What is Syntax???…..

Posted: June 3, 2009 in Uncategorized

All languages have ways of referring to entities – to people, places, things, ideas, events, and so on. Referring expressions are noun phrases. There are simple ones like the proper nouns Lauren and Paris, the common nouns books and justice, and the personal pronouns you and it. There are also more complex noun phrases like these : a magical book, his mother, the star of the film, a judge he had known forty years earlier, and the efficient way that court settled another dispute over the ownership of a dog.
All languages also have ways of saying something about the entities they make reference to. In other ways, all languages can make predication about the things referred to by the referring expressions. All languages have ways of making statement, both positive and negative. They can also ask question, issue directive, and so on.
Let’s illustrate with positive statements. In the following sentence, reference is made to an entity and apreciation is made about it.
Referring expression Predication
Richard has two daughters
She uses an answering machine
The ghost reappeared last night
In the first example, reference is made to ‘Richard’, and something is then predicated of him – namely, that he ‘has two daughters’. Likewise for the second and third examples.
Sentences often consist of more elaborate referring expressions and more elaborate predication than these. The two sentences below illustrate more elaborate predication in the first examples, reference is made to ‘the dog’ and then a predication about the dog is made. In the second examples, reference is made to ‘the lawyer; and then a predication is made about her. In these examples, the predication is underlined.
The dog bit the man who had agreed to care for it.
The lawyer swore that her father had promised to foot the bill.
What constitutes the acceptable sequences of word and morphemes that a language uses to refer to things and make predication about them are part of its syntax. Syntax govern the form of the strings by which a language make statement, asks questions, gives directives, and so on. In other word, the study of syntax treats the structure of sentence and their structural relationship to one other. To repeat : a typical sentence consist of two part, one a referring expression and the other a predication about the entity referred to. In syntactic terms, referring expressions are noun phrases, and predicates are verb phrases. All languages, however much they differ from one another in the other categories or part of speech, have nouns and verb (and the vast majority have noun phrases and verb phrases).


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