Module 5 Syntax Vocabulary Flashcards Preview

English 211, Introduction to Linguistics > Module 5 Syntax Vocabulary > Flashcards

Flashcards in Module 5 Syntax Vocabulary Deck (42)
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1

Syntax

the syntax of English, to see how sentences in this language are structured. The study of syntax is the investigation of the parts sentences consist of and their connections and dependencies.

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Constituents or phrases

In analogy to structural units in phonology and morphology, we will call syntactic units constituents, or, in more syntax-specific terminology, phrases.

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pronominalisation

Pronominalisation is a test to prove constituent status. Substitution of a constituent by a pronoun. “if you can replace a string of words by a pronoun, this string must be a constituent.”

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‘pro-phrases’ or ‘pro-forms’

Pronoun

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Movement test

If a string of words can be moved to other sentential positions, it is proof of the string’s being a constituent. This test works nicely for [to the station] and [every morning], but not really for [many people] and [will go]

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Coordination test

A third constituency test is the coordination test, according to which it is only  constituents that can be coordinated by the coordinating conjunction and. This conjunction has the property of combining only constituents of the same kind. Such constitutents can be simple words (black and white, night and day, twist and shout, up and down), but also phrases[Many people] and [my friends] 

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‘mother’ and ‘sister’ nodes

A mother node is defined as the node immediately above a given node, and sister nodes are nodes that share the same mother node in a tree.

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Syntactic or structural ambiguity

Syntactic ambiguity, also called structural ambiguity,[1] amphiboly or amphibology, is a situation where a sentence may be interpreted in more than one way due to ambiguous sentence structure.

Syntactic ambiguity arises not from the range of meanings of single words, but from the relationship between the words and clauses of a sentence, and the sentence structure underlying the word order therein. In other words, a sentence is syntactically ambiguous when a reader or listener can reasonably interpret one sentence as having more than one possible structure.

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NP’s

Noun phrases. Phrases headed by a noun.

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PP’s

Prepositional Phrases. Modifying phrase consisting of a preposition and its object.

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AP’s

Adjective phrases. An adjective phrase is a phrase the head of which is an adjective, e.g. fond of steak, very happy, quite upset about it, etc. The adjective can initiate the phrase, conclude the phrase, or appear in a medial position.

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VPs

Verb phrases. The part of a sentence containing the verb and any direct or indirect object, but not the subject.

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ADVPs

Adverb phrases. An adverbial phrase is a group of words that refines the meaning of a verb, adjective, or adverb. Similar to adverbs, adverbial phrases modify other words by explaining why, how, where, or when an action occurred.

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Head

We will call the most important element of a phrase its HEAD and name the phrases after their heads.

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Projections of the head

Phrases are often called projections of their head. Syntacticians say that the head projects its properties onto the phrase as a whole.

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Word-class

Syntactic categories of adjectives, nouns, verbs, etc. Generally, there are three types of criteria that are used to find out about the word-class of a given word: semantic, morphological, and syntactic.

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semantic classification

A word-class distinction of a noun, verb, adverb, etc. (nouns refer to things or persons, verbs to actions or events, that adjectives express properties or qualities, and prepositions express relations.)

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Morphological criteria

Morphology analyzes the structure of words and parts of words, such as stems, root words, prefixes, and suffixes. Morphology also looks at parts of speech, intonation and stress, and the ways context can change a word's pronunciation and meaning.

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syntactic criteria

Position of words in a sentence.

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phrase structure rules

Syntactic rules to construct sentences

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Subordinate clauses

Sentences inside sentences

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Clause

A minimal structure of a sentence that contains a verb phrase and it’s subject.

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superordinate clause or matrix clause

A complex sentence consisting of two clauses

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Main clause

Clauses that can stand on their own

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Predicate

Verb. the part of a sentence or clause containing a verb and stating something about the subject (e.g., went home in John went home)

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subject-verb agreement

a syntactic process which requires subject and verb to share the same person and number features. If the subject is, for example, third person singular, the verb has to be marked as third person singular, too.

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criteria for subjecthood, the notion of subject

subject-verb agreement, position, obligatoriness and case marking.

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transitive verbs

Verbs that need an object

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intransitive verbs

verbs that cannot take an object

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Distrantive

Verbs that can take two objects. One of the objects denotes an entity that undergoes the action or process denoted by the verb. This object is commonly referred to as the direct object. The other object denotes the goal, the recipient or the benificiary of the event denoted by the verb, and is known as the indirect object.