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Phrases and Clauses

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  1. Phrases and Clauses Adjective, Adverb, Prepositional Phrases. Embedding. Coordination and Apposition. Introduction to Clauses

  2. Adjective phrases (AdjPs)and adverb phrases (AdvPs) • both AdjPs and AdvPs may consist of merely one element or may be expanded into longer phrases through pre- or post-modifying elements • [The hungry cat NP] [was feeling VP] [aggressive AdjP] • [The hungry cat NP] [snarled VP] [aggressively AdvP]

  3. Pre- and post-modificationin AdjPs and AdvPs • head words in AdjPs and AdvPs are most typically pre-modified by a single adverb (intensifier) • [The new shoes NP] [felt VP] [incredibly uncomfortable AdjP] • [The hungry cat NP] [snarled VP] [really aggressively AdvP] • occasionally, a head adjective or a head adverb may be post-modified by the adverbs enough or indeed • [He NP] [felt VP] [brave enough AdjP]

  4. Prepositional phrases (PPs) • PPs differ from NPs, VPs, AdjPs, and AdvPs since the head preposition cannot stand alone, i.e. it must be accompanied by another element (prepositional complement) • the prepositional complement most typically is a NP [John NP] [was searching VP] [in [the cupboard NP] PP]

  5. Pre- and post-modification in PPs • in theory, as well as for NPs, there is no limit to the complexity of PPs • around London • under a stone • for my closest friend • to the best friend ever • PPs are able to post-modify head nouns, head adjectives, and occasionally head adverbs e.g. [Clive NP] [gave VP] [Kate NP] [a large bouquet [of [roses NP] PP] NP]

  6. Embedding • embedding: the occurrence of one linguistic unit (e.g. a phrase) within another linguistic unit (e.g. a phrase) • [a [rather nice AdjP] invitation NP] • [an amusing story [about [her friend [with [measles NP] PP] NP] PP] NP]

  7. Embedding Russian doll effect: One phrase is embedded in another one. The concept of embedding allows us to see the potential for repeated patterns in syntactic structure. (recursion) [an amusing story [about [her friend [with [measles NP] PP] NP] PP] NP]

  8. Coordination • coordination:the ways in which phrases may be linked within a clause or sentence • coordination: the joining together of two linguistic units (e.g. NPs, VPs, AdjPs, AdvPs, and PPs) on an equal footing through and, but, or or • [[salmon fillets NP] and [steamed potatoes NP] NP] • [Helen NP] [was VP] [[tired AdjP] but [happy AdjP] AdjP]

  9. Apposition • apposition:one way in which NPs co-occur • apposition: one way of achieving economy [Jo NP] [asked VP] [her friend’s sister NP] [an English teacher NP] [for some help PP] No need to say Jo asked her friend’s sister for some help and Jo’s friend’s sister is an English teacher

  10. Example • The remains of a giant meat-eating sea monster that patrolled the oceans during the reign of the dinosaurs have been unearthed on an island in the remote Arctic archipelago of Svalbard. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/mar/16/jurassic-sea-monster-pliosaur-fossil

  11. Example • [The remains [of [a giant meat-eating sea monster NP] PP] NP] [that patrolled the oceans during the reign of the dinosaurs (that Clause)] [have been unearthed VP] [on [an island NP] PP] [in [the remote Arctic archipelago [of [Svalbard. NP] PP] NP] PP] • [(that =) a giant meat-eating sea monster NP] [patrolled VP] [the oceans NP] [during [the reign [of [the dinosaurs NP] PP] NP] PP]

  12. Phrases and Clauses • A phrase is formed of words, a clause is formed of phrases. • the central element of a clause is the verb element included in the verb phrase (VP) • the typical English clause includes a subject (S), a verb (V), and an object (O) • English, as well as the 75 % of world languages, has an SVO structure

  13. The typical SVO English clause • the verb (V) is usually finite (marked by tense), the voice is active, and the structure is declarative • the verb exerts a semantic and grammatical influence over other clause elements • Jane has borrowed three books

  14. obligatory elements • Jane has borrowed three books At present, this clause only contains obligatory elements If we remove any of the phrases from the clause, it would be syntactically incomplete. But we can ADD items Jane has borrowed three books Today from the library

  15. The five clause elements • there are 5 clause elements: • subject (S) • verb (V) • object (O) • complement (C) • adverbial (A) • Clauses typically contain a VERB and a SUBJECT + any items needed to complete the meaning of the verb

  16. Form and function • The black labrador has bitten Mr Allington Phrase structure (= FORM) The black labrador NP has bitten VP Mr Allington NP FUNCTION Subject Verb Object > Here subject and object share the same form, but each has a different function within the clause.

  17. Subject (S) • the subject typically occurs before the verb element in subject position • the subject dictates person and number features of the verb (V) (=concord) • Helen has been tidying her CD collection • These friends are looking for a new house • It is going to rain very shortly • There will be a storm tonight

  18. Subject (S) • the subject is very likely to be a noun phrase (NP) • Jenny wants a pair of sneakers • occasionally it or there occur in subject position and are labeled dummy subjects e.g. It requires several skills • sometimes clauses may occur in subject position (6.12)

  19. Verb (V) • the verb element must be a verb phrase (VP) • the lexical verb in VPs dictates what obligatory elements will follow the verb (or predicator) in order to make the clause grammatical Paulfell *Paulbroke The second example is incomplete

  20. Some terminology: • verb complementation: the range of obligatory elements that must follow a certain verb • predicate: the verb plus any verb complementation Subject predicate Paulbrokehis ankle predicate = what we want to say about the subject

  21. Object (O) • the object typically occurs after the verb element • only some verbs require an object > we call them transitive verbs • the object provides completeness to a transitive verb • The object is most typically a noun phrase

  22. Verbs and their objects > intransitive verbs: verbs which do not require an object • Paul fell > transitive or monotransitive verbs: verbs which require an object • Paul loves Mary > ditransitive verbs: verbs which take two objects • Paul gave Marya rose > both monotransitive and ditransitive • Paul bought a car • Paul bought Marya car

  23. Ditransitive verbs • The first object can be moved to the end of the clause • the noun phrase is converted into a prepositional phrase with to or for • Paul bought Marya car • Paul bough a car for Mary Mary is the indirect object Oi and a car is the direct object Od

  24. Homework Read Ballard’s book, pages 111-124 (5.4 - 6.5) Find a real sentence online (on newspaper websites etc.), break it down into phrases and post it on the blog