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In
linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and structure. Linguis ...

linguistics
, syntax () is the study of how words and
morpheme A morpheme is the smallest meaningful Constituent (linguistics), constituent of a linguistic expression. The field of linguistics, linguistic study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology (linguistics), morphology. In English, morphemes are ...
s combine to form larger units such as
phrase In syntax and grammar, a phrase is a group of words or singular word acting as a grammatical unit. For instance, the English language, English expression "the very happy squirrel" is a noun phrase which contains the adjective phrase "very happy". ...

phrase
s and sentences. Central concerns of syntax include
word order In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and ...
,
grammatical relations
grammatical relations
, hierarchical sentence structure (
constituency An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, or (election) precinct is a subdivision of a larger state (a country A country is a distinct part o ...
), agreement, the nature of crosslinguistic variation, and the relationship between form and meaning (
semantics Semantics (from grc, wikt:σημαντικός, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") is the study of reference, Meaning (philosophy), meaning, or truth. The term can be used to refer to subfields of several distinct discipline ...
). There are numerous approaches to syntax that differ in their central assumptions and goals.


Etymology

The word ''syntax'' comes from
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Mycenaean Greek (), Greek Dark ...
roots: "coordination", which consists of ''syn'', "together", and ''táxis'', "ordering".


Topics

The field of syntax contains a number of various topics that a syntactic theory is often designed to handle. The relation between the topics is treated differently in different theories, and some of them may not be considered to be distinct but instead to be derived from one another (i.e. word order can be seen as the result of movement rules derived from grammatical relations).


Sequencing of subject, verb, and object

One basic description of a language's syntax is the sequence in which the subject (S),
verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax generally conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual descrip ...
(V), and object (O) usually appear in sentences. Over 85% of languages usually place the subject first, either in the sequence SVO or the sequence SOV. The other possible sequences are VSO, VOS, OVS, and OSV, the last three of which are rare. In most generative theories of syntax, the surface differences arise from a more complex clausal phrase structure, and each order may be compatible with multiple derivations. However, word order can also reflect the semantics or function of the ordered elements.


Grammatical relations

Another description of a language considers the set of possible grammatical relations in a language or in general and how they behave in relation to one another in the
morphosyntactic alignment In linguistics, morphosyntactic alignment is the grammatical relationship between Argument (linguistics), arguments—specifically, between the two arguments (in English, subject and object) of transitive verbs like ''the dog chased the cat'', an ...
of the language. The description of grammatical relations can also reflect transitivity, passivization, and head-dependent-marking or other agreement. Languages have different criteria for grammatical relations. For example, subjecthood criteria may have implications for how the subject is referred to from a relative clause or coreferential with an element in an infinite clause.


Constituency

Constituency is the feature of being a constituent and how words can work together to form a constituent (or ''phrase''). Constituents are often moved as units, and the constituent can be the domain of agreement. Some languages allow discontinuous phrases in which words belonging to the same constituent are not immediately adjacent but are broken up by other constituents. Constituents may be
recursive
recursive
, as they may consist of other constituents, potentially of the same type.


Early history

The ''
Aṣṭādhyāyī The (Devanagari अष्टाध्यायी) is a grammar that describes a form of an early Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan language: Sanskrit. Authored by Sanskrit philologist and scholar Pāṇini and dated to around 500 BCE, it describ ...
'' of
Pāṇini , era = ;;6th–5th century BCE , region = Indian philosophy , main_interests = Grammar, linguistics , notable_works = ' (Sanskrit#Classical Sanskrit, Classical Sanskrit) , influenced= , notable_ideas=Descript ...
, from c. 4th century BC in
Ancient India According to consensus in modern genetics, anatomically modern humans first arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between 73,000 and 55,000 years ago. Quote: "Y-Chromosome and Mt-DNA data support the colonization of South Asia by ...

Ancient India
, is often cited as an example of a premodern work that approaches the sophistication of a modern syntactic theory since works on
grammar In linguistics, the grammar of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' composition of clause (linguistics), clauses, phrases, and words. The term can also refer to the study of such constraint ...
had been written long before modern syntax came about. In the West, the school of thought that came to be known as "traditional grammar" began with the work of
Dionysius Thrax Dionysius Thrax ( grc-gre, Διονύσιος ὁ Θρᾷξ ''Dionýsios ho Thrâix'', 170–90 BC) was a Ancient Greece, Greek Grammarian (Greco-Roman), grammarian and a pupil of Aristarchus of Samothrace. He was long considered to be the author o ...
. For centuries, a framework known as , first expounded in 1660 by
Antoine Arnauld Antoine Arnauld (6 February 16128 August 1694) was a French Catholic The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptized Catholics worldwide . It is among th ...
in a book of the same title, dominated work in syntax: as its basic premise the assumption that language is a direct reflection of thought processes and so there is a single most natural way to express a thought. However, in the 19th century, with the development of
historical-comparative linguistics Historical linguistics, also termed diachronic linguistics, is the scientific study of language change over time. Principal concerns of historical linguistics include: # to describe and account for observed changes in particular languages # ...
, linguists began to realize the sheer diversity of human language and to question fundamental assumptions about the relationship between language and logic. It became apparent that there was no such thing as the most natural way to express a thought and so
logic Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both Mathematical logic, formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of Validity (logic), deductively valid inferences or of logical truths. It is a formal science investigating h ...
could no longer be relied upon as a basis for studying the structure of language. The
Port-Royal Port Royal is the former capital city of Jamaica. Port Royal or Port Royale may also refer to: Institutions * Port-Royal-des-Champs, an abbey near Paris, France, which spawned influential schools and writers of the 17th century ** Port-Royal Abb ...
grammar modeled the study of syntax upon that of logic. (Indeed, large parts of
Port-Royal Logic ''Port-Royal Logic'', or ''Logique de Port-Royal'', is the common name of ''La logique, ou l'art de penser'', an important textbook on logic first published anonymously in 1662 by Antoine Arnauld Antoine Arnauld (6 February 16128 August 1694) ...
were copied or adapted from the ''Grammaire générale''.) Syntactic categories were identified with logical ones, and all sentences were analyzed in terms of "subject – copula – predicate". Initially, that view was adopted even by the early comparative linguists such as Franz Bopp. The central role of syntax within
theoretical linguistics Theoretical linguistics is a term in linguistics which, like the related term general linguistics, can be understood in different ways. Both can be taken as a reference to theory of language, or the branch of linguistics which inquires into the Ph ...
became clear only in the 20th century, which could reasonably be called the "century of syntactic theory" as far as linguistics is concerned. (For a detailed and critical survey of the history of syntax in the last two centuries, see the monumental work by Giorgio Graffi (2001).)


Theories

There are a number of theoretical approaches to the discipline of syntax. One school of thought, founded in the works of Derek Bickerton, sees syntax as a branch of biology, since it conceives of syntax as the study of linguistic knowledge as embodied in the human
mind The mind is the set of faculties responsible for all mental Phenomenon, phenomena. Often the term is also identified with the phenomena themselves. These faculties include thought, imagination, memory, Will (philosophy), will, and Sensation (psy ...
. Other linguists (e.g., Gerald Gazdar) take a more Platonistic view since they regard syntax to be the study of an abstract
formal system A formal system is an abstract structure used for inferring theorems from axioms according to a set of rules. These rules, which are used for carrying out the inference of theorems from axioms, are the logical calculus of the formal system. A form ...
. Yet others (e.g.,
Joseph Greenberg Joseph Harold Greenberg (May 28, 1915 – May 7, 2001) was an American linguistics, linguist, known mainly for his work concerning linguistic typology and the genetic relationship (linguistics), genetic classification of languages. Life Early l ...
) consider syntax a taxonomical device to reach broad generalizations across languages. Syntacticians have attempted to explain the causes of word-order variation within individual languages and cross-linguistically. Much of such work has been done within the framework of generative grammar, which holds that syntax depends on a genetic endowment common to the human species. In that framework and in others,
linguistic typology Linguistic typology (or language typology) is a field of linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis ...
and
universals In metaphysics Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that studies the fundamental nature of reality, the first principles of being, identity and change, space and time, causality, necessity, and possibility. It includes questions about th ...
have been primary explicanda. Alternative explanations, such as those by functional linguists, have been sought in language processing. It is suggested that the brain finds it easier to parse syntactic patterns that are either right- or left- branching but not mixed. The most-widely held approach is the performance–grammar correspondence hypothesis by John A. Hawkins, who suggests that language is a non-innate
adaptation In biology, adaptation has three related meanings. Firstly, it is the dynamic evolutionary process of natural selection that fits organisms to their environment, enhancing their Fitness (biology), evolutionary fitness. Secondly, it is a stat ...
to innate
cognitive Cognition refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses all aspects of intellectual functions and processes such as: perception Perceptio ...
mechanisms. Cross-linguistic tendencies are considered as being based on language users' preference for grammars that are organized efficiently and on their avoidance of word orderings that cause processing difficulty. Some languages, however, exhibit regular inefficient patterning such as the VO languages Chinese, with the
adpositional phrase An adpositional phrase, in linguistics, is a syntactic category that includes ''prepositional phrases'', ''postpositional phrases'', and ''circumpositional phrases''. Adpositional phrases contain an adposition (preposition, postposition, or circ ...
before the verb, and Finnish, which has postpositions, but there are few other profoundly exceptional languages. More recently, it is suggested that the left- versus right-branching patterns are cross-linguistically related only to the place of role-marking connectives ( adpositions and subordinators), which links the phenomena with the semantic mapping of sentences.


Theoretical syntactic models


Dependency grammar

Dependency grammar Dependency grammar (DG) is a class of modern Grammar, grammatical theories that are all based on the dependency relation (as opposed to the ''constituency relation'' of Phrase structure grammar, phrase structure) and that can be traced back prima ...
is an approach to sentence structure in which syntactic units are arranged according to the dependency relation, as opposed to the constituency relation of
phrase structure grammar The term phrase structure grammar was originally introduced by Noam Chomsky as the term for formal grammar, grammar studied previously by Emil Post and Axel Thue (Post canonical systems). Some authors, however, reserve the term for more restricted ...
s. Dependencies are directed links between words. The (finite) verb is seen as the root of all clause structure and all the other words in the clause are either directly or indirectly dependent on the root. Some prominent dependency-based theories of syntax are the following: * Recursive categorical syntax, or algebraic syntax *
Functional generative description Functional generative description (FGD) is a linguistic framework developed at Charles University in Prague Charles University ( cs, Univerzita Karlova, UK; la, Universitas Carolina; german: Karls-Universität), also known as Charles University in ...
* Meaning–text theory *
Operator grammar Operator grammar is a mathematical Mathematics is an area of knowledge that includes the topics of numbers, formulas and related structures, shapes and the spaces in which they are contained, and quantities and their changes. These topics a ...
* Word grammar
Lucien Tesnière Lucien Tesnière (; May 13, 1893 – December 6, 1954) was a prominent and influential French people, French linguistics, linguist. He was born in Mont-Saint-Aignan on May 13, 1893. As a maître de conférences (senior lecturer) in University ...
(1893–1954) is widely seen as the father of modern dependency-based theories of syntax and grammar. He argued vehemently against the binary division of the clause into subject and
predicate Predicate or predication may refer to: * Predicate (grammar), in linguistics * Predication (philosophy) * several closely related uses in mathematics and formal logic: **Predicate (mathematical logic) **Propositional function **Finitary relation, o ...
that is associated with the grammars of his day (S → NP VP) and remains at the core of most phrase structure grammars. In the place of that division, he positioned the verb as the root of all clause structure.


Categorial grammar

Categorial grammar Categorial grammar is a family of formalisms in natural language syntax that share the central assumption that constituent (linguistics), syntactic constituents combine as Function (mathematics), functions and Argument_of_a_function, arguments. Cat ...
is an approach in which constituents combine as function and
argument An argument is a statement or group of statements called premises intended to determine the degree of truth or acceptability of another statement called a conclusion. Arguments can be studied from three main perspectives: the logical, the dialect ...
, according to combinatory possibilities specified in their
syntactic categories A syntactic category is a syntactic unit that theories of syntax assume. Word classes, largely corresponding to traditional parts of speech (e.g. noun, verb, preposition, etc.), are syntactic categories. In phrase structure grammars, the ''phrasal c ...
. For example, other approaches might posit a rule that combines a noun phrase (NP) and a verb phrase (VP), but CG would posit a syntactic category ''NP'' and another ''NP\S'', read as "a category that searches to the left (indicated by \) for an NP (the element on the left) and outputs a sentence (the element on the right)." Thus, the syntactic category for an
intransitive In grammar, an intransitive verb is a verb whose context does not entail a direct object (linguistics), object. That lack of Transitivity (grammar), transitivity distinguishes intransitive verbs from transitive verbs, which entail one or more o ...
verb is a complex formula representing the fact that the verb acts as a
function word In linguistics, function words (also called functors) are words that have little Lexical (semiotics), lexical Meaning (linguistic), meaning or have ambiguous meaning and express grammar, grammatical relationships among other words within a Sentence ...
requiring an NP as an input and produces a sentence level structure as an output. The complex category is notated as (NP\S) instead of V. The category of
transitive verb A transitive verb is a verb that accepts one or more object (grammar), objects, for example, 'cleaned' in ''Donald cleaned the window''. This contrasts with intransitive verbs, which do not have objects, for example, 'panicked' in ''Donald panick ...
is defined as an element that requires two NPs (its subject and its direct object) to form a sentence. That is notated as (NP/(NP\S)), which means, "A category that searches to the right (indicated by /) for an NP (the object) and generates a function (equivalent to the VP) which is (NP\S), which in turn represents a function that searches to the left for an NP and produces a sentence."
Tree-adjoining grammar Tree-adjoining grammar (TAG) is a grammar formalism defined by Aravind Joshi. Tree-adjoining grammars are somewhat similar to context-free grammars, but the elementary unit of rewriting is the tree rather than the symbol. Whereas context-free gram ...
is a categorial grammar that adds in partial
tree structure A tree structure, tree diagram, or tree model is a way of representing the hierarchy, hierarchical nature of a structure in a graphical form. It is named a "tree structure" because the classic #Representing trees, representation resembles a tree ...
s to the categories.


Stochastic/probabilistic grammars/network theories

Theoretical approaches to syntax that are based upon
probability theory Probability theory is the branch of mathematics concerned with probability. Although there are several different probability interpretations, probability theory treats the concept in a rigorous mathematical manner by expressing it through a set o ...
are known as stochastic grammars. One common implementation of such an approach makes use of a
neural network A neural network is a network or neural circuit, circuit of biological neurons, or, in a modern sense, an artificial neural network, composed of artificial neurons or nodes. Thus, a neural network is either a biological neural network, made up ...
or
connectionism Connectionism refers to both an approach in the field of cognitive science that hopes to explain mind, mental phenomena using artificial neural networks (ANN) and to a wide range of techniques and algorithms using ANNs in the context of artificial ...
.


Functional grammars

Functionalist models of grammar study the form–function interaction by performing a structural and a functional analysis. *
Functional discourse grammar Functional grammar (FG) and functional discourse grammar (FDG) are grammar models and theories motivated by functional theories of grammar. These theories explain how Natural language, linguistic utterances are shaped, based on the goals and knowle ...
(Dik) *
Prague linguistic circle The Prague school or Prague linguistic circle is a language and literature society. It started in 1926 as a group of linguistics, linguists, philology, philologists and literary critics in Prague. Its proponents developed methods of semiotic lit ...
* Role and reference grammar (RRG) * Systemic functional grammar


Generative syntax

Generative syntax is the study of syntax within the overarching framework of
generative grammar Generative grammar, or generativism , is a Theoretical linguistics, linguistic theory that regards linguistics as the study of a hypothesised linguistic nativism, innate grammatical structure. It is a Biology, biological or Biologism, biologist ...
. Generative theories of syntax typically propose analyses of grammatical patterns using formal tools such as
phrase structure grammar The term phrase structure grammar was originally introduced by Noam Chomsky as the term for formal grammar, grammar studied previously by Emil Post and Axel Thue (Post canonical systems). Some authors, however, reserve the term for more restricted ...
s augmented with additional operations such as
syntactic movement Syntactic movement is the means by which some theories of syntax address discontinuities. Movement was first postulated by structuralist linguists who expressed it in terms of ''discontinuous constituents'' or ''displacement''. Some constituen ...
. Their goal in analyzing a particular language is to specify rules which generate all and only the expressions which are well-formed in that language. In doing so, they seek to identify innate domain-specific principles of linguistic cognition, in line with the wider goals of the generative enterprise. Generative syntax is among the approaches that adopt the principle of the autonomy of syntax by assuming that meaning and communicative intent is determined by the syntax, rather than the other way around. Generative syntax was proposed in the late 1950s by
Noam Chomsky Avram Noam Chomsky (born December 7, 1928) is an American public intellectual: a linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist. Sometimes called "the father of modern linguistics", Chomsky is ...
, building on earlier work by
Zellig Harris Zellig Sabbettai Harris (; October 23, 1909 – May 22, 1992) was an influential American linguist Linguistics is the science, scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, system ...
,
Louis Hjelmslev Louis Trolle Hjelmslev (; 3 October 189930 May 1965) was a Denmark, Danish linguistics, linguist whose ideas formed the basis of the The Copenhagen school (Linguistics), Copenhagen School of linguistics. Born into an academic family (his father was ...
, and others. Since then, numerous theories have been proposed under its umbrella: *
Transformational grammar In linguistics, transformational grammar (TG) or transformational-generative grammar (TGG) is part of the theory of generative grammar, especially of natural languages. It considers grammar to be a system of rules that generate exactly those combin ...
(TG) (Original theory of generative syntax laid out by Chomsky in ''Syntactic Structures'' in 1957) *
Government and binding theory A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature A legislature is an deliberative as ...
(GB) (revised theory in the tradition of TG developed mainly by Chomsky in the 1970s and 1980s) *
Minimalist program In linguistics, the minimalist program is a major line of inquiry that has been developing inside generative grammar since the early 1990s, starting with a 1993 paper by Noam Chomsky. Following Imre Lakatos's distinction, Chomsky presents minima ...
(MP) (a reworking of the theory out of the GB framework published by Chomsky in 1995) Other theories that find their origin in the generative paradigm are: *
Arc pair grammar In linguistics, arc pair grammar (APG) is a theory of syntax that aims to formalize and expand upon relational grammar. It primarily builds upon the relational grammar concept of an arc, but also makes use of more formally stated ideas from model th ...
* Generalized phrase structure grammar (GPSG) *
Generative semantics Generative semantics was a research program in theoretical linguistics Theoretical linguistics is a term in linguistics which, like the related term general linguistics, can be understood in different ways. Both can be taken as a reference to ...
*
Head-driven phrase structure grammar Head-driven phrase structure grammar (HPSG) is a highly lexicalized, constraint-based grammar developed by Carl Pollard and Ivan Sag. It is a type of phrase structure grammar, as opposed to a dependency grammar, and it is the immediate successor to ...
(HPSG) * Lexical functional grammar (LFG) * Nanosyntax *
Relational grammar In linguistics, relational grammar (RG) is a syntactic theory which argues that primitive grammatical relations provide the ideal means to state syntactic rules in universal terms. Relational grammar began as an alternative to transformational gra ...
(RG) * Harmonic grammar (HG)


Cognitive and usage-based grammars

The Cognitive Linguistics framework stems from
generative grammar Generative grammar, or generativism , is a Theoretical linguistics, linguistic theory that regards linguistics as the study of a hypothesised linguistic nativism, innate grammatical structure. It is a Biology, biological or Biologism, biologist ...
but adheres to
evolutionary Evolution is change in the heritable Heredity, also called inheritance or biological inheritance, is the passing on of Phenotypic trait, traits from parents to their offspring; either through asexual reproduction or sexual reproductio ...
, rather than Chomskyan, linguistics. Cognitive models often recognise the generative assumption that the object belongs to the verb phrase. Cognitive frameworks include the following: *
Cognitive grammar Cognitive grammar is a Cognitive psychology, cognitive approach to language developed by Ronald Langacker, which hypothesizes that grammar, semantics, and lexicon exist on a continuum instead of as separate processes altogether. This approach to la ...
*
Construction grammar Construction grammar (often abbreviated CxG) is a family of theories within the field of cognitive linguistics which posit that constructions, or learned pairings of linguistic patterns with meanings, are the fundamental building blocks of human ...
(CxG) * Emergent grammar


See also

* Cartographic syntax * List of syntactic phenomena *
Metasyntax In logic Logic is the study of correct reasoning. It includes both Mathematical logic, formal and informal logic. Formal logic is the science of Validity (logic), deductively valid inferences or of logical truths. It is a formal science inve ...
* Musical syntax *
Semiotics Semiotics (also called semiotic studies) is the systematic study of sign processes (semiosis) and meaning making. Semiosis is any activity, conduct, or process that involves Sign (semiotics), signs, where a sign is defined as anything that commun ...
*
Syntactic category A syntactic category is a syntactic unit that theories of syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the study of how words and morphemes combine to form larger units such as phrases and sentence (linguistics), sentences. Central concerns of syntax in ...
* ''
Syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the study of how words and morphemes combine to form larger units such as phrases and sentence (linguistics), sentences. Central concerns of syntax include word order, grammatical relations, hierarchical sentence st ...
'' (
academic journal An academic journal or scholarly journal is a periodical publication in which Scholarly method, scholarship relating to a particular list of academic disciplines, academic discipline is published. Academic journals serve as permanent and transpar ...
) *
Syntax (programming languages) Internet, In computer science, the syntax of a computer language is the rules that defines the combinations of symbols that are considered to be correctly structured Statement (computer science), statements or Expression (computer science), expr ...
* Syntax–Semantics Interface *
Usage The usage of a language is the ways in which its written language, written and spoken language, spoken variations are routinely employed by its speakers; that is, it refers to "the collective habits of a language's native speakers", as opposed to ...


Syntactic terms

*
Adjective An adjective (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word that describes a noun or noun phrase. Its semantic role is to change information given by the noun. Traditionally, adjectives were considered one of the main part of speech, par ...
*
Adjective phrase An adjective phrase (or adjectival phrase) is a phrase whose Head (linguistics), head is an adjective. Almost any grammar or syntax textbook or dictionary of linguistics terminology defines the adjective phrase in a similar way, e.g. Kesner Bland (1 ...
* Adjunct *
Adpositional phrase An adpositional phrase, in linguistics, is a syntactic category that includes ''prepositional phrases'', ''postpositional phrases'', and ''circumpositional phrases''. Adpositional phrases contain an adposition (preposition, postposition, or circ ...
*
Adverb An adverb is a word or an expression that generally modifies a verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax generally conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or ...
* Anaphora *
Answer ellipsis Answer ellipsis (= answer fragments) is a type of ellipsis The ellipsis (, also known informally as dot dot dot) is a series of dots that indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering i ...
* Antecedent *
Antecedent-contained deletion Antecedent-contained deletion (ACD), also called antecedent-contained ellipsis, is a phenomenon whereby an ellipsis (linguistics), elided verb phrase appears to be contained within its own antecedent. For instance, in the sentence "I read every book ...
* Appositive *
Argument An argument is a statement or group of statements called premises intended to determine the degree of truth or acceptability of another statement called a conclusion. Arguments can be studied from three main perspectives: the logical, the dialect ...
* Article * Aspect *
Attributive adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and s ...
and
predicative adjective A predicative expression (or just predicative) is part of a clause In language, a clause is a Constituent (linguistics), constituent that comprises a semantic predicand (expressed or not) and a semantic Predicate (grammar), predicate. A typical ...
*
Auxiliary verb An auxiliary verb (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a verb that adds functional or grammatical meaning to the clause (linguistics), clause in which it occurs, so as to express grammatical tense, tense, Grammatical aspect, aspect, L ...
* Binding * Branching *
c-command In generative grammar Generative grammar, or generativism , is a Theoretical linguistics, linguistic theory that regards linguistics as the study of a hypothesised linguistic nativism, innate grammatical structure. It is a Biology, biological ...
*
Case Case or CASE may refer to: Containers * Case (goods) A case of some merchandise is a collection of items packaged together. A case is not a strict unit of measure. For consumer foodstuff such as canned goods, soft drink, soda, cereal, and suc ...
*
Category Category, plural categories, may refer to: Philosophy and general uses *Categorization, categories in cognitive science, information science and generally *Category of being *Categories (Aristotle), ''Categories'' (Aristotle) *Category (Kant) ...
*
Catena Catena (Latin for chain) or catenae (plural) may refer to: Science *Catena (fly), ''Catena'' (fly), a genus in the family Tachinidae *Catena (linguistics) is a unit of syntax and morphology, closely associated with dependency grammars *Catena (co ...
*
Clause In language, a clause is a Constituent (linguistics), constituent that comprises a semantic predicand (expressed or not) and a semantic Predicate (grammar), predicate. A typical clause consists of a subject (grammar), subject and a syntactic Pred ...
*
Closed class In grammar, a part of speech or part-of-speech (Abbreviation, abbreviated as POS or PoS, also known as word class or grammatical category) is a category of words (or, more generally, of lexical items) that have similar grammar, grammatical properti ...
word *
Comparative In general linguistics, the comparative is a syntactic construction that serves to express a comparison between two (or more) entities or groups of entities in quality or degree - see also comparison (grammar) for an overview of comparison, as wel ...
*
Complement A complement is something that completes something else. Complement may refer specifically to: The arts * Complement (music), an interval that, when added to another, spans an octave ** Complement (music)#Aggregate complementation, Aggregate c ...
* Compound noun and adjective * Conjugation * Conjunction *
Constituent Constituent or constituency may refer to: Politics * An individual voting, voter within an electoral district, state, community, or organization * Advocacy group or constituency * Constituent assembly * Constituencies of Namibia Other meanings * ...
*
Coordination Coordination may refer to: * Coordination (linguistics), a compound grammatical construction * Coordination complex, consisting of a central atom or ion and a surrounding array of bound molecules or ions * Coordination number or ligancy of a centr ...
*
Coreference In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and st ...
* Crossover * Dangling modifier *
Declension In linguistics, declension (verb: ''to decline'') is the changing of the form of a word, generally to express its syntactic function in the sentence, by way of some inflection. Declensions may apply to nouns, pronouns, adjectives, adverbs, and ar ...
*
Dependency grammar Dependency grammar (DG) is a class of modern Grammar, grammatical theories that are all based on the dependency relation (as opposed to the ''constituency relation'' of Phrase structure grammar, phrase structure) and that can be traced back prima ...
* Dependent marking *
Determiner A determiner, also called determinative (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ), is a word, phrase, or affix that occurs together with a noun or noun phrase and generally serves to express the reference of that noun or noun phrase in the ...
* Discontinuity *
Do-support ''Do''-support (or ''do''-insertion), in English grammar English grammar is the set of structural rules of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its ...
* Dual (form for two) *
Ellipsis The ellipsis (, also known informally as dot dot dot) is a series of dots that indicates an intentional omission of a word, sentence, or whole section from a text without altering its original meaning. The plural is ellipses. The term origin ...
* Endocentric * Exceptional case-marking * Expletive * Extraposition *
Finite verb Traditionally, a finite verb (from la, fīnītus, past participle of to put an end to, bound, limit) is the form "to which Grammatical number, number and Grammatical person, person appertain", in other words, those Morpheme, inflected for grammat ...
*
Function word In linguistics, function words (also called functors) are words that have little Lexical (semiotics), lexical Meaning (linguistic), meaning or have ambiguous meaning and express grammar, grammatical relationships among other words within a Sentence ...
*
Gapping In linguistics, gapping is a type of ellipsis (linguistics), ellipsis that occurs in the non-initial conjuncts of coordination (linguistics), coordinate structures. Gapping usually elides minimally a finite verb and further any non-finite verbs that ...
*
Gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to femininity and masculinity and differentiating between them. Depending on the context, this may include sex-based social structures (i.e. gender roles) and gender identity. Most cultures us ...
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Gerund In linguistics, a gerund ( list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is any of various nonfinite verb forms in various languages; most often, but not exclusively, one that functions as a noun. In English language, English, it has the properti ...
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Government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government ...
*
Head A head is the part of an organism which usually includes the ears, brain, forehead, cheeks, chin, eyes, nose, and mouth, each of which aid in various sensory functions such as visual perception, sight, hearing, olfaction, smell, and taste. Some ...
* Head marking *
Infinitive Infinitive (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a linguistics term for certain verb forms existing in many languages, most often used as non-finite verbs. As with many linguistic concepts, there is not a single definition applicable to ...
* Inverse copular construction * Inversion *
Lexical item In lexicography, a lexical item is a single word, a part of a word, or a chain of words (catena (linguistics), catena) that forms the basic elements of a language's lexicon (≈ vocabulary). Examples are ''cat'', ''traffic light'', ''take car ...
*
Logical form (linguistics) In generative grammar Generative grammar, or generativism , is a Theoretical linguistics, linguistic theory that regards linguistics as the study of a hypothesised linguistic nativism, innate grammatical structure. It is a Biology, biologica ...
* m-command *
Measure word In linguistics, measure words are words (or morphemes) that are used in combination with a numeral to indicate an amount of something represented by some noun. Description Measure words denote a unit or measurement and are used with mass nouns ( ...
(classifier) * Merge *
Modal particle In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and str ...
*
Modal verb A modal verb is a type of verb that contextually indicates a Modality (natural language), modality such as a ''likelihood'', ''ability'', ''permission'', ''request'', ''capacity'', ''suggestion'', ''order'', ''obligation'', or ''advice''. Modal ver ...
* Modifier * Mood * Movement * Movement paradox * Nanosyntax *
Negative inversion In linguistics, negative inversion is one of many types of subject–auxiliary inversion Subject–auxiliary inversion (SAI; also called subject–operator inversion) is a frequently occurring type of inversion (linguistics), inversion in English ...
*
Non-configurational language In generative grammar, non-configurational languages are languages characterized by a flat phrase structure, which allows syntactically discontinuous expressions, and a relatively free word order. History of the concept of "non-configurationality" ...
*
Non-finite verb A nonfinite verb is a Morphological derivation, derivative form of a verb unlike Finite verb, finite verbs. Accordingly, nonfinite verb forms are Morpheme, inflected for neither grammatical number, number nor grammatical person, person, and they ca ...
*
Noun A noun () is a word that generally functions as the name of a specific object or set of objects, such as living creatures, places, actions, qualities, states of existence, or ideas.Example nouns for: * Organism, Living creatures (including people ...
* Noun ellipsis *
Noun phrase In linguistics, a noun phrase, or nominal (phrase), is a phrase that has a noun or pronoun as its head (linguistics), head or performs the same Grammar, grammatical function as a noun. Noun phrases are very common linguistic typology, cross-lingui ...
*
Number A number is a mathematical object used to count, measure, and label. The original examples are the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, and so forth. Numbers can be represented in language with number words. More universally, individual numbers can ...
*
Object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy) An object is a philosophy, philosophical term often used in contrast to the term ''Subject (philosophy), subject''. A subject is an observer and an object is a thing observed. For mo ...
*
Open class word In grammar In linguistics, the grammar of a natural language is its set of structure, structural constraints on speakers' or writers' composition of clause (linguistics), clauses, phrases, and words. The term can also refer to the study of suc ...
* Parasitic gap *
Part of speech In grammar, a part of speech or part-of-speech (Abbreviation, abbreviated as POS or PoS, also known as word class or grammatical category) is a category of words (or, more generally, of lexical items) that have similar grammar, grammatical properti ...
*
Particle In the Outline of physical science, physical sciences, a particle (or corpuscule in older texts) is a small wikt:local, localized physical body, object which can be described by several physical property, physical or chemical property, chemical ...
*
Periphrasis In linguistics, periphrasis () is the use of one or more function words to express meaning that otherwise may be expressed by attaching an affix or clitic to a content word, word. The resulting phrase includes two or more Collocation, collocated ...
*
Person A person (plural, : people) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established form of social relations such as kinship, ownership of pr ...
*
Personal pronoun Personal pronouns are pronouns that are associated primarily with a particular grammatical person – first person (as ''I''), second person (as ''you''), or third person (as ''he'', ''she'', ''it'', ''they''). Personal pronouns may also take dif ...
*
Pied-piping In linguistics, pied-piping is a phenomenon of syntax whereby a given focused expression brings along an encompassing phrase with it when it is moved. The term was introduced by John Robert Ross in 1967. It references the legend of the Pied Pipe ...
*
Phrasal verb In the traditional grammar of Modern English, a phrasal verb typically constitutes a single semantic unit composed of a verb followed by a Grammatical particle, particle (examples: ''turn down'', ''run into'' or ''sit up''), sometimes combined w ...
*
Phrase In syntax and grammar, a phrase is a group of words or singular word acting as a grammatical unit. For instance, the English language, English expression "the very happy squirrel" is a noun phrase which contains the adjective phrase "very happy". ...
*
Phrase structure grammar The term phrase structure grammar was originally introduced by Noam Chomsky as the term for formal grammar, grammar studied previously by Emil Post and Axel Thue (Post canonical systems). Some authors, however, reserve the term for more restricted ...
*
Plural The plural (sometimes list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated pl., pl, or ), in many languages, is one of the values of the grammatical number, grammatical category of number. The plural of a noun typically denotes a quantity greater than the ...
*
Predicate Predicate or predication may refer to: * Predicate (grammar), in linguistics * Predication (philosophy) * several closely related uses in mathematics and formal logic: **Predicate (mathematical logic) **Propositional function **Finitary relation, o ...
*
Predicative expression A predicative expression (or just predicative) is part of a clause predicate (grammar), predicate, and is an expression that typically follows a Copula (linguistics), copula (or linking verb), e.g. ''be'', ''seem'', ''appear'', or that appears as a ...
*
Preposition and postposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in traditional grammar, simply prepositions), are a class of words used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various ...
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Pronoun In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word or a group of words that one may substitute for a noun or noun phrase. Pronouns have traditionally been regarded as one of the part of speech, parts o ...
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Pseudogapping Pseudogapping is an ellipsis (linguistics), ellipsis mechanism that elides most but not all of a non-finite verb, non-finite verb phrase; at least one part of the verb phrase remains, which is called the ''remnant''. Pseudogapping occurs in comparat ...
* Raising * Grammatical relation * Restrictiveness * Right node raising *
Sandhi Sandhi ( sa, wikt:सन्धि#Sanskrit, सन्धि ' , "joining") is a cover term for a wide variety of phonology, sound changes that occur at morpheme or word boundaries. Examples include fusion of sounds across word boundaries and the ...
*
Scrambling Scrambling is a mountaineering term for ascending steep terrain using one's hands to assist in holds and balance.''New Oxford American Dictionary''. It is also used to describe terrain that falls between hiking and climbing, rock climbing (as a ...
*
Selection Selection may refer to: Science * Selection (biology) Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype. It is a key mechanism of evolution, the change in the Heredity, her ...
* Sentence *
Separable verb A separable verb is a verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax generally conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''st ...
* Shifting *
Singular Singular may refer to: * Singular, the grammatical number that denotes a unit quantity, as opposed to the plural and other forms * Singular homology * SINGULAR, an open source Computer Algebra System (CAS) * Singular or sounder, a group of boar, s ...
*
Sluicing In syntax, sluicing is a type of Ellipsis (linguistics), ellipsis that occurs in both direct and indirect interrogative clauses. The ellipsis is introduced by a ''wh''-expression, whereby in most cases, everything except the ''wh''-expression is e ...
*
Small clause In linguistics, a small clause consists of a subject and its predicate Predicate or predication may refer to: * Predicate (grammar), in linguistics * Predication (philosophy) * several closely related uses in mathematics and formal logic: **Predica ...
* Stripping *
Subcategorization In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and ...
* Subject * Subject-auxiliary inversion * Subject-verb inversion * Subordination *
Superlative Comparison is a feature in the morphology (linguistics), morphology or syntax (linguistics), syntax of some languages whereby adjectives and adverbs are inflection, inflected to indicate the relative degree of the property they define exhibited b ...
* Tense *
Topicalization Topicalization is a mechanism of syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the study of how words and morphemes combine to form larger units such as phrases and sentence (linguistics), sentences. Central concerns of syntax include word order, gramm ...
* Tough movement *
Uninflected word In morphology (linguistics), linguistic morphology, an uninflected word is a word that has no morphological marker (linguistics), markers (inflection) such as affixes, ablaut, consonant gradation, etc., indicating declension or grammatical conjug ...
*
V2 word order In syntax, verb-second (V2) word order is a sentence structure in which the finite verb of a sentence or a clause is placed in the clause's second position, so that the verb is preceded by a single word or group of words (a single Constituent ( ...
* Valency *
Verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax generally conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual descrip ...
*
Verb phrase In linguistics, a verb phrase (VP) is a syntax, syntactic unit composed of a verb and its argument (linguistics), arguments except the subject (grammar), subject of an independent clause or coordinate clause. Thus, in the sentence ''A fat man quic ...
*
Verb phrase ellipsis In linguistics, verb phrase ellipsis (VP-ellipsis or VPE) is a type of elliptical construction and a type of Anaphora (linguistics), anaphora in which a verb phrase has been left out (elided) provided that its Antecedent (grammar), antecedent can b ...
*
Voice The human voice consists of sound Voice production, made by a human being using the vocal tract, including Speech, talking, singing, Laughter, laughing, crying, screaming, shouting, humming or yelling. The human voice frequency is specifically ...
*
Wh-movement In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and st ...
*
Word order In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspects of language, particularly its nature and ...
*
X-bar theory In linguistics, X-bar theory is a model of phrase-structure grammar and a theory of syntactic category formation that was first proposed by Noam Chomsky in 1970Chomsky, Noam (1970). Remarks on Nominalization. In: R. Jacobs and P. Rosenbaum (eds.) ...


References


Citations


Sources

* * * * * An interdisciplinary essay on the interplay between logic and linguistics on syntactic theories. *


Further reading

* 5 Volumes; 77 case studies of syntactic phenomena. * * Attempts to be a theory-neutral introduction. The companion surveys the major theories. Jointly reviewed in * * part II: Computational approaches to syntax.


External links


The syntax of natural language: An online introduction using the Trees program
eatrice Santorini & Anthony Kroch,
University of Pennsylvania The University of Pennsylvania (also known as Penn or UPenn) is a Private university, private research university in Philadelphia. It is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and is ranked among the highest- ...
, 2007 {{Authority control Grammar Language Branches of linguistics Philosophy of language Semiotics +