Words are the building blocks of phrases. To determine the type or class of a word, we look for its form and for the contexts in which it can occur. Lecture notes

  50. Topics in English Syntax • Word classes / Parts of speech Traditionally (cf. Latin grammar), we distinguish approx. 11 different classes of words. Attributes of words: - form (inflectional properties), - potential of occurrence in specific contexts, i.e. their syntactic features and their distribution, - lexical meaning. - POS determined by semantic features arbeiten, v = activity; Arbeit, n = activity arrival, n = activity; arrive, v = activity in, prep = ? Lecture notes