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Linguistics for Teachers

Language and Meaning

Grammar
and
Syntax
In Our Online Segment…
Grammar
-descriptive grammar (open and closed class lexical categories
-prescriptive grammar (prescriptive rules)
-constituent analysis and hierarchical organization
Syntax
-generative grammar
-surface structure and deep structure
-structural ambiguity
-syntactic descriptions
-phrase structure rules
-basic and complex phrase structure trees
-transformational rules
GRAMMAR
Phonetics and Phonology

an effective method

ænifɛktɪvmɛθəd

low, front schwa


vowel;
nasal
voiceless,
labiodental; velar stop voiceless, dental
fricative mid, front fricative
vowel
Morphology

an effective method

an effect -ive method

free, lexical, open


free, lexical, open
morpheme
morpheme
free, functional, closed
bound, derivational
morpheme
morpheme
Grammar

an effective method

an effective method

article adjective
noun
What is Grammar?
Grammar

Phonetics Phonology Morphology Syntax


What is Grammar?
Grammar is the structure of phrases and
sentences in an acceptable pattern of
morphemes.

an effective method - √ (grammatical)


an method effective - X (ungrammatical)

**The two phrases above are examples of acceptable and


unacceptable forms in English grammar.**
Traditional Grammar
• originates from Latin and Greek

• the parts of speech (nouns, adjectives, pronouns,


conjunctions, etc.)

• agreement (number, person, tense, active or passive)

• gender (masculine and feminine)


Mental Grammar
Remember linguistic competence versus
linguistic performance?

“The grammar…is what we know; it


represents our linguistic competence.”

(Fromkin & Rodman, 1998, p.14)


Descriptive and Prescriptive
Descriptive Grammar
-the description of the regular structures of a
language as it is used

Prescriptive Grammar
-the view of grammar as a set of rules for the
‘proper’ use of a language

(Yule, 2006, p.77; 79)


Grammar

-form of the word


Descriptive
-function of the word
Grammar

Prescriptive
-proper usage of
words
DESCRIPTIVE GRAMMAR
Descriptive Grammar

Open nouns, adjectives,


Lexical Class verbs, adverbs
Categories
(parts of
speech) Closed prepositions,
conjunctions,
Class pronouns,
complementizers,
determiners
auxiliary verbs
Lexical Categories
OPEN CLASS Lexical Categories
nouns boy, smoking, dog, school, roughness,
earthquake, love, yesterday
adjectives happy, large, strange
verbs go, talk, be, have, skate
adverbs slowly, yesterday, very, plausibly
CLOSED CLASS Lexical Categories
prepositions at, with, near, in
conjunctions and, but, because, when
pronouns she, herself, they, it, you, one
complementizers that, which
determiners a, an, the, some, many, first, second, this, that
auxiliary verbs be, have, do, can, should, must, ought to, have to
Open Class Lexical Categories
Nouns and Adjectives
Verbs
Adverbs
Closed Class Lexical Categories
Lexical Semantic Syntactic
Category Description Description

Preposition -indicate location, direction, ____ NP


time, duration, manner

Conjunction -connect words, phrases and N ___ N


clauses V ___ V
(coordinating, subordinating, Adj ___ Adj
correlative) PP ___ PP
Lexical Semantic Syntactic
Category Description Description
Pronoun -are used in place of nouns or noun phrases same syntactic
(personal, indefinite, interrogative, location as most N or
demonstrative, relative) NP

Complemen- -used to introduce a clause that serves as the V ___ NP


tizers object of the verb
(that or which) V ___ NP VP
Lexical Semantic Syntactic
Category Description Description
Determiners -introduce noun phrases ___ N
(determinacy, quantity, number, specification) ___ (Adj) N
Lexical Semantic Syntactic
Category Description Description
Auxiliary -occur before lexical verbs to “help” them -___ NP Vinf?
Verbs (time, aspect, modality, emphasis, negative, -___ not Vinf.
interrogative, passive)
Constituent Analysis

The boy saw the man with the telescope

My friend likes the handsome boy in the corner

Ricky watched “The Office” on television

She ate dinner alone


Hierarchical Organization
PRESCRIPTIVE GRAMMAR
To boldly go where
no man has gone
before…
Some Prescriptive Rules

-split infinitive
-hopefully
-sentence-final prepositions
-its/it’s
-singular generic they
split infinitive
-to swear solemnly to tell the whole truth… √
-to solemnly swear to tell the whole truth… X

hopefully
-She looked hopefully at the telephone. √
-Hopefully he will call me soon. X

sentence-final prepositions
-
its / it’s
-It’s a beautiful day today! √
-Its a beautiful day today! X

singular generic they


-Students should know their grammar. √

-A student should know their grammar. X


SYNTAX
What is syntax?
“Syntax is the structuring and ordering of
components within a sentence.” (Yule, 2006, p.87)

“Syntax encompasses the set of descriptive


rules for how words can combine into
phrases, and phrases into clauses, and
clauses into sentences.”
Generative Grammar
Noam Chomsky’s theory of
Generative Grammar suggests there
is a finite set of grammatical rules that
speakers of a language know
subconsciously - and that these rules
are subconsciously applied to
generate possibly an infinite number
of sentences.

“I will consider a language to be a set (finite or infinite) of sentences,


each finite in length and constructed out of a finite set of elements.”
(Syntactic Structures, 1957)
Surface Structure and Deep Structure

1. superficially different
Mary hired Bill.
Bill was hired by Mary.

2. superficially similar
Mary hired Bill.
Bill hired Mary.
Structural Ambiguity

We will oil your sewing machine and adjust


tension in your home for $10.00.

We will oil your sewing machine and adjust


tension in your home for $10.00.
Syntactic Descriptions
S sentence
Det / article
Art * ‘ungrammatical sentence’
Adj adjective
AdjP adjective phrase → ‘consists of’
N noun
PN proper noun
( ) ‘optional constituent’
NP noun phrase
Pro pronoun
P/ preposition { } ‘one and only one of
Prep these constituents must be
PP prepositional phrase selected’
Adv adverb
AdvP adverb phrase
Aux auxiliary
V verb
VP verb phrase
Phrase Structure Rules
S → NP VP - a sentence consists of a noun phrase and
a verb phrase

NP → (Det) (Adj) N (PP) - a noun phrase consists of a noun,


possibly preceded by a determiner and/or
an adjective, and possibly followed by a
prepositional phrase
VP → (AdvP) V (NP/S) - a verb phrase consists of a verb possibly
(PP) (AdvP) preceded by an adverb phrase, and
possibly followed by a noun phrase or
sentence, a prepositional phrase and/or an
adverb phrase
PP → P NP - a prepositional phrase consists of a
preposition and a noun phrase
Basic Phrase Structure Trees
Basic Phrase Structure Trees
Basic Phrase Structure Trees
Recursion
Simple sentences → Complex Sentences

simple: Mary helped George.

complex: John believed that Cathy knew that


Mary helped George.

CP → C S
Complex Phrase Structure Trees
a relative clause
Complex Phrase Structure Trees
a complement clause
Transformational Rules
Summary
Grammar
-descriptive grammar (open and closed class lexical categories
-prescriptive grammar (prescriptive rules)
-constituent analysis and hierarchical organization
Syntax
-generative grammar
-surface structure and deep structure
-structural ambiguity
-syntactic descriptions
-phrase structure rules
-basic and complex phrase structure trees
-transformational rules