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SIMPLE SENTENCE: PARADIGMATIC STRUCTURE

Traditionally, the sentence was studied only syntagmatically, as a string of constituent parts fulfilling the corresponding syntactic functions. F. de Saussure stressed the fact that paradigmatics is quite natural for morphology, while syntax should be studied primarily as the linear connections of words. Still, some systemic relations between syntactic structures were traditionally described derivationally to reveal the functional semantics of the sentence; for example, interrogative and imperative sentence structures were described as derived from declarative ones; negative sentences were described as derived from affirmative ones; emotionally loaded sentences were described as derived from those emotionally neutral, etc. These and other systemic connections between sentences were intuitively used in language teaching for a long time, though they were formulated in terms of classifications.

Regular paradigmatic description of syntax started in the middle of the 20th century in the wake of the transformational grammar theory of N. Chomsky, who, as was mentioned before, distinguished deep and surface levels of syntactic structures, transformationally connected with each other. Today it is obvious that the functional meanings of sentences make up syntactic categories, represented by the oppositions of paradigmatically correlated sentence patterns. Studying these oppositions on the analogy of morphological paradigms we can distinguish formal marks and individual grammatical meanings of paradigmatically opposed sentence patterns.

In order to speak about sentence patterns opposed in syntactic paradigms in accord with their differential features, it is necessary to single out the initial basic element of syntactic derivation, the “sentence-root”, which undergoes various transformations and serves as the basis for identifying syntactic categorial oppositions. This element is known under different names: “the basic syntactic pattern”, “the elementary sentence model”, “the base sentence”, or “the kernel sentence”. Structurally, the kernel sentence coincides with the elementary sentence, organized by the obligatory valencies of the predicate verb, e.g.: Mary put the book on the table.

The derivation of genuine sentences in “surface” speech out of kernel sentences in “deep” speech can be analyzed as a process consisting of elementary transformational steps, or syntactic derivational procedures. These include: morphological arrangement of the sentence parts expressing syntactically relevant categories, primarily the morphological changes of the finite form of the verb performing the function of the predicate (tense, aspect, voice, and mood), e.g.: Mary put the book on the table à Mary would have put the book on the table…; the use of functional words(functional expansion), which transform syntactic constructions the same way grammatical morphemes transform words, e.g.: Mary put the book on the table. à Did Mary put the book on the table?; the process of substitution, including the use of personal, demonstrative and indefinite pronouns and of various substitutive half-notional words, e.g.: Mary put the book on the table. à Mary put it on the table; deletion, i.e. elimination of some elements in various contextual conditions, e.g.: Put the book on the table!; the process of positional arrangement, involving changes of the word order, e.g.: Mary put the book on the table. à On the table Mary put the book; the process of intonational arrangement, i.e. application of various functional tones and accents, e.g.: Mary put the book on the table. à Mary put the book on the table?(!)



All these procedures are functionally relevant: they serve as markers of syntactically meaningful dynamic features of the sentence. These derivational steps may be employed either alone or in combination with each other; for example, the pronominal question Where did Mary put the book? can be described as the transform of the kernel sentence Mary put the book on the table, derived with the help of a special functional word (the auxiliary verb did), substitution (the interrogative substitutive adverb where), and the use of special positional and intonational arrangement.

Derivational relations in the paradigmatic system of sentences are of two types: “constructional” relations, connected with the formation of more complex syntactic structures out of simpler ones, and predicative” relations, connected with expression of the predicative semantics of the sentence.

In the constructional system of syntactic paradigmatics, kernel sentences and expanded base sentences are transformed into clauses and phrases. The transformation of a base sentence into a clause can be called “clausalization”; it changes a sentence into a clause in the process of the subordinative or coordinative combination of sentences. The main transformational procedure of clausalization is the use of conjunctive words; in addition, the change of the word order, the change of intonational arrangement, deletion, substitution and other derivational procedures may be involved. Cf.: The team won. + It caused a sensation.à The team won and it caused a sensation; When the team won, it caused a sensation.

The transformation of a base sentence into a phrase can be called “phrasalization”; it changes the sentence into a phrase in the process of building the syntactic constructions of various degrees of complexity: expanded simple sentences or semi-composite sentences. Phrasalization may be of several types; one of them, nominalization, i.e. the transformation of a sentence into a nominal phrase, has already been mentioned; by complete nominalization the kernel sentence is changed into a regular noun phrase and is completely deprived of its predicative semantics, e.g.: The team won. à the team’s victory; The weather changed. à the change of the weather; by partial nominalization the sentence is changed into a semi-predicative gerundial or infinitive phrase and is deprived of part of its predicative semantics, e.g.: the team’s winning; for the team to win; the weather changing. These situation-naming constructions differ semantically, as more dynamic or more static, in accord with different types of processual representation (see Unit 11). The other types of phrasalization include transformations of kernel sentences into various participial and infinitive constructions, which make up the semi-clauses of complex objects, adverbial constructions, and some other semi-predicative constructions, e.g.: Having won, the team caused a sensation.

The formation of more complex clausal structures out of simpler ones involves two base sentences and resembles the process of a compound word being built on the base of two stems (cf.: to fall + water à a waterfall, an aircraft + to carry à an aircraft-carrier), e.g.: The team won. + It caused a sensation.à The team won and it caused a sensation; When the team won, it caused a sensation; Having won, the team caused a sensation; The team’s winning caused a sensation; The victory of the team caused a sensation; etc.

In the predicative system of syntactic paradigmatics, a kernel sentence undergoes transformations connected with the expression of predicative syntactic semantics. Predicative functions, expressed by primary sentence patterns, can be subdivided into “lower” and “higher”. Lower functions include the expression of such morphological categories as tense and aspect; these are of “factual”, “truth-stating” semantic character. Higher predicative functions are “evaluative”; they are expressed by syntactic categorial oppositions, which make up the following syntactic categories: the category of communicative purpose, or rather two communicative sub-categories: the first sub-category, in which question is opposed to statement, cf..: Mary put the book on the table. – Did Mary put the book on the table?; and the second sub-category, in which statement is opposed to inducement, e.g.: Mary put the book on the table. – Mary, put the book on the table; the category of existence quality (affirmation and negation), in which affirmation is opposed to negation, cf.: Mary put the book on the table. – Mary didn’t put the book on the table; the category of realization, in which unreality is opposed to reality, cf.: Mary put the book on the table. – Mary would have put the book on the table…; the category of probability, in which probability is opposed to fact, cf.: Mary put the book on the table. – Mary might put he book on the table; the category of modal identity, in which modal identity is opposed to fact, cf.: Mary put the book on the table. – Mary happened to put the book on the table; the category of subjective modality, in which modal subject-action relation is opposed to fact, cf.: Mary put the book on the table. – Mary must put the book on the table; the category of subject-action relations, in which specified actual subject-action relation is opposed to fact, cf.: Mary put the book on the table. – Mary tried to put the book on the table; the category of phase, in which phase of action is opposed to fact, cf.: Mary put the book on the table. – Mary started putting her book on the table (though I asked her not to); the category of subject-object relations, in which passive action is opposed to active action, cf.: Mary put the book on the table. – The book was put on the table by Mary; the category of informative perspective, in which specialized, reverse actual division is opposed to non-specialized, direct actual division, cf.: Mary put the book on the table. – It was Mary who put the book on the table; the category of (emotional) intensity, in which emphasis (emotiveness) is opposed to emotional neutrality, cf.: Mary put the book on the table. – Mary did put the book on the table!

It is important, that syntactic derivation should no be understood as an immediate change of one sentence into another: the primary sentences, presented above as examples, do not form the immediate paradigmatic series. The total system of all the pattern-forms of one sentence base, which make up its general syntactic paradigm of predicative functions, is extremely complicated; for example, within the framework of the question – statement opposition, pronominal and alternative questions are identified, each of them including a set of varieties; the same applies to all the other syntactic oppositions.

All the categories enumerated here may or may not be represented in an utterance by their strong function members. The total volume of the strong members of predicative oppositions actually represented in a sentence can be defined as its “predicative load”. The kernel sentence, which is characterized in oppositional terms as non-interrogative, non-imperative, non-negative, non-modal-identifying, etc., can be treated as predicatively “non-loaded” (has a “zero predicative load”); sentences with the most typical predicative loads of one or two positive feature expressed can be treated as “lightly” loaded; sentences with intricate predicative semantics of more than two positive predicative features (normally, no more than six) are “heavily” loaded. For example, the sentence Why on earth has Mary failed to put my book back on the table?! can be described as expressing positive predicative semantics of interrogations, subject-action relations and intensity; its predicative load is “heavy”.

 


Date: 2015-02-03; view: 1802


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