Know Word formation Know issues around structural grammar i e

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Theoretical linguistics

Exam Preparation guide

Old question papers with sample answers

Please know everything in the study guide.
Parameters to describe consonants

Place of articulation

Manner of articulation


Know Word formation

Know issues around structural grammar i.e.

Niklaas borrowed s some money from Selma

Subject Predicator Object Complement

Study the sentences below and indicate why they are ungrammatical

  1. *The kick man

NP  (det) (adj) N (PP). Therefore the sentence is ungrammatical. Noun Phrase is headed by a noun and not a verb. Verb is not an optional element in the noun Phrase.

  1. * Our Friend drives Mondays on

VP  V (NP) (PP). Student should use the PS rule as basis of the argument

  1. *JanJapan Motors is in

PP  P NP. This example only has P

Indicate whether the underlined VP followed a traditional or transformational view for analyses

  1. We expect our grandparents to arrive in about an hour. Transformational

  2. My cousin watches television almost as much as you do. Traditional

  3. The weatherman says it will rain all day. Traditional

  4. Your brother plays soccer better than my brother does. Transformational

  5. Our friend drives on Mondays. Transformational

Underline the prepositional phrases in these sentences. 

  1. After school, the boys played a game of baseball at the park.

  2. We hid our canoe in the bushes and set up camp by the river.

  3. Candy signed her name on the line and passed the paper across the table.

  4. Without any warning, the dog dashed to the door and barked loudly.

  5. The storm caused the tree in our front yard to fall against the house.

Analyze the sentences below following Phrase Structure Rules, and then draw a labelled tree diagram.

  1. The Story of God with Morgan Freeman

      1. S  NP

      2. NP  Det N PP

      3. PP  P NP

      4. NP  N PP

      5. PP  P NP

      6. NP  N

  1. The best team won the tournament

      1. S  NP VP

      2. NP  Det Adj N

      3. VP  V NP

      4. NP  Det N

  1. The Man left.

      1. S NP VP

      2. NP  Det N

      3. VP  V

Traditional and modern grammar

  • Traditional grammar was not descriptive, it was prescriptive

  • Traditional grammar imposed latin models over English which made it difficult to explain the structure of some sentences. It consisted of parts of speech.

  • Saussure is the father of modern linguistics and he articulate the four dichotomies

  • Chomsky formulated Transformational generative grammar. LAD, Deep and surface structure.

  • Language is consistently changing, sentences can be transformed and generated infinitely

Phonetics and Phonology.

  • Phonetics is a branch of linguistic that comprises the study of the sounds of human speech, the physical properties of speech sounds or signs (phones): their physiological production, acoustic properties, auditory perception, and neurophysiological status.

  • Articulatory phonetics: the study of the production of speech sounds by the articulatory and vocal tract by speaker

  • Acoustic phonetics: the study of the physical transmission of speech sounds from the speaker to the listener

  • Auditory phonetics: the study of the reception and perception of speech sounds by the listener

  • Phonology, on the other hand is concerned with the abstract, grammatical, characterisation of systems of sounds or signs

  • Tools of articulation, , phonemes, allophones, suprasegmental features of language

difference between syntax and semantics

  • Syntax has to do with the form and order of words within the sentence.

  • Semantics on the other hands has to do with the meaning.

  • Syntax is language specific/dependent.

Semantics (meaning) remains the same when the same sentence is expressed in another language.

value and importance of syntax in language study

  1. Syntax is the central component of the analysing device of any language.

  2. It is the level of analysis that helps us to relate what we perceive from the speech or writing of others to the meaning they intend to convey.

  3. In performing this role, syntax relates an interface to morphological component.

  4. Syntax helps us to construct grammatically correct sentences and to express ourselves eloquently and effectively.

  5. It is the means by which we answer question, extract information and translate meaning from one language to the other. It helps us to express ourselves in countless ways and with varying meanings.

  6. It is syntax that allows speakers and writers to communicate complicated thoughts by arranging small, simple units in meaningful ways.

  7. Syntax also shows us that human language is unlimited because we can generate countless sentences and new ones to express new ideas, experiences and developments within the rules of syntax.

Syntax is employed by writers to create both daring and subtle differences in meaning and to avoid ambiguity.

  • Study of meaning

  • It focuses on the relationship between signifiers, like words, phrases, signs and symbols, and what they stand for, their denotation

  • Study of meaning that is used for understanding human expression through language

  • Semantics is the subfield that is devoted to the study of meaning, as inherent at the levels of words, phrases, sentences, and larger units of discourse (text)

  • Closely linked to subjects of representation, reference and denotation.

Know Polysemy and Metonymy

Five different levels in Linguistics are:

  • Phonetics and phonology, at level of sound

  • Morphology, at the word level

  • Syntax, at the level of phrases, clauses and sentences

  • Semantics, at the level of meaning

  • Pragmatics, at the level of context ad situation

Theories on language acquisition

  • Behaviorist theories

  • The innateness hypothesis

  • Social Interactionism

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