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PROBLEMS OF SENTENCE-PARADIGM

Problems of syntactic paradigmatics figure quite prominently in linguistic studies of recent years. Accurate studies of sentence paradigms in the theory of English structure have not yet been made and much remains to be done before complete data in this part of English syntax are available.

A major linguistic interest is presented by the treatment of the problem in modern Russian Syntax2.

By "sentence-paradigm" we mean the system of its forms.

Thus, for instance, the paradigm of a simple kernel sentence may be identified in terms of modal and time relations as expressed by its major patterns.

D.

Worth makes distinction between inflectional and derivational syntactic paradigms, which is not devoid of logical foundations.

The simplest case of an inflectional paradigm may be illustrated by variations of one category in a given pattern, e. g. the category of numberand person in the subject and in the object; the category of mood, tense, number, person in the predicate, and sometimes in both subject and predicate.

By way of illustration:

The distribution of these forms is known to be governed by a type of correlation with the subject called concord. Concord may be defined as the complementary distribution of linguistic forms having the same syntactic function in systematic correlation with other formally distinct forms with which they are syntactically linked.

Concord is certainly not so prominent in the structure of English as it is in some other languages, but it occasionally becomes important in dealing with persons of verbs. Thus, for instance, the third-singular person is used whenever a simple verb in the head-verb is a predicate whose subject is one of the following:

(1) a noun for which he, she, or it may be substituted;

(2) one of the pronouns he, she or it;

(3) the demonstrative pronouns: this or that;

(4) a structure of modification of which one of the above is head;

(5) any other part of speech beside a noun, or a structure of modification or complementation with such part of speech as head or verbal element, e.

g.: Too much knowledge makes the head bold. Playing with fire is dangerous;

(6) one of certain special predication structures: the included clause and the infinitival clause, e. g.: What you say is true. To see is to believe;

(7) a structure of coordination in which the coordinator is or, nor, (n)either... (n)or, or not (only)... but (also) and in which the last coordinate element belongs to (1) — (6) above; also one of certain other special structures of coordination 1.

On this level of analysis the starting point must naturally be the simplest two-member declarative sentence with the subject in the sin-

1 See: W. N. Francis. The Structure of American English. New York, 1958. 176gular and the predicate expressed by the verb-form of the Present Tense (Common Aspect), Indicative Mood, Active Voice.

Transformations of this kernel simple two-member declarative sentence may be paradigmatically represented as follows:

The child plays

The child does The child Does the Who Who does How the play does not child plays? not play? child play play? plays!

The given pattern may be transformed into: a) an attributive adjunct and b) a structure of secondary predication.

(a) the playing of the child the child's play

the play of the child The child plays the playing child

the child's playing

(b) for the child to play the child playing with the child playing

The sentence is a complex syntactic unit and as such it can enter a number of syntactic paradigms build up on similarity and differentiation of the sentences. All the syntactic paradigms of the sentence make up its "hyperparadigm".1

Problems of sentence-patterning have received increasing attention in syntactic studies of recent years.

Important treatments have been made with a view to describe the syntactic system of a language as a closed inventory of the basic structural sentence-patterns and give a survey of the regularities in their possible expansion and reduction.

With the diversity of view-points within descriptive linguistics it is not surprising that grammarians differ in their assumptions and methods of such analysis.

For the most part there is a considerable variation in defining the principal types of sentences as finite in number.

In the words of H. Stageberg, for instance, there are basically 9 major types of sentences; J. Hook, E. Mathews in Modern American Grammar and Usage give basically only five major patterns which over ninety per cent of present-day sentences follow. The five patterns described in this grammar are determined only by the position of the major components of a sentence. If the position of one of major components is altered, the sentence follows a minor, rather than a major pattern.

The five major patterns are:

Major Pattern I: Subject and Verb

Women applauded.

Major Pattern II: Subject — Verb — Object

We ate hamburgers.

1 See: D. Worth. The Role of Transformations in the Definition of Syntagmas in Russian and Other Slavic Languages. The Hague, 1963.

177Major Pattern III: Subject —Verb — Predicate Nominative

Husbands are nice.

Major Pattern IV: Subject — Verb — Predicate Adjective

Helen is beautiful.

Major Pattern V: Expletive — Verb — Predicate Adjective — Subject There were traitors in their midst. It is easy to swim. It remained for me to concur. It's (or there's) no use crying over spilled milk.

All the above given structural patterns may naturally be expanded by adding to either the subject or the verb other words called 'modifiers':

Addition of one-word modifiers:

Several women applauded politely.

Addition of phrase modifiers:

The women standing in the aisles applauded with vigour.

Addition of dependent clauses in the complex sentence:

The women who were standing in the aisles applauded when the presiding officer asked for more chairs.

Duplication of the pattern — the compound sentence:

Women applauded and men grinned.

Duplication plus dependent clause — the compound-complex sentence:

When the presiding officer asked for more chairs many women in the aisles applauded and several men grinned sleepishly.

In Whitehall's Structural Essentials of English1 the principal types of sentences are shown as based on a more limited number of types of word-groups referred to as sentence situations.

The simplest form of the sentence — that which consists simply of subject and of verb or verb-group predicate goes here by the name

Sentence Situation I:

He cried.

Boys yell.

What he had attempted had failed.

All the good men were fighting.

To sing such song as this could help.

Sentence Situation II (V — Complement):

The matter slipped his memory.

It was raining cats and dogs.

Sentence Situation III — a sentence with two complements:

The reporter gave the lady a present.

Tom Sawyer painted the fence white.

We found the house broken down.

The captain had wanted his aide to examine the matter.

1 See: H. Whitehall. Structural Essentials of English. New York, 1956.

178In transformational grammar kernel sentences are also given with a different degree of generalisation: 7 types of kernel sentences in L. S. Harris' Co-occurrence and Transformation in Linguistic Structure and 3 types — in B. Hathaway's Transformational Syntax.

There are basically six major structural patterns well identified in terms of sentence elements, their function and position, in «Структурный синтаксис английского языка» edited by L. L. Iofik:

1. SP: The bird sings.

2. SPc Comps: He is a boy/young.

3. SPO1: The hunter killed the bear.

4. SPO2O1 Albert gave him a book.

5. SPO1Comp0: He painted the door white.

6. There PS: There is a book on the table.

More extensive and accurate is the tabulated survey of different types of kernel sentences given by G. G. Pocheptsov1.

Based on certain assumptions about the kinds of processes that exist in language and the manner in which they correlate this survey presents a major linguistic interest.

It should be clear, however that the description of English structures that has been and is being developed by different scholars in accordance with the new approaches and "dimensions" of language cannot be regarded as a closed fixed system. There is an enormous amount to be learned concerning the nature of language in general and the structure of English in particular.

That the basic patterns of English sentences fall into a limited number of types and can be classified according to the form of the predicate seems to have been first pointed out by С. Т. О n і о n s 2 at the beginning of this century.

In his tabulated survey he gives five basic patterns, each taking its characteristic form from the structure of the predicate:

First Form of the Predicate

Subject Predicate
Day dawns.
The shades of night were falling.
Second Form of the Predicate

Subject

Predicate
(verb + predicative adjective or predicative noun or predicative pronoun)
Croesus was rich or a king.
Thought is free.
Seeing is believing.
The meeting stands adjourned.
We are getting ready.

1 See: Г. Г. Почепцов. Конструктивный анализ структуры предложения.

2 See: С.Т. Onions. An Advanced English Syntax. London, 1932.

179 Third Form of the Predicate

Subject Predicate Object Many hands make light work. Nobody wishes to know.

Fourth Form of the Predicate

Subject Predicate

(verb + two objects) We taught the dog tricks.

1 ask you this question.

Fifth Form of the Predicate

Subject Predicate

(verb + object + predicative adjective or predicative noun)

They elected him consul.

He thought himself a happy man.

The thought drove him mad.

Linguistic research in syntactic paradigmatics is still in its beginning.

There is no lack of promising directions for further study along these lines.

It seems beyond question that language patterns must be observed in their internal composition inasmuch as it correlates with different kinds of usage.

The relational framework of language is built up on similarity and contrasts of its structural elements.

The asymmetric dualism of the linguistic sign, which is most obvious in functional morphology, merits consideration in syntactic structures.

An adequate description of sentence patterns must account for various important relations between sentences and types :of their construction.

Some overtly parallel sentences are identical at their face value but differ in their sense-structure.

Thus, for instance, the basic pattern S → Vinf can sometimes be understood in a certain way parallel to other sentences of a different structure, e. g.:

He paints a) act of painting;

b) quality, occupation. Syn. He is a painter;

She sews a) act of sewing;

b) quality, occupation. Syn. She is a sewer;

He drinks a) act of drinking;

b) quality. Syn. He is a drinker;

He limps a) Syn. He walks lamely;

b) He is lame.

Some sentences differ in their formal structure but are similar in meaning.

180The possibility to express one and the same meaning by overtly different sentence-patterns may be illustrated by numerous examples. Cf.:

(a) The lake teems with fish. (a) The lake is alive with fish.

(b) He could not sleep. (b) He felt wakeful.

(c) The play did not take. (c) The play was not a success.

(d) I have plenty of time. (d) I'm in plenty of time.

(e) A heavy rain was falling. (e) It was pelting down.

(f) He is running a temperature. (f) He has a temperature.

It is relevant to observe that the sources of synonymy in sentence-structure are syntactic processes of different linguistic status. Synonyms are known to be generated by syntactic transformations based primarily or significant changes in the grammatical structure of the sentence, such as, for instance, nominality of various types, compression of subclauses, in particular.

Another source of synonymity must be sought in various transpositions of syntactic structures leading to their functional re-evaluation, as, for instance, "nexus of deprecation", rhetorical questions or the use of pseudo-subclauses of condition as independent units of communication, e. g.:

If only I knew about! Syn. I'd like to know about it. Carrie, if you're not a wonder! Syn. Carrie, you are a wonder!

or, say, transpositions of comparative subclauses where they are also used as independent units of communicative value, e. g.:

As if I ever told him about it! Syn. I never told him about it.

Not less characteristic are transpositions of declarative sentences into the sphere of imperative modality, which is often accompanied by morphological transpositions of tense-forms.

Cf. Come home with me now! Syn. You'll come with me now!

You'll be coming home with me now!

There are also many other facts about sentence-patterning that need research in syntax.

A major point of interest is presented by "periphrasis" involving primarily the change of the lexical status of the sentence.

Lexico-grammatical periphrasis lies, in fact, beyond the central concern of paradigmatics in syntax.

In "periphrastic" syntax we find it reasonable to make distinction between:

1) lexical convertibility intended to convey the necessary logical stress in a given utterance:

(a) You have given me your cold.

(b) I have caught your cold.

181(a) He lost his courage.

(b) Courage deserted him.

(a) He lent them money.

(b) They borrowed money from him.

(a) He subsided into sleep.

(b) Sleep took him in its embrace.

2) lexico-grammatical periphrasis based on semantic and functional similarity between adjectives and verbs in patterns like the following:

I like music. I'm fond of music.

I regret it. I'm sorry about it.

He knows it. He is aware of it.

3) lexico-grammatical periphrasis by nominalisation:

He lost his nerves. He was all nerves.

4) the use of phrasal verbs adapted to style and purpose in each case (aspect or voice modifications, in particular):

He was asleep = He gave himself up to steep. We supported him = He found our support.

5) lexical periphrasis based on lexical synonymy of verbs in the structure of predication, e. g.:

He shared his secret with me. He let me into his secret.

Lexico-grammatical periphrasis by phrasal verbs of various types is a floodgate of synonyms in sentence-patterning. This nominal tendency is decidedly on the increase in present-day English.

Variations in the structure of the predicate producing subtle shades of objective and subjective distinctions make up a regular system and present a rather complicated subject which linguists have by no means fully investigated. This insight into sentence-patterning helps to coordinate and deepen the student's grasp of the language.

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Источник: N. M. RAYEVSKA. MODERN ENGLISH GRAMMAR. 1976

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