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Transcript of CHAPTER-7 GRAMMAR
how three words in this phrase can only be combined in a particular sequence.
the lucky boys
labels the grammatical categories
(“article,” “adjective” and “noun”)
has its origins in the description of languages such as Latin and Greek.
Agreement categories of the traditional categories:
e.g. the verb loves “agrees with” the noun Cathy in the sentence "
Cathy loves her dog.
(in some languages)
based on the
type of noun (masculine and feminine)
and is not tied to sex.
So, nouns are classified according to their gender class.
traditional grammar books
the analysis of English verbs constructed by
analogy with tables in Latin grammar.
The verb amare (“to love”).
The prescriptive approach
two levels of description
used in the study of language:
1- linguistic expressions as sequences of
sounds represented in the phonetic alphabet
and described in terms of
that is, English has
strict rules for combining words into phrases:
The article (the) must go before the adjective (lucky), which must go before the noun (boys).
article + adjective + noun
(*noun + article + adjective).
Latin and Greek were the languages of
philosophy, religion and scholarship,
So, the description of the basic grammatical components of these languages was taken to be the best model for other grammars.
The parts of speech
The lucky boys found a backpack
article adjective noun verb article noun
in the park and they
preposition article noun conjunction pronoun
opened it carefully
verb pronoun adverb
words used to refer to
with a capital letter (Cathy, Latin, Rome).
words (a, an, the) used with nouns to form noun phrases
(You can have a banana or an apple)
them as already known (I’ll take the apple).
Agreement is based on:
the category of number
( singular or plural)
the category of person
(first person =
, second person =
and third person =
described in terms of another category called
is in the present tense and in the active voice.
the sun = feminine
the moon = masculine
but the German noun
das Mädchen grammatically neuter
The French noun in
le livre (“the book”)
(Present tense, active voice)
FPS: (I) love =
SPS: (you) love =
TPS: (she) loves =
FPP: (we) love =
SPP: (you) love =
TPP: (they) love =
The prescriptive approach:
the view of grammar as a set of rules for the proper use of a language.
One of the main characters of Star Trek Captain Kirk, always used the expression
To boldly go
. . .
Latin, ire (“to go”) and audacter (“boldly”)
Because the categories and rules of Latin grammar did n
ot seem to fit the structure of the native languages of North America
toward the end of the nineteenth century, a rather different method, called the d
escriptive approach, was adopted.
The descriptive approach
one type of descriptive approach
its main concern is to
investigate the distribution of forms
in a language.
However, there are many forms that do not fit those test-frames.
*someone, *a car.
*The Cathy or *The the dog.
Anohter descriptive aprroach:
The technique employed: to show how
(or components) go together to form
the phrase-like constituents:
an old man, a shotgun, the wedding
a prepositional phrase:
to the wedding
a verb phrase:
brought a shotgun
A diagram showing
the distribution of the constituents at different levels
Determining the types of
forms to be
substituted for each other a
t different levels of constituent structure
Labeled and bracketed sentences
An alternative type of diagram is designed to show how the constituents in sentence
structure can be marked off by using labeled brackets.
With this procedure, the different constituents of the sentence are shown at
the word level
[the] or [dog],
the phrase level
[the dog], or [loved the girl
the sentence level
[The dog loved the girl].
We can then label each constituent using these abbreviated grammatical terms:
Art (= article)
N (= noun)
VP (=verb phrase)
NP (=noun phrase)
In the following figure, these labels are placed beside each bracket that marks the beginning of a constituent.
The result is a labeled and bracketed analysis of the constituent structure of the sentence.
In performing this type of analysis,
we have not only labeled all the constituents,
we have revealed the hierarchical organization of those constituents.
A Gaelic sentence
Here is a sentence from Scottish Gaelic, which would be translated into English as:
“The boy saw the black dog.”
Chunnaic an gille an cu dubh
saw the boy the dog black
One obvious difference between the structure of this Gaelic sentence and its English counterpart is the fact that the verb comes first in the sentence.
Why study grammar?
It is not, of course, the aim of this type of analysis that we should be able to draw
complicated-looking diagrams in order to impress our friends. The aim is to make
explicit, via the diagram, what we believe to be the structure of grammatical sentences in the language.
2- the same linguistic expression as a sequence of morphemes.
the luck -y boy -s
functional lexical derivational lexical inflectional
( a voiced fricative
, a voiceless stop
and a diphthong
as segments in thetranscription of a phrase such as /ðəlʌkibɔɪz/.
not well-formed phrases:
*boys the lucky
*lucky boys the
to indicate a form is unacceptble or ungrammatical
The grammar of a language
(English, Turkish, Kurdish, Russian, Arabic)
the process of describing the structure of phrases and sentences in
grammatical sequences or ungrammatical sequences
originally used exclusively for an institution where Latin was taught.
Adjectives: words used, typically with nouns,
provide more information
about the things referred to (large objects, a strange experience).
refer to various kinds of actions (go, talk), states (be, have) involving people and things in events
(Jessica is ill and has a sore throat so she can’t talk or go anywhere).
used, typically with verbs,
more information about actions, states and events
(really, very) are also used
(Really large objects move slowly.
I had a very strange experience yesterday).
(at, in, on, near, with, without) used with nouns in phrases
information about time
(at five o’clock, in the morning),
(on the table, near the window)
involving actions and things
(with a knife, without a thought)
(she, herself, they, it, you)
in place of noun phrases
typically referring to people and things
(and, but, because, when)
(Chantel’s husband was so sweet
helped her a lot
she couldn’t do much
she was pregnant).
s in terms of
person and number
(first person singular)
(second person singular)
he, she, it
(third person singular)
Cathy loves her dog
(the third singular person noun "Cathy", the verb loves “agree with” the noun.
(mainly derived from a b
male and female.
things or creatures, when
the sex is unknown or irrelevant
masculine and feminine
Feminine masculine, neuter
Some familiar examples of prescriptive rules for English sentences are:
ou must not split
You must not end
a sentence with a preposition
Mary runs faster than
me or I.
get back together
Who did you go
whom did you go?
Latin infinitives are single words and just do not split.
So, their structure can be compared as did the traditional grammarian in the 18th century England.
Analysts collected samples of the language they were interested in and attempted to
describe the regular structures of that language as it was used
, not according to some view of how it should be used.
The method involves the use of
which can be
sentences with empty slots
The _______________ makes a lot of noise.
I heard a _______________ yesterday.
fitting into the slots
to produce good
(e.g. car, child, donkey, dog, radio).
For these forms, we require different test-frames:
_____________ makes a lot of noise.
I heard _______________ yesterday.
the big dog,
an old car,
the professor with the Scottish accent,
with the same grammatical category, traditionally described as
fits in this second set of test-frames, and not in the first set
*The it makes a lot of noise
In the older analysis, Latin-influenced, pronouns: “words used in place of nouns.”
in place of noun phrases (not just nouns)."
If all these
forms fit in the same test-frame
, they are likely to be examples of
the same grammatical category
, traditionally described as “noun.”
An old man brought a shotgun to the wedding.
How do those nine constituents
to form constituents at
the phrase level
Does it seem appropriate to put the words together as follows?
An old man brought brought a shotgun to to the
One advantage of this type of analysis:
it shows rather clearly that
proper nouns or names: (Gwen, Kingston)
pronouns (I, him, her),
though they are
can be used as noun phrases and fill the same constituent space
as longer phrases
(e.g. an old man or the woman).
The first step is to put brackets
(one on each side) round each constituent, and then more brackets round each
combination of constituents
In this hierarchy,
the sentence (S) is higher than and contains the noun phrase (NP).
The noun phrase (NP) is higher than and contains the noun (N).
We can also see that the sentence (S)
contains a verb phrase (VP), which contains a verb (V) and another noun phrase(NP).
note that constituent analysis is not only
useful for describing the structure of English sentences.
We can take a sample sentence from a language with a grammatical structure that is really quite different from English and apply the same type of analysis.
feature is that, when an adjective is used, it goes after the noun and not before it. We
can represent these structural observations in a labeled and bracketed diagram
The diagram in Figure 7.6 makes it clear that this Gaelic sentence is organized
with a V NP NP structure, which is rather different from the NP V NP structure we
found in the English sentence analyzed earlier.
It also enables us to describe clearly how English sentences are put together as combinations of phrases that, in turn, are combinations of words. We
can then look at similar descriptions of sentences in other languages such as Gaelic,
Japanese or Spanish and see clearly what structural differences exist.
At a very practical level, it may help us to understand why a Spanish learner of English produces phrases like *the wine red (instead of the red wine),
using a structural organization of constituents that is possible in Spanish, but not in English.