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Immediate Constituent Analysis (IC)


Criteria for singling out parts of the sentence:

- semantic (general meaning)

- morphological (grammatical form – part of speech)

- syntactical connection and position


Subject. Main syntactic function. Not dependent on any other part of the sentence. Marked morphologically and positionally (initial). Semantic role – agent.

Semantic types of Subject:

- definite (Fleur smiled; Loving is forgiving)

- indefinite (you never can tell; they say; one cannot be…)

- dummy (it was rather cold; there were no seats)


Predicate. Central role in English. Main syntactic function. Action, progress, state. Verb/link verb + predicative. Linked to the subject through agreement. Determines the number and kind of obligatory complements (sometimes no complements). Position depends on the communicative type of the sentence.

Types of predicate:

- simple

- compound (nominal, modal, aspective)

- mixed types (it must be a bomb!; he was to become a doctor; you must stop doing nothing!)

- double predicate (the 1st part is always notional, the 2nd – nominal: he came home tired)

Link verbs: be, get, become, feel, taste, smell.

She took a glance; he made a mistake – phraseological units (can’t separate them).


Object. A secondary syntactic function. A thing or state of affairs which is affected by the event denoted by the verb.

Types of Object:

- direct (I read a book)

- indirect (I read him a book; I read a book to him)

- prepositional (I am confident of it)


Attribute. A secondary syntactic function. Modifies a nominal head. Characterize, qualify, identify persons or things.


Apposition (๏๐่๋๎ๆๅํ่ๅ). Optional constituent of a noun phrase which agrees referentially with the nominal head (Aunt Polly; Oxford University; Philipp, my best friend). Typically nouns. Additional characteristics, specification.


Adverbial modifier. A secondary syntactic function. Characteristics of the action, circumstances. Optional element of the sentence.

Semantic types of Adverbial Modifiers:

- time

- place

- manner

- attending circumstances

- degree and measure (she felt extremely nervous)

- reason (we stopped because of being tired)

- purpose (the room was used for dancing)

- condition (if found, the secret will be publicized)

- result (he is too old to be elected)

- concession (though a grandmother, she didn’t look old)

- unexpected circumstances (he went to Africa to die there)


Independent parts of the sentence:

- addressing (doctor; mum)

- interjection



Complex parts of the sentence:

- complex subject (He was known to have been there)

- complex object (I saw her enter the house)

- complex attribute (This is a book for you to read)


Theory of the three ranks (Otto Jespersen 1937)

Extremely hot weather:

Weather – primary. Hot – secondary. Extremely – tertiary.


Immediate Constituent Analysis (IC)

Leonard Bloomfield. Aimed to analyse a linguistic expression into a hierarchically defined series of constituents. If the complex expression is movable or can be replaced in the sentence by a simple expression, it counts as a constituent. The most basic principle of transformational grammar.


Actual division of the sentence (functional sentence perspective). Prague school.

- communicative structure of the sentence

- informative prospective of the sentence

- informational structure of the sentence

Theme and rheme.

Habit is a second nature (habit – theme, a second nature – rheme).

Theme – (the basis) the starting point of communication, usually contains some old, already known information (topic, given).

Rheme – (the nucleus) the basic informative part of the sentence, its contextually relevant communicative centre, the peak of communication, or the information reported about the rheme; it ususally contains some new information (comment, focus).

How to find the rheme?

- intonation, logical stress

- contrast

- special question

A secondary rheme: there is a pond in the garden.

The rheme is the obligatory informative component of a sentence.

There may be sentences which include only the rheme; the theme and the transition are optional (Who sang the song? – Caroline).

Theme – logical subject; rheme – logical predicate.


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1048

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