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Chapter 4 Syntax

I. Decide whether each of the following statements is True or False:

l.F     2.T     3.F    4.T    5.T     6.T     7.T    8.F    9.F    10.T     11.F    12.T     13.T     14.T

 

II. Fill in each of the following blanks with one word which begins with the letter given:

15. simple, 16. sentence 17. subject 18. predicate 19. complex 20.embedded 21. open 22.adjacency 23.Parameters 24.Case

III. There are four given choices for each statement below. Mark the choice that can best complete the statement:

25. D     26. D    27. A     28. D     29. A     30. A

31. D     32. C     33. D     34. B

IV. Define the following terms:

35. syntax: Syntax is a subfield of linguistics. It studies the sentence structure of language. It consists of a set of abstract rules that allow words to be combined with other words to form grammatical sentences.

36. Sentence: A sentence is a structurally independent unit that usually comprises a number of words to form a complete statement, question or command. Normally, a sentence consists of at least a subject and a predicate which contains a finite verb or a verb phrase.

37. coordinate sentence: A coordinate sentence contains two clauses joined by a linking word called coordinating conjunction, such as "and", "but", "or".

38. syntactic categories: Apart from sentences and clauses, a syntactic category usually refers to a word (called a lexical category) or a phrase ( called a phrasal category) that performs a particular grammatical function.

 

39. grammatical relations: The structural and logical functional relations of constituents are called grammatical relations. The grammatical relations of a sentence concern the way each noun phrase in the sentence relates to the verb. In many cases, grammatical relations in fact refer to who does what to whom .

40. linguistic competence: Universally found in the grammars of all human languages, syntactic rules comprise the system of internalized linguistic knowledge of a language speaker known as linguistic competence.

41. Transformational rules: Transformational rules are the rules that transform one sentence type into another type.

42. D-structure: D- structure is the level of syntactic representation that exists before movement takes place. Phrase structure rules, with the insertion of the lexicon, generate sentences at the level of D-structure.

V. Answer the following questions:

43. What are the basic components of a sentence ?

Normally, a sentence consists of at least a subject and its predicate which contains a finite verb or a verb phrase.

44. What are the major types of sentences Illustrate them with examples.

Traditionally, there are three major types of sentences. They are simple sentence, coordinate( compound) sentence, and complex sentence. A simple sentence consists of a single clause which contains a subject and a predicate and stands alone as its own sentence, for example:

John reads extensively.

A coordinate sentence contains two clauses joined by a linking word that is called coordinating conjunction, such as "and", "but", "or". For example:

John is reading a linguistic book, and Mary is preparing

for her history exam.

A complex sentence contains two, or more, clauses, one of which is incorporated into the other. The two clauses in a complex sentence do not have equal status, one is subordinate to the other. For exam-ple:

Before John gave her a lecture, Mary showed no interest in lin-guistics.

45. Are the elements in a sentence linearly structured? Why?

No. Language is both linearly and hierarchically structured. When a sentence is uttered or written down, the words of the sentence are produced one after another in a sequence. A closer examination of a sentence shows that a sentence is not composed of sequence of words arranged in a simple linear order with one adding onto another following a simple arithmetic logic. In fact, sen-tences are also hierarchically structured. They are orga-nized by grouping together words of the same syntactic category, such as noun phrase (NP) or verb phrase (VP), as can be seen from the following tree diagram:

S

NP VP

Det N Vt NP

Det N

The boy likes the music.

 

46. What are the advantages of using tree diagrams in the analysis of sentence structures ?

The tree diagram can not only reveal a linear order, but also a hierarchical structure that groups words into structural constituents. It can, in addition, show the syntactic category of each structural constituent, thus it is believed to most truthfully illustrate the constituent relationship among linguistic elements.

47. What is NP movement. Illustrate it with examples.

NP movement in-volves the movement of a noun phrase. NP-movement occurs when, for example, a sentence changes from the active voice to the passive voice:

(A) The man beat the child.

(B). The child was beaten by the man.

B is the result of the movement of the noun phrases "the man" and "the child" from their original positions in (A) to new positions. That is, "the man" is postposed to the right and "the child" is preposed to the left.

Not all instances of NP-movement, however, are related to changing a sentence from the active voice to the passive voice. For example:

(C) It seems they are quite fit for the job.

(D) They seem quite fit for the job.

These sentences are identical in meaning, but different in their superfi-cial syntactic representations. It is believed that they have the same underly-ing structure, but (27b) is the result of an NP movement.