Syntax Its Relation With Grammar And Lexicon English Language Essay

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Syntax deals with the relation of words to each other as component parts of a sentence, and with their proper arrangement to express clearly the intended meaning.

Considering the scarcity of inflections in English, it is clear that if we merely follow the Latin treatment, the department of syntax will be a small affair. But there is a good deal else to watch in addition to the few forms; for there is an important and marked difference between Latin and English syntax. It is this:-

Latin syntax depends upon fixed rules governing the use of inflected forms: hence the position of words in a sentence is of little grammatical importance.

English syntax follows the Latin to a limited extent; but its leading characteristic is, that English syntax is founded upon the meaning and the logical connection of words rather than upon their form: consequently it is quite as necessary to place words properly, and to think clearly of the meaning of words, as to study inflected forms.

For example, the sentence, "The savage here the settler slew," is ambiguous. Savage may be the subject, following the regular order of subject; or settler may be the subject, the order being inverted. In Latin, distinct forms would be used, and it would not matter which one stood first.

There is, then, a double reason for not omitting syntax as a department of grammar,-

First, To study the rules regarding the use of inflected forms, some of which conform to classical grammar, while some are idiomatic (peculiar to our own language).

Second, To find out the logical methods which control us in the arrangement of words; and particularly when the grammatical and the logical conception of a sentence do not agree, or when they exist side by side in good usage.

As an illustration of the last remark, take the sentence, "Besides these famous books of Scott's and Johnson's, there is a copious 'Life' by Sheridan." In this there is a possessive form, and added to it the preposition of, also expressing a possessive relation. This is not logical; it is not consistent with the general rules of grammar: but none the less it is good English.

Also in the sentence, "None remained but he," grammatical rules would require him instead of he after the preposition; yet the expression is sustained by good authority.

In some cases, authorities-that is, standard writers-differ as to which of two constructions should be used, or the same writer will use both indifferently. Instances will be found in treating of the pronoun or noun with a gerund, pronoun and antecedent, sometimes verb and subject, etc.

When usage varies as to a given construction, both forms will be given in the following pages.

The basis of syntax.

Our treatment of syntax will be an endeavor to record the best usage of the present time on important points; and nothing but important points will be considered, for it is easy to confuse a student with too many obtrusive don'ts.

The constructions presented as general will be justified by quotations from modern writers of English who are regarded as "standard;" that is, writers whose style is generally acknowledged as superior, and whose judgment, therefore, will be accepted by those in quest of authoritative opinion.

Reference will also be made to spoken English when its constructions differ from those of the literary language, and to vulgar English when it preserves forms which were once, but are not now, good English.

It may be suggested to the student that the only way to acquire correctness is to watch good usage everywhere, and imitate it.

the arrangement of words in sentences, clauses, and phrases, and the study of the formation of sentences and the relationship of their component parts. In a language such as English, the main device for showing the relationship among words is word order; e.g., in "The girl loves the boy," the subject is in initial position, and the object follows the verb. Transposing them changes the meaning. In many other languages, case markers indicate the grammatical relationships. In Latin, for example, "The girl loves the boy" may be puella puerum amat with "the rum, amat puerum puella, or puella amat puerum. The meaning remains constant because the -um ending on the form for "boy" indicates the object of the verb, regardless of its position in the sentence.

Sentences are constructed from phrases or groups of words that have a closer relationship to each other than to the words outside the phrase. In the sentence "My dog is playing in the yard" there is a closer relationship between the words "is playing," which together form the verb, than between the words "playing in the," which form only part of the verb and part of the phrase indicating the location of the playing.

The Lexical Functional Grammar is a grammar framework in theoretical linguistics, a variety of generative grammar. The development of the theory was initiated by Joan Bresnan and Ronald Kaplan in the 1970s, in reaction to the direction research in the area of transformational grammar had begun to take. It mainly focuses on syntax, including its relation with morphology and semantics. There has been little LFG work on phonology (although ideas from optimality theory have recently been popular in LFG research).

LFG views language as being made up of multiple dimensions of structure. Each of these dimensions is represented as a distinct structure with its own rules, concepts, and form. The primary structures that have figured in LFG research are:

the representation of grammatical functions (f-structure). See feature structure.

the structure of syntactic constituents (c-structure). See phrase structure rules.

For example, in the sentence The old woman eats the falafel, the c-structure analysis is that this is a sentence which is made up of two pieces, a noun phrase (NP) and a verb phrase (VP). The VP is itself made up of two pieces, a verb (V) and another NP. The NPs are also analyzed into their parts. Finally, the bottom of the structure is composed of the words out of which the sentence is constructed. The f-structure analysis, on the other hand, treats the sentence as being composed of attributes, which include features such as number and tense or functional units such as subject, predicate, or object.

There are other structures which are hypothesized in LFG work:

argument structure (a-structure), a level which represents the number of arguments for a predicate and some aspects of the lexical semantics of these arguments. See theta-role.

semantic structure (s-structure), a level which represents the meaning of phrases and sentences. See Glue Semantics.

information structure (i-structure)

morphological structure (m-structure)

phonological structure (p-structure)

The various structures can be said to be mutually constraining.

The LFG conception of language differs from Chomskian theories, which have always involved separate levels of constituent structure representation being mapped onto each other sequentially, via transformations. The LFG approach has had particular success with nonconfigurational languages, languages in which the relation between structure and function is less direct than it is in languages like English; for this reason LFG's adherents consider it a more plausible universal model of language.

Another feature of LFG is that grammatical-function changing operations like passivization are said to be lexical. This means that the active-passive relation, for example, is a relation between two types of verb rather than two trees. Active and passive verbs are both listed in the lexicon, and involve alternative mapping of the participants to grammatical functions.

Through the positing of productive processes in the lexicon and the separation of structure and function, LFG is able to account for syntactic patterns without the use of transformations defined over syntactic structure. For example, in a sentence like What did you see?, where what is understood as the object of see, transformational grammar puts what after see (the usual position for objects) in "deep structure", and then moves it. LFG analyzes what as having two functions: question-focus and object. It occupies the position associated in English with the question-focus function, and the constraints of the language allow it to take on the object function as well.

A central goal in LFG research is to create a model of grammar with a depth which appeals to linguists while at the same time being efficiently parseable and having the rigidity of formalism which computational linguists require. Because of this, LFG has been used as the theoretical basis of various machine translation tools, such as AppTek's TranSphere, and the Julietta Research Group's Lekta.

GRAMMAR AND LEXICON:

Communicative language, one of the most important qualities distinguishing humans from other species of animal, involves a Gordian knot of intertwined neural systems within the brain. Only recently have we begun to unravel these systems with the advent of imaging and measuring techniques that can coax out language's patterns of activation. In the process, the study of inner structures of the mind has enjoined with the theories of its outer workings, especially in relation to the field of linguistics. Because language theorists were hitherto limited to observing the output of a 'black box' and deriving its workings based only upon those external signs, competing hypotheses concerning the fundament of communication have remained untested. The tools and expertise of neurology have begun to remove this obstacle, affording linguists the opportunity to open the lid of the black get a sense of what lays within.

Sin → sinned, Win → winned

A recent study by Ullman et. al. (2005) has used this method of neuroscientific study to provide evidence for the dual-system theory of morphology. The dual-system theory addresses the question of the interaction between the lexicon-memorized parings of vocal or visual utterance and meaning commonly known as 'words-'and grammar-the system of rules that predictably builds lexical forms into composite words, phrases, and sentences that communicate complex meanings.

The examples of this phenomenon are diverse; English indicates a third-person subject of a verb by the suffix -s (as in 'Jane walk-s'), Arabic prefaces nouns with the syllable al- as an equivalent to 'the' (as in al-Jazeera)*, and Japanese negates an adjective by changing its final syllable to -kunai. There are exceptions, however, to the rules governing lexicon/grammar interface in every language. For example, the past tense of the verb 'to sing' is not 'singed,' but 'sang.'

The dual-system theory proposes that lexicon and grammar are processed in different regions of the brain, with basic forms of words stored in declarative memory localized to the temporal and temporal-parietal regions of the left hemisphere, and the rules governing their modification stored in non-declarative memory localized to the left frontal cortex and especially Broca's area. Irregular forms are given their own places within the lexicon, allowing them to override the application of regular grammatical rules.

In his book Words and Rules (1999), Steven Pinker proposes that this double-dissociation allows quicker mental access to irregular words, sidestepping the process of taking the word from the lexicon and determining the correct rule to apply to it. Since irregular words are generally used more frequently than their regular counterparts, double dissociation would bridge the gap between the necessities of consistent grammar and fluid speech.

Communicative language, one of the most important qualities distinguishing humans from other species of animal, involves a Gordian knot of intertwined neural systems within the brain. Only recently have we begun to unravel these systems with the advent of imaging and measuring techniques that can coax out language's patterns of activation. In the process, the study of inner structures of the mind has enjoined with the theories of its outer workings, especially in relation to the field of linguistics. Because language theorists were hitherto limited to observing the output of a 'black box' and deriving its workings based only upon those external signs, competing hypotheses concerning the fundament of communication have remained untested. The tools and expertise of neurology have begun to remove this obstacle, affording linguists the opportunity to open the lid of the black box and finally get a sense of what lays within.

Sin → sinned, Win → winned

A recent study by Ullman et. al. (2005) has used this method of neuroscientific study to provide evidence for the dual-system theory of morphology. The dual-system theory addresses the question of the interaction between the lexicon-memorized parings of vocal or visual utterance and meaning commonly known as 'words-'and grammar-the system of rules that predictably builds lexical forms into composite words, phrases, and sentences that communicate complex meanings.

The examples of this phenomenon are diverse; English indicates a third-person subject of a verb by the suffix -s (as in 'Jane walk-s'), Arabic prefaces nouns with the syllable al- as an equivalent to 'the' (as in al-Jazeera)*, and Japanese negates an adjective by changing its final syllable to -kunai. There are exceptions, however, to the rules governing lexicon/grammar interface in every language. For example, the past tense of the verb 'to sing' is not 'singed,' but 'sang.'

The dual-system theory proposes that lexicon and grammar are processed in different regions of the brain, with basic forms of words stored in declarative memory localized to the temporal and temporal-parietal regions of the left hemisphere, and the rules governing their modification stored in non-declarative memory localized to the left frontal cortex and especially Broca's area. Irregular forms are given their own places within the lexicon, allowing them to override the application of regular grammatical rules.

In his book Words and Rules (1999), Steven Pinker proposes that this double-dissociation allows quicker mental access to irregular words, sidestepping the process of taking the word from the lexicon and determining the correct rule to apply to it. Since irregular words are generally used more frequently than their regular counterparts, double dissociation would bridge the gap between the necessities of consistent grammar and fluid speech.

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