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Topics in grammar

Topics in grammar

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Topics in grammar

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  1. Topics in grammar Immediate Constituent Analysis Revisited

  2. Functionalism versus formalism • SFG is one of various functionalist approaches to grammar. • SFG models of grammar attend to form, function and meaning in their attempt to (i) map out the meaning potential in any language and (ii) account for the structure of an utterance in terms of its context of use. • But what if we are just interested in structure…?

  3. Reorientation & review…. • Saussurean grammatical theory comes out of a Western linguistic tradition … European vernaculars…Latin…Indo-European language studies • But…what about really different languages?

  4. Boas and anthropological linguistics Boas posing for a model which was being made of a Kwakuitl Winter Ceremonial dancer (c.1900)

  5. Basic principles of linguistic anthropology • Find native speaker informants. • Identify utterances. • Break the utterances down. into successively smaller units. • Look at recurring patterns. • Write a grammar of structure.

  6. Basic principles of linguistic anthropology • Find native speaker informants. • Identify utterances. • Break the utterances down. into successively smaller units. • Look at recurring patterns. • Write a grammar. • What would happen if we went back to first principles and applied the techniques of linguistic anthropology to English?

  7. Leonard Bloomfield: Language (1933)

  8. Basic assumptions… • Language is a patterned sequence of constituents • You can find the minimum constituent by dividing constituents in two until you can’t do it any more (ie you arrive at the morpheme) • Analysing sentences using this technique is called Immediate Constituent Analysis

  9. Immediate Constituent Analysis Divide these sentences into two constituents. Jane sang. The girl ate chocolate. The lonely policeman swallowed a boiled egg.

  10. Immediate Constituent Analysis • Divide these sentences into two constituents. Jane sang. The girl ate chocolate. The lonely policeman swallowed a boiled egg. Each constituent can be reduced to one word (subject + predicate).

  11. Dividing always by two… swallowed a boiled egg

  12. Dividing always by two… swallowed a boiled egg a boiled egg boiled egg boiled swallowed

  13. Dividing always by two… The lonely policeman

  14. Dividing always by two… The lonely policeman lonely policeman lonely policeman

  15. Representing your analysis The lonely policeman swallowed a boiled egg.

  16. Representing your analysis The lonely policeman swallowed a boiled egg. girl ate chocolate. Jane sang.

  17. The structure of complex constituents • Endocentric: (1) can be reduced to a single head, eg the lonely policeman > Jane swallowed a boiled egg > sang (2) Can be reduced to two (or more) heads Jack and Jill

  18. The structure of complex constituents • Exocentric can’t be reduced to a single head, eg in the corner > ‘there’

  19. Problems with ica • How do you cope with the mobility of adverbs? Jane often sang. Jane sang often. Often Jane sang.

  20. Problems with ica • How do you cope with the mobility of adverbs? Jane often sang. Jane sang often. Often Jane sang.

  21. How do you split these in two…? loud-voiced man disgraceful ungraceful

  22. Cross-cutting loud-voiced man disgraceful ungraceful Note: sentences are not left-to-right linear sequences of constituents but complex hierarchies.

  23. Review activities • Try the review activities for Chapter 5 in the workbook. Discuss them amongst yourselves…and in your learning blog!

  24. Summary • Early in the 20th century linguistic anthropologists began recording and analysing ‘exotic’ languages. • The techniques they developed were turned back on European languages like English. • The analytical tools are based on immediate constituent analysis: find the ultimate grammatical constituents (morphemes) and look at how recurring patterns are distributed. • Move towards a semantics-free grammar that is increasingly abstract…and eventually evolves into transformational grammar.