204_Lecture_week 8 - LIN204H1S English Grammar Todays goal...

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1 March 5, 2009 LIN204H1S English Grammar Today’s goal: - We start looking at the structure of larger units than phrases. - To understand voice in English - To understand affirmative and negative in English March 5, 2009 Announcements - Midterm tests and homework #2 will be returned at 2:45 pm - From today on, assignments will be collected and returned at 2:45 pm, not at the beginning of the class, on the relevant days. - If you want to request regrading (for any item, not only for the midterm test), fill in the Regrading Request Form posted on the course website under Course Documents and attach the form to the item that you are submitting for regrading. March 5, 2009 Voice English has two grammatical voices: - Active voice - Passive voice E.g. The active The dog bit the child. The passive The child was bitten by the dog. Cf. Middle voice (Barry p. 141, reflection #1) March 5, 2009 The active and the passive We can describe the differences between the active and passive voices by explaining how a transitive sentence in the active voice can be transformed into the passive voice. Active voice: Subject Main verb Object The dog bit the child. Passive voice: Subject Aux. be in the tense Main verb ( by + object of the main verb in past participle in the VP) in the active form The child was bitten by the dog. March 5, 2009 Semantic roles in voices Between a sentence in the active voice and the corresponding passive sentence, the semantic role of the words doesn’t change. Active voice: The dog bit the child. Agent: the ‘doer’ the agent the patient Patient: undergoer of the action Passive voice: The child was bitten by the dog. the patient the agent March 5, 2009 Semantic roles in voices Semantic roles: roles that the verb assigns to its arguments (the subject and the object(s)) to tell the relation between the subject and the event or state described by the sentence, or roles that the preposition assigns to its object. Some examples: agent: Someone or something that performs an action or causes it to happen patient: Someone or something that undergoes an action or change of state (a) Joel ate the bananas. agent patient
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2 March 5, 2009 Semantic roles instrument: Something that is used to perform an action (a) Joel ate with the chopsticks. agent instrument theme: Someone or something that is being described, or that is used as a description of something else (b) Joel looks happy. theme March 5, 2009 Semantic roles experiencer: Someone who experiences a mental or emotional state (a) Joel felt sad. experiencer locative: The place where something is located, or where an event happens benefactive: Someone for whom an action is performed (b) Joel drove to London for his mother. agent locative benefactive March 5, 2009 While the syntactic roles change between a sentence in the active voice and the corresponding passive sentence, the semantic roles do not. Note, however, that a preposition is needed to assign the semantic role to the NP that is the subject in the active voice.
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