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1 - Grammar

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Andrew Radford
Affiliation:
University of Essex
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Summary

Overview

In broad terms, this book is concerned with aspects of grammar. Grammar is traditionally subdivided into two different but interrelated areas of study – morphology and syntax. Morphology is the study of how words are formed out of smaller units (called morphemes), and so addresses questions such as ‘What are the component morphemes of a word like antidisestablishmentarianism, and what is the nature of the morphological operations by which they are combined together to form the overall word?’ Syntax is the study of the way in which phrases and sentences are structured out of words, and so addresses questions like ‘What is the structure of a sentence like What's the president doing? and what is the nature of the grammatical operations by which its component words are combined together to form the overall sentence structure?’ In this chapter, we begin (in §1.2) by taking a brief look at the approach to the study of syntax taken in traditional grammar: this also provides an opportunity to introduce some useful grammatical terminology. In the remainder of the chapter, we look at the approach to syntax adopted within the theory of Universal Grammar developed by Chomsky.

Traditional grammar

Within traditional grammar, the syntax of a language is described in terms of a taxonomy (i.e. classificatory list) of the range of different types of syntactic structures found in the language. The central assumption underpinning syntactic analysis in traditional grammar is that phrases and sentences are built up of a series of constituents (i.e.

Type
Chapter
Information
Minimalist Syntax
Exploring the Structure of English
, pp. 1 - 32
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2004

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  • Grammar
  • Andrew Radford, University of Essex
  • Book: Minimalist Syntax
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511811319.002
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  • Grammar
  • Andrew Radford, University of Essex
  • Book: Minimalist Syntax
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511811319.002
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Grammar
  • Andrew Radford, University of Essex
  • Book: Minimalist Syntax
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511811319.002
Available formats
×