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Syntactic Modelling of the Sentence

Without comprehending what a basic model is we cannot understand the computer-like ability of our brain which can create sentences that have never been heard before and process sentences that we read and hear so that we can understand them. Modelling implies representing infinite living structures as a finite set of basic structures, of models (The sun shines. He is clever. There is a book on the table, etc.).

The notion of a basic structure is termed variously: a skeleton, a model, a naked sentence, the nucleus of a sentence, a pattern, an elementary sentence, a kernel, a sentence situation, a deep structure, a proposition, etc. No matter how it is termed, it is the simplest unextended predicative minimum, an ultimately abstract scheme. The basic structure is analysed differently: in terms of the main parts of a sentence (subject and predicate), in terms of classes of words ( a noun and a verb), in terms of predicates, arguments and deep cases ( agentive, instrumental, locative, beneficiary, etc.).

The number of basic structures varies from one linguistic school to another. Descriptivists hold that there are from 3 to 7 sentence situations; transformationalists distinguish 7 kernels; prof. G.G. Pocheptsov distinguishes 39 kernels.

It all depends upon the criteria, scholars proceed from, to minimise basic structures. Descriptivists proceed from structure disregarding meaning; they do not discriminate between two identical structures: Father gave Mary money. Tom painted the fence white. The former transparently has two objects, while the latter carries an implicit predication which is revealed transformationally: Tom painted the fence so that it became white. According to transformationalists, “Tom painted the fence white” is not a basic structure. They advanced the notion of a kernel which underlies more complicated structures. They distinguished 7 kernels: The sun shines. I have a car. I read a book. He gives me a book. He is clever. He is a poet. There is a book on the table.

All possible grammatical structures are derivations of kernels, received by addition, substitution, deletion, embedding , recategorization (verbalization, nominalization).

Traditional grammar advanced the notion of a naked sentence which anticipated modern theories. From a naked sentence more extended structures can be received by means of syntactic processes (extension, expansion, modification, completion, contamination, ellipsis).

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<== попередня сторінка | наступна сторінка ==>
The Definition of a Sentence | Semantic Modelling of the Sentence

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