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Warming up discussion

List the features typical of written and spoken language grammar

Written language grammar Spoken language grammar


Approaches to grammar of speech

There are two major approaches to understanding grammar of speech: immediate constituent grammar (implies that the sentence exists as a ready-made structure) and finite state grammar (implies that the sentence is being constructed in the process of speech production).


Major assumptions of immediate constituents grammar are that sentences are made up of elements called “immediate constituents” (Bloomfield, 1933), that immediate constituents are in the hierarchy of relations and each lower-level constituent (Nonw Phrase or Verb Phrase) is part of a higher-level constituent (Sentence). Graphical representation of immediate constituents is the tree diagram (Lyons, 1968)




Poor John ran away

A more dynamic approach is given in the finite state grammar.Finite state grammar mechanism includes choice of the first element of the sentence, considerations of the bans on further steps, implementation of further steps towards the Target State and achievement of the Target State (D.Brazil.1995). Finite state grammar process is shown by the graph:

Element production
Prediction of the next steps

Next step production






There can be a number of changes made during sentence construction:

· A chain can be abandoned and a new one begins (re-planning). E.g. I have … I did it the other day.

· An element can be repeated, as the whole chain might have not been planned successfully at all (winning the time). E.g. I am trying … trying to …

· Speakers can backtrack to insert or alter material (false start). E.g. I saw … He saw me…

· Speakers can substitute one element for another (self-correction). E.g. He and the group does … do not …

· Speakers can stop the chain to insert an element and to continue towards the Target State (suspension). E.g. My plan … to overcome the enemy … and to overpower the defenses … should work well.

· Speakers can introduce interactional elements to soften conversation (interaction). E.g. The teacher … you know … is that sort of a person … if you know what I mean …

· Speakers can drop certain sentence elements, which are clear from the situation (ellipsis). E.g. Will write to you more soon.


The types of on-line amendments are shown on the graph

  Winning the time  
Initial State False starts Target State


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 537

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