Syntax#1.docx - Week 4 Syntax I Lexical Categories 1...

This preview shows page 1 - 4 out of 16 pages.

Week 4: Syntax I - Lexical Categories1. IntroductionSo far, we have seen that languages contain smaller units of meaning that combine to form words. Yet words on their own do not convey much. To express the full range of thoughts and ideas, we need to be able to combine words into larger units such as phrases and sentences. In order to form meaningful sentences, we need to keep in mind the order in which words come together in any given language. Take the following examples:(1) Sam took her dog for a walk.(2) *Took Sam for a dog her walk.Notice how in English, (1) is a perfectly acceptible sentence. It is grammatical and meaningful. (2), on the other hand, makes little sense to an English speaker. This idea of grammaticality comes from the fact that in English, just like in any other language, there is a very particular order in which we may organize our words. If we ignore these structural constraints, we end up with a meaningless jumble of words which does not communicate much to speakers of this language.By the end of this Chapter, you will have enough tools to equip yourself in determining the different parts of speech (or syntacticcategories). This may seem intuitive at first since we all have the simplified knowledge of parts of speech. For instance, you may be able to identify the category of the underlined words in the following example by providing some linguistic explanation.(3) The girlfrom Germany worksat our club. In this case, you may identify the word girl as a noun since it refers to a person or the word worksas a verb since it refers to an action. However, it is not always this easy to determine the category of a word.
To begin, this course will focus on the English language but will present tools and techniques that can be used in other languages as well. Let’s review some parts of speech in English. We all know what a nounis because we were taught that it is a name, place, person, thing or event. A verbis an action. An adjectivemodifies or describes a noun, and an adverbmodifies a verb. A pronounreplaces a noun. But can we use these definitions to identify parts of speech in other languages? Let’s look at the following example[1]:(4) The yinkishdripnerblorkedquastoficallyinto the nindinwiththe pidibsquirshicklyabove the mjornk.
Question: How can you tell which part of speech are the nonce words in this pseudo-English example?
.

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture