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Summary of Linguistic Syntax Tree Diagram:
Languages have rules. The rules of a language are called the grammar. The reason for these rules is that a person needs to be able to speak an indeterminately large number of sentences in a lifetime. The effort would be impossibly great if each sentence had to be learnt separately. By learning the rules for connecting words, it is possible to create an infinite number of sentences, all of which are meaningful to a person who knows the syntax. Thus it is possible to construct many sentences that the speaker has never heard before. Yule (2010) defines syntax as:
Syntax concerns the way that words are arranged into larger units. That is, words are the basic units—the building blocks—of syntactic analysis. The largest unit that syntactic analysis usually considers is the sentence. For this reason, syntax is often equated with the study of sentence structure.
Trask (1999) highlights the importance of syntax in these words: “The study of syntax became vastly more prominent than formerly; still today, many linguists of a Chomskyan persuasion see syntax as the very core of language structure”.
A finite number of rules facilitate an infinite number of sentences that can be simultaneously understood by both the speaker and the listener. In order for this to work with any degree of success, the rules have to be precise and have to be consistently adhered to. The grammar of a language has several components.
These can be described as follows
- The phonetics that governs the structure of sounds
- The morphology that governs the structure of words
- The syntax, which governs the structure of sentences
- The semantics that governs the meanings of words and sentences.
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