Chapter 4
• Syntax is the study of the part of the human
linguistic system that determines how
sentences are put together out of words.
• Syntactic rules in a grammar account for the
grammaticality of sentences, and the
ordering of words and morphemes.
• It is also concerned with speakers' ability to
produce and understand an infinite set of
possible sentences.
• The sentence is the highest-ranking unit of
Sentence Structure
• One aspect of the syntactic structure of
sentences is the division of a sentence into
phrases, and those phrases into further phrases,
and so forth.
• Another aspect of the syntactic structure of a
sentence is "movement" relations that hold
between one syntactic position in a sentence
and another.
• Constituents are structural units, i.e. any
linguistic form, such as words or word groups.
• Sentences are structured into successive
components, consisting of single words or
groups of words.
• These groups and single words are called
• When we consider sentence My friend came
home late last night, we find out that it consists
of seven word arranged in a particular order.
• In syntax, the seven words in this model
sentence are its ultimate constituents.
Immediate Constituent Analysis
• Sentences are regarded as hierarchies of interlocking smaller
units, or constituents.
• After a sentence is cut into its constituent elements, the two
parts that are yielded are called immediate constituents.
• Then, we get the smallest grammatical unit obtained
through the division, which is seen as the ultimate
Immediate Constituent Analysis
• Immediate Constituent Analysis (IC Analysis)
• The analysis can be carried out in ways of
tree diagrams, bracketing or any other. For
• (1) Poor| John║ ran |out.
Immediate Constituent Analysis
• A construction is a relationship between
• Constructions are divided into two types:
endocentric constructions and exocentric
Sentence Types
Syntactic Function
• According to its relation to other constituents, a
constituent may serve certain syntactic function in a
• There are five functional categories of clause
constituents: subject, verb, object, complement,
Syntactic Function
• Object can be subdivided into direct object
and indirect object.
• Complement can be subdivided into subject
complement and object complement.
• Adverbial can be subdivided into subjectrelated adverbial and object-related adverbial.
Tense and Aspect
• The category of tense relates the time of the
action, event or state of affairs referred to in
the sentence to the time of utterance (the time
of utterance being 'now').
• Tense is therefore a deictic category.
Tense and Aspect
• English has two aspects which combine fairly freely
with tense and mood: the 'perfect' (e.g. I have/had
read the book. I will/would have read the book) and
the 'progressive' (e.g. I am/was reading the book, I
will/would be reading the book).
• They also combine freely with one another (e.g. I
have/had been reading the book).
• Number is a grammatical category for the analysis of such contrasts as
singular and plural of certain word classes.
• Gender demonstrates such contrasts as "masculine, feminine, and neuter",
and "animate: inanimate", etc. for the analysis of certain word classes.
• The case category is often used in the analysis of word classes to
identify the syntactic relationship between words in a sentence.
• nominative for mentioning the subject, vocative for exclaiming or
calling, accusative for mentioning the object, genitive for
ownership, dative for indicating benefit, ablative for direction or
• We like her.
• His book is well-written.
Concord and Government
• A verb is to agree with the subject in person and
• The boy goes to school.
• The boys go to school.
Transformational Rules
• In 1957, Chomsky proposed the transformational-generative
grammar (TG), thus providing a model for the description of
human languages.
• The goal of TG is to find out a system of rules to account for
the linguistic competence of native speakers of a language to
form grammatical sentences.
Transformational Rules
• to provide the rules that can be used to
generate grammatical sentences to show how
basic sentences can be transformed into
either synonymous phrases or more complex
Deep Structure and Surface Structure
• According to Traugott (1980: 141), deep
structure shows the basic form of a sentence
with all the necessary information to derive a
well-formed sentence, and to give it a
phonological representation and a semantic
• Surface structure is the actually produced
structure. In Bussman's (1996: 465-466) words,
it is the directly observable actual form of
sentences as they are used in communication,
and from the perspective of transformational
grammar, surface structure is a relatively
abstract sentence structure resulting from the
application of base rules and transformational
• End of lecture
• Thank you!