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Syntax and Semantics

Syntax and Semantics. Reading: 6.1, 6.2, 6.4.1, 6.4.2, 6.5.1, 6.5.2, 6.5.3 7.1, 7.2.1, 7.2.2. Syntax. We have seen how language sounds combine to form units of meaning Syntax studies how such units — words and phrases — participate in meaningful utterances in a language . Syntax.

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Syntax and Semantics

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  1. Syntax and Semantics Reading: 6.1, 6.2, 6.4.1, 6.4.2, 6.5.1, 6.5.2, 6.5.3 7.1, 7.2.1, 7.2.2

  2. Syntax • We have seen how language sounds combine to form units of meaning • Syntax studies how such units — words and phrases — participate in meaningful utterances in a language

  3. Syntax • One sometimes hears people say that a certain language 'has no grammar', but that is not true of any language. • Every language has about as many grammatical principles — rules for forming utterances — as any other language

  4. Syntax • Syntax defined The systematic organizing of the morphology in utterances — by which users of the language can understand each other

  5. Principles of Syntax • *Word order John hit Bill How do we know who the hitter is? The hittee?

  6. Word order Some possible word orders: S V O John kissed Mary : English; Chinese

  7. Word order S O V John Mary kissed : Japanese; Korean; Chinese

  8. Word order O S V Mary, John kissed : Chinese; English?

  9. Word Order V S O kissed John Mary Maori (lg. of indigenous people of New Zealand)

  10. Word order • The following Chinese sentence demonstrates principle of word order: wo gaoxing wo de diannao jiu yao dai hui I happy I Poss. PC Gr. will carry back lai le come Gr. I am glad that [I am] getting my PC back

  11. Principles of Syntax 2. *Morphological concord (agreement) Marks relations among units in the utterance The dog_ eat_ in the kitchen (how many dogs?)

  12. Concord Where do we find concord in this sentence: The girls on the team ran their laps.

  13. Concord Notice strong dependence on concord in Spanish: las casas blancas estan bonitas

  14. Principles of syntax 3. *morphology (function words, inflections, derivational morphemes, etc.) John hit Bill John kissed Mary What is the time in these? What tells us that?

  15. Morphology English: The leadership collected accurate information The morphology participates in this sentence by identifying word class and contributing to the meaning of the words

  16. Morphology • How does morphology play a role in the following utterances: They called me names ~ They called my name

  17. Morphology Latin depends almost entirely on morphology and concord: Galliaest omnis in partes tres divisa Gall is all in parts three divided All of Gall is divided in three parts

  18. Principles of Syntax • English depends on all three of these principles to a varying degree: • Word order • Concord • Morphology

  19. Principles of Syntax • Chinese: • 我 自己拿 呀, 我  戴走  可以 的 Wo ziji na ya, wo dai zou keyi de I self take Prt., I carry go ok Prt. I can do it, I will take it my self! particle ya conveys mood, emphatic tone particlede conveys certainty, reassurance word order, with modal particles This use of particles grammaticalizes mood

  20. Principles of syntax • Syntax includes *lexical categories. Nouns Verbs Adjectives Adverbs We will define these descriptively

  21. Lexical categories • Identity lexical categories by syntactic frames NOUNS: • N + pl (-s) dogs • N + poss (-s) Tom’s • Article + N a dog; the house • Article + Adjective +N abig dog • N + Relative Clause the dog that barked • May be subjects of sentences, objects of Verbs or Prepositions Swimming is fun

  22. Lexical categories • Verb frames V + tense wanted; going to eat V + 3 person singular eats Auxiliary + V is eating Adverb + V ran slowly V + Prepositional Phrase ran up the street

  23. Lexical categories • Adjectives and adverbs Adj [+ (-er)/more, (-est)/most] + N My car is an olderFord Av [+ (-er)/more, (-est)/most)] + V Of all of us he runs slowest

  24. Lexical categories • The result of these lexical categories is phrases that function as constituents of utterances

  25. *Constituents • Constituent defined: a word or phrase in an utterance that forms a coherent group Ex. p. 203-4, #1, #2 Identify phrases and constituents

  26. Constituents • *Syntactic ambiguity (structural ambiguity) — occurs where a sentence may be understood in two or more ways because of its structure

  27. Ambiguity • We need more intelligent teachers

  28. Syntactic ambiguity She collects miniature toys and dolls

  29. Syntactic ambiguity While growing up his father took him to baseball games

  30. Ambiguity • We can use graphic means to demonstrate the ambiguity of sentences • Reed-Kellogg diagrams • Phrase Tree diagrams • Brackets or Looping diagrams

  31. Principles of Syntax Colorless green ideas sleep furiously

  32. Semantics features • Semantics — the system of meanings in a language

  33. Principles of Syntax • The lexicon participates in the syntax because of semantic features of words

  34. Semantic features • Words collocate — can be used together — according to their semantic features The childasked for a banana ?The treeasked for a banana

  35. *Semantic features • We think of “meaning” as a circle of signification, in which are found semantic features — elements of the meaning. At the heart of the circle is the basic meaning

  36. Semantic features • What are the semantic features of pregnant?

  37. Semantic features • Pregnant: Animate Vertebrate ? Mammal ? Alive Female Adult ? Big stomach ? Happy ? Married ? morning sickness discomfort and swelling

  38. Semantic features • More examples of semantic features: animate ~ inanimate (*a throbbing stone?) human ~ nonhuman (*a very articulate tree?) solid ~ liquid (box ~ bottle) (*a bottle of erasers?)

  39. Principles of syntax • Word order • Morphological concord • Morphology 4. Semantic features play a role, in determining what words may be selected for what utterance contexts

  40. Exercise • What Aerocool can bring you? • Emits sweat faster, making you feel cool & comfortable at all the times. • Fast dryness guarantees, you could wear right after you wash it. • The performance will keep going even after you wash it. (In what ways are these sentences from a product label ungrammatical)

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