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Syntax is the study of rules in which how words are combined. Topics in Syntax (p123) 1. The grammaticality of sentences 2. Word order 3. Grammatical relations such as subject and object 4. Whether different structures have differing meanings or the same meaning 5. The creative aspect of language 6. Hierarchical organization of sentences 7. Ambiguities (p143) 1. The grammaticality of sentences Grammatical - well formed (a). Pat kisses Robin. Ungrammatical - ill formed (b). Pat Robin kisses. (The word order of the sentence is incorrect) (c). Jane put the box. (The prepositional phrase is missing). Grammatical but the sentence does not make sense (Semantic problem). (d). Colorless green ideas sleep furiously. (e). The request dances with the paper. 2. Word order (f). The boy found the ball. (g). The boy found in the house the ball. The sentence (f) is grammatical but (g) and (h) are not because of the word order. The verb "found" must be followed by a noun or a noun phrase such as "the ball." 3. Grammatical relations such as subject and object (i). Mary hired Bill. (j). Bill was hired by Mary. In both sentences, "Mary" is the employer and "Bill" is the employee. The meaning of Sentence (i) is the same as the meaning of Sentence (j). In (i), "Mary" is the subject" and "Bill" is the direct object." 4. Whether different structures have differing meanings or the same meaning. Different structures  different meanings (k) Anne has what Tom wants. (l) Anne wants what Tome has. (m) The Chief Justice swore in the new President. (n) The Chief Justice swore the new President in. The meaning of Sentence (k) is different from the meaning of Sentence (l) while Sentence (m) and Sentence (n) have the same meaning.


Tom wants Anne's possession in Sentence (k), while Anne wants Tom's possession in Sentence (l). 5. The creative aspect of language The syntactic rules permit speakers to produce and understand a limitless number of sentences never produced or heard before. (p117 and p135) (o). The kindhearted boy had many girlfriends. (p). The kindhearted, intelligent boy had many girlfriends. (q). The kindhearted, intelligent, handsome boy had many girlfriends. 6. Hierarchical organization of sentences (r). The child found the puppy. Let's divide Sentence (r) into groups. "The child" is the subject of the sentence. In addition, the pronoun "he" can substitute for "the child." Therefore, "the" and "child" form a group. "The puppy" is the object of the sentence. In addition, the pronoun "her" can substitute for "the puppy." Furthermore, "found the" does not seem to be a group. Therefore, "the" and "puppy" form a group. The supporting evidence is that the answer to the question "Where did the child find the puppy?" would be "He found her in the park." Another group is "found the puppy." The answer to the question "Who found the puppy?" would be "The child did." It indicates that "found the puppy" forms a group. ex. "the child": noun phrase, "the puppy": noun phrase, "found the puppy": VP S (node 1)

VP (node 2) S (node 5)

NP (node 3) Det N The child V found

NP (node 4) Det the N puppy

NP (node 6) VP (node 7) Det A N boy V runs

constituents (成分 要素): the natural groupings of a sentence ex: "The child", "the puppy", "found the puppy" A tree diagram shows the structures of sentences. An example of a tree diagram is above. A tree has root, which is usually located at the bottom; however, the root of a tree diagram, which is "S" is located at the top. Thus a tree diagram is upside-down. S stands for sentence. Det: determiner, N: noun, V: verb, NP: noun phrase, VP: verb


phrase In the above tree, NP, VP, are nodes. Nodes are the points where line(s) are connected. (VP, NP, S) Node 1 dominates Node 2, Node 3, Node 4, Det, N, V etc. Node 2 dominates Det and N (child). Node 1 immediately dominates Node 2, and Node 3, but not Node 4. NP (Node 3) and VP (Node 2) are sisters. (p130) Syntactic categories or parts of speech (p125) Syntactic categories or parts of speech show how a word or a word group is used. For example, a noun or a noun phrase is used as the subject of a sentence. A noun can substitute for another noun, which causes no grammatical errors. (s). The boy runs in the park. (t). The boy walks in the park. The verb, "walks" in Sentence (t) substituted for "runs" in Sentence (s). Sentence (t) is as grammatical as Sentence (s) although the meaning of Sentence (s) is different from Sentence (t)'s meaning. (p126) Romeo who was a Montague loved Juliet who was a Capulet. List of Syntactic category noun: nouns refer to various things and objects (real, imaginary, abstract ideas) Nouns serve as subjects and objects. NP: noun phrase - Noun phrases contain a noun, and can substitute for a noun ex: the boy, a bird and so on. verb: verbs to states (ex. be, stay, live etc.) or actions (ex go, make, etc.) VP: verb phrase must contain a verb. noun phrase - Transitive verbs require noun phrases. prepositional phrases - Some verbs such as "put" require prepositional phrase. VP: V, V + NP, V+PP, V+NP+PP etc ex. run, walk, found the puppy, ate the cake, put the book on the desk, stayed in the bed. preposition: prepositions show locations ("in," "at" etc.), possessions ("of"), instruments ("with") etc. PP: prepositional phrase - P + NP ex. on the desk, at the corner, on the 5th street adjectives: Adjectives modify nouns (ex. "handsome" in "a handsome man") Adjectives serve as predicate with "be" verb. (ex. "huge" in "The castle was very huge".) AP: adjective phrase AP - adverb + A, A + PP ex. smart, very smart, fond of chocolates adverb: Adverbs modify verbs (manner - quickly, judgment - unfortunately, attitude - calmly, etc). The boy quickly picked up the ball.


He will soon go home. determiners: Determiners indicate the definiteness ("the"), indefiniteness ("a"), quantity ("few") Aux: auxiliary verbs that co-occur with verbs, and qualify the main verb. Some of auxiliary verbs show the tense such as "will." ex. will, can, have, could, would, may, must, might, should Identify the syntactic category of the underlined phrases.

Heads and complements (p150) A phrase has a head, which is the core of the phrase. For example, a verb phrase must have a verb, which is the head of the verb phrase. The syntactic category of a phrase agrees with its head. ex. VP: drink beer head: drink VP: walk in the park head: walk NP: the picture of flowers head: picture NP: a cute girl head: girl PP: on the desk head: on PP: from Taipei head: from AP: extremely large head: large AP: fond of dancing head: fond In addition to a head, a phrase may have a complement. The complement 不足物 補 充物 is an element that is necessary to complete its meaning. Some phrases do not have complements such as the verb phrase, "walked." VP: found the puppy complement: the puppy VP: put the glasses on the counter complement: the glasses, on the counter VP: depended on his notebook complement: on his notebook VP: ate the dinner at the restaurant complement: the dinner VP: walked in the park complement: no PP: from the top complement: the top AP: fond of cakes complement: of cakes (proud of) AP: sad to leave complement: to leave AP: possible that Mira might come complement: that Mira might come VP:跪在教堂裡 complement: 裡 *跪在教堂 - ungrammatical


Selection (p131) (ref: Intransitive verbs cannot take an NP complement. John walked. Susie will run. Jack laughed. The sun rises. Michael slept. Transitive verbs select a NP complement. Ann bought a new car. Tom caught a thief. The boy found the ball. (我們吃了飯) Ditransitive verbs select two noun phrases as complement. Hal gave Mary a bunch of roses. My mom sent me a cute sweater. Peter lent Jane $100. (他給 我 一本書) Some verbs can serve as intransitive verb or transitive verb He doesn't drink. The guy with a beard is drinking beer. Jane has not eaten. Kai ate snack. Some intransitive verbs select a PP complement. The rock fell onto the ground. James lives in a huge apartment. Some verbs select an NP complement and a PP complement. The waiter put the glass of wine on the table. Some verbs select wh-phrases as complement. Jane wondered how many actors would attend the ceremony. Some verbs select a sentence as complement. I think that Sam won the race. Some verbs select an NP or S as complement. They felt strong as oxen. They felt that they can win. Some verbs select an NP complement or/and to phrases. Jack wants a new computer. Jane wants to go to Europe. Jimmy wants his mother to dress up. Some verbs select an AP or S They felt strong as oxen. They feel that they can win. Some adjectives select a PP complement.


Jane is fond of flowers. Tom is tired of stale sandwiches. (Anne is afraid of thunders.) Some nouns select a PP complement or an S The belief in freedom of speech is essential to human dignity. The belief that freedom of speech is a basic right is supported by people. PS (Phrase Structure) rules (p138 - 140, p147 and p150) (Before the mid-term, we work on only simple sentences; in other words, neither infinitive phrases nor embedded clauses are not in the mid-term exam.) S  NP Aux VP (S stands for sentence, Aux stands for auxiliary verb) A sentence can contain a noun phrase followed by an aux followed by a verb phrase. p 575 and p 133 Aux is a syntactic category containing auxiliary verbs and abstract tense morphemes. It means that Aux can contain auxiliary verbs. So when a sentence has an auxiliary verb (will, have, be, may, can, could etc.), it is Aux. When a sentence does not have an auxiliary verb, the tense (past or present) is Aux. Concrete tense morphemes are the present third person singular -s, and the past inflectional morpheme -ed. Abstract tense morphemes are "present" and "past" even if there are no concrete tense morphemes. Aux is the head of a sentence. (p133) ex: John will look for the missing book. aux: will John may come late. aux: may John fell on the floor.  John did fall on the floor. aux: past John goes to school everyday.  John does go to school. aux: present Characteristics of auxiliary verb Subject -verb inversion Negation Do support - If a clause is negative or interrogative but does not already contain an auxiliary, the appropriate form of do is added. NP  (Det) N (PP) The textbook, a determiner seems obligatory (強制的 必須的) but it is optional. ex. A plural noun ("flowers"), a proper noun ("John") and a pronoun ("he") can be a noun phrases. SA noun phrase must contain a noun. A noun phrase can contain an optional determiner, followed by an obligatory noun, followed by an optional prepositional phrase. VP  V (NP) (PP)


A verb phrase can contain a verb followed by an optional noun phrase followed by an optional prepositional phrase. PP  P NP A prepositional phrase can contain a preposition followed by an obligatory noun phrase. AP  (AdvP) Adj (PP) An adjective phrase can contain an optional adverb phrase followed by an obligatory adjective followed by an optional prepositional phrase.

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