intro_ling-2014-07-syntax-handout.pdf - Syntax Ordering of...

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1/22/2014 1 Ordering of Words (Syntax) Syntax The arrangement of words and phrases to create sentences in a language Includes such things as How words group in a sentence Word order in a sentence Combining multiple sentences How words with common functions are grouped Syntax and meaning (semantics) What do the following sentences mean? The lady hit the man with an umbrella. He gave her cat food. How words are grouped can drastically alter meaning (semantics) Particularly for ungrammatical expressions the a under beating put creepy floorboards some guy heart (Should be: a creepy guy put a beating heart under the floorboards ) Principle of compositionality Meaning of a sentence comes from the arrangement of its parts Syntax versus meaning (semantics) Syntax and meaning may be quite separate, however Meaning may be expressed well even if syntax is ‘bad’ Me George of Jungle Can guess this means, I am George of the Jungle She say I, ... for She says to me, ... Syntax can be perfect even if a sentence is (mostly) meaningless colorless green ideas sleep furiously Meaningless because the parts do not interact meaningfully I am dead (said by a living human) Practically meaningless since logically impossible Syntactic Constituency Constituents The skunk ran into the tent last night. If we break up the sentence into sensible “chunks” the skunk ran into the tent last night [the skunk] [ran] [into the tent] [last night] constituent: a member of meaningful part of syntax The building blocks of phrases and sentences
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1/22/2014 2 Constituents How do we know words are grouping? Replacement with general, pro-forms Can question a constituent Can move the members of a constituent together (clefting) Determining constituents The skunk ran into the tent last night. Replacement with more general forms It ran into the tent last night.
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  • Fall '12
  • Jamie Phillips

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