Structural and Transformational Grammars

Structural grammarians have abandoned many of the commonly held views of grammar. With regard to the methodology employed their linguistic approach differs from former treatments in language learning.

Structural grammatical studies deal primarily with the "grammar of structure", and offer an approach to the problems of "sentence analysis" that differs in point of view and in emphasis from the usual treatment of syntax.

Treating the problems of the structure of English with criticism of traditional conventional grammars, Ch. Fries considers, for instance, that prescriptive and scholarly grammars belong to a "prescientific era" 1.

According to Ch. Fries, the new approach — the application of two of the methods of structural linguistics, distributional analysis and substitution makes it possible to dispense with the usual eight parts

1 See: Ch. Fries. The Structure of English. London, 1959, p.


23of speech. He classifies words into four "form-classes", designated by numbers, and fifteen groups of "function words", designated by letters. The four major parts of speech (Noun, Verb, Adjective, Adverb) set up by the process of substitution in Ch. Fries recorded material are thus given no names except numbers: class 1, class 2, class 3, class 4. The four classes correspond roughly to what most grammarians call nouns and pronouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, though Ch. Fries especially warns the reader against the attempt to translate the statements which the latter finds in the book into the old grammatical terms. The group of function words contains not only prepositions and conjunctions, but also certain specific words that more traditional grammarians would class as a particular kind of pronouns, adverbs and verbs.

Assumptions have been made by Ch.

Fries that all words which can occupy the same set of positions in the patterns of English single free utterances must belong to the same part of speech. These four classes make up the "bulk" of functioning units in structural patterns of English. Then come fifteen groups of so-called function-words which have certain characteristics in common. In the mere matter of number of items the fifteen groups differ sharply from the four classes. In the four large classes the lexical meanings of the words depend on the arrangement in which these words appear. In function-words it is usually difficult if not impossible to indicate a lexical meaning apart from the structural meaning which these words signal.

Ch. Fries very rightly points out that one cannot produce a book dealing with language without being indebted to many who have earlier studied the problems and made great advances. He acknowledged the immeasurable stimulation and insight received from L. Bloomfield. The influence of classical scientific and prescriptive grammars on some of his views of language is also quite evident.

According to Ch. Fries, this material covers the basic matters of English structure.

Ch. Fries gives examples of the various kinds of "function-words" that operate in "positions" other than those of four classes given above, giving identifying letters to each of the different groups included here.

The first test frame (Group A) includes all the words for the position in which the word the occurs.

Group A (The)

Group A (The)









Class 2

is/was are/were

Class 3 Class 3 good Class 4
the a/an every
no my our
your her his
their each all
both some any
few more most
much many its
John's this/these that/those
One two three, etc.

24Some of these "words" (one, all, both, two, three, four, that, those, some, John's, etc.) may also appear in the positions of Class 1 words; all and both may occur before the. Group A consists of all words that can occupy the position of the in this particular test frame. The words in this position all occur with Class 1 words. Structurally, when they appear in this "position", they serve as markers of Class 1 words. Sometimes they are called "determiners".

The second test frame includes, according to traditional terminology, modal verbs:

Group Class Group Class Class Class

A 1 В 2 3 4

The concert (may) (be) (good) — might can could will would should must

has (been) has to (be)

Words of group В all go with Class 2 words and only with Class 2 words. Structurally, when they appear in this position, they serve as markers of Class 2 words and also, in special formulas, they signal some meanings which, according to Ch. Fries, should be included as structural.

For group С Fries has but one word not. (This not differs from the not included in group E).

Group Class Group Group Class Class A 1 В С 2 3

The concert may not be good

Group D includes words that can occur in the position of very immediately before a class 3 word in the following test frame:

Croup Class Group Group Class Group Class Class

A 1 В С 2 D 3 4

The concert may not be very good then

quite, awfully really, awful real, any pretty, too fairly, more rather, most

Although each of the fifteen groups set up here differs quite markedly from every other group, they all have certain characteristics in common — characteristics which make them different from the four classes of words identified previously.

1. In the mere matter of number of items the fifteen groups differ sharply from the four classes. The four classes together contain thousands of separate items. Ch.

Fries found no difficulty whatever in selecting from his long lists a hundred of different items of each of the

25four classes as examples. On the other hand, the total number of the separate items from his materials making up the fifteen groups amounted to only 154.

2. In the four large classes, the lexical meanings of the separate words are rather clearly separable from the structural meanings of the arrangements in which these words appear. According to Fries, in the words of these fifteen groups it is usually difficult if not impossible to indicate a lexical meaning apart from the structural meaning which these words signal.

The frames used to test the "words" were taken from the minimum free utterances extracted from the "situation" utterance units (not the "response" utterance units) of the recorded materials. It is important to observe, Ch. Fries points out, that the four parts of speech indicated above account for practically all the positions in these minimum free utterances. In the sentence frames used for testing, only the one position occupied by the word the has not been explored; and, as shown in the modified frame structure, this position is optional rather than essential in the "minimum" free utterances. All the other kinds of words belong then in "expanded" free utterances.

The material which furnished the linguistic evidence for the analysis and discussions of the book were primarily some fifty hours of mechanically recorded conversations on a great range of topics — conversations bу some three hundred different speakers in which the participants were entirely unaware that their speech was being recorded. These mechanical records were transcribed for convenient study, and roughly indexed so as to facilitate reference to the original discs recording the actual speech. The treatment here is thus also limited by the fact that it is based upon this circumscribed body of material. Altogether these mechanically recorded conversions amounted to something over 250,000 running words.

The book presents a major linguistic interest as an experiment rather than for its achievements.

It is to be noted that the material recorded in the book is fairly homogeneous in kind.

Ch. Fries confines himself to one basis for the establishment of form-classes and this brings out the practical limitations of his interesting method. Other debatable points of the material presented are: arbitrary counting of different positions as identical and ignoring morphology where it bears upon syntax.

Structural linguistics is known to have its varieties and schools. The Prague School headed by N. Trubetzkoy and R. Jakobson has contributed to the development of modern structural linguistics on a word-wide scale. Neutralisation as a linguistic concept by which we mean suspension of otherwise functioning oppositions was first introduced into modern linguistics by N. Trubetzkoy who presented an important survey of the problem of phonology in his "Grundzüge der Phonologie" edited in Prague in 1939. This has been widely influential in many European linguistic circles, and many of the basic ideas of the school have diffused very widely, far beyond the group that originally came together around N. Trubetzkoy.

26Trubetzkoy's idea of neutralisation in phonology may be briefly summarised as follows:

a) If in a language two sounds occur in the same position and can be substituted for each other without changing the meaning of the word, such sounds are optional variants of one and the same phoneme.

b) If two sounds occur in the same position and cannot be substituted for each other without changing the meaning of the word or distorting it beyond recognition, these two sounds are phonetic realisations of two different phonemes.

c) If two similar sounds never occur in the same position, they are positional variants of the same phoneme.

An opposition existing between two phonemes may under certain conditions become irrelevant. This seems to be a universal feature in language development.

Examples of neutralisation of oppositions on the phonemic level may be found in numbers. By way of illustration: the sounds [т] and [д] are different phonemes distinguishing such Russian words, for instance, as ток and док, том and дом.

But the difference between the two phonemes will be neutralised if they are at the end of the word, e. g.: рот (mouth) and род (genus); [т] and [д] in these words sound alike because a voiced [д] does not occur at the end of a word in Russian.

In terms of N. Trubetzkoy's theory, opposition is defined as a functionally relevant relationship of partial difference between two partially similar elements of language. The common features of the members of the opposition make up its basis, the features that serve to differentiate them are distinctive features.

Phonological neutralisation in English may be well illustrated by the absence of contrast between final s and z after t.

Similarly, though we distinguish the English phonemes p and b in pin, bin, there is no such opposition after s, e. g.: split, splint, spray.

Where oppositions do not occur, phonemes may coalesce in their realisations and be neutralised.

Extending the concept of neutralisation to the other levels of structure seems fully justified as having a practical value in the study of language both in general linguistics and with regard to English particularly.

The most widely known is the binary "privative" opposition in which one member of the contrastive pair is characterised by the presence of a certain feature which does not exist in the other member (hence "privative"). The element possessing this feature is referred to as the "marked" (strong) member of the opposition. The "unmarked" member may either signal "absence of the marked meaning" or else be noncommittal as to its absence or presence.

The most-favoured principle of the Prague School, in the words of A. Martinet, is the principle of binarity, according to which the whole of language should be reducible to sets of binary oppositions. Perhaps the best known advocate of the theory of binary oppositions is R. Jakob-son, who has applied this kind of analysis to the Russian system of cases, to the Russian verb system, and even — as part of a discussion

27of Franz Boas view of grammatical meaning — to the English verb system. In these studies, R. Jakobson analyses grammatical concepts in terms of sets of two mutually opposite grammatical categories, one of which is marked while the other is unmarked or neutral.

Intensive development of American linguistics is generally called Bloomfieldian linguistics, though not all of its principles can be traced directly to L. Bloomfield's concepts.

L. Bloomfield's book Language is a complete methodology of language study. The ideas laid down in this book were later developed by Z. S. Harris, Ch. Fries, E. A. Nida and other scholars.

The main concepts of L. Bloomfield's book may be briefly summarised as follows:

1. Language is a workable system of signals, that is linguistic forms by means of which people communicate... "every language consists of a number of signals, linguistic forms" 1.

2. "Every utterance contains some significant features that are not accounted for by the lexicon" 2.

3. "No matter how simple a form we utter and how we utter it... the utterance conveys a grammatical meaning in addition to the lexical content" 3.

4. A sentence has a grammatical meaning which does not (entirely) depend on the choice (selection) of the items of lexicon.

L. Bloomfield's statement that the meaning of a sentence is part of the morpheme arrangement, and does not entirely depend on the words used in the sentence has later been developed by Ch. Fries and N. Chomsky.

5. Grammar is a meaningful arrangement of linguistic forms from morphemes to sentences. The meaningful arrangement of forms in a language constitutes its grammar, and in general, there seem to be four ways of arranging linguistic forms: (1) order, (2) modulation: "John!" (call), "John?" (question), "John" (statement); (3) phonetic modification (do — don't); (4) selection of forms which contributes the factor of meaning 4.

In the words of L. Bloomfield, the most favourite type of sentence is the "actor —action" construction having two positions. These positions are not interchangeable. All the forms that can fill in a given position thereby constitute a form-class. In this manner the two main form-classes are detected: the class of nominal expressions and the class of finite verb expressions.

L. Bloomfield has shown a new approach to the breaking up of the word-stock into classes of words. "The syntactic constructions of a language mark off large classes of free forms, such as, in English, the nominative expression or the finite verb expression. The great form-classes of a language are most easily described in terms of word-classes (such as

1 L. Bloomfield. Language. London, 1969, p. 158.

2 I b i d., p. 162.

3 Ibid., p. 169.

4 Ibid., pp. 163—164.

28the traditional parts of speech), because the form-class of a phrase is usually determined by one or more of the words which appear in it"1.

These long form-classes are subdivided into smaller ones.

In modern linguistic works the nominal phrase of a sentence is marked as the symbol NP, and the finite verb-phrase — as VP. The symbols N and V stand for the traditional parts of speech, nouns and verbs, although the NP may include not only nouns but their equivalents and the noun determiners (e. g.: the man, my hand, this house, I, they, something, some, others, etc.); and the VP with a transitive verb may have a NP in (took a book, sent a letter, etc.). The long form-class of N is now subdivided into: animate and inanimate, material and abstract, class nouns and proper nouns. The long form-class of V is subdivided into intransitive verbs (Vi), transitive verbs (Vt) and the latter are again divided into the V of the take-type, the give-type, the put-type and the have-type, etc.

The selection of the subclasses of N and V leads to different sentence-structures.

The grammatical schools of traditional scholarly grammar have then passed to the grammatical theories of "descriptive", "post-Bloomfieldian linguistics", to the school of grammar known as the "transformational generative grammar", initiated by Z. S. Harris who outlined a grammatical procedure which was essentially a twice-made application of two major steps: the setting up of elements, and the statement of the distribution of these elements relative to each other. The elements are thus considered relatively to each other, and on the basis of the distributional relations among them.

American linguists K. L. Pike, R. Wells, E. A. Nida, L. S. Harris and others paid special attention to formal operations, the so-called grammar discovery procedures. They endeavour to discover and describe the features and arrangement of two fundamental linguistic units (the phoneme and the morpheme as the minimal unit of grammatical structure) without recourse to meaning.

Sentence structure was represented in terms of immediate constituent analysis, explicitly introduced, though not sufficiently formalised by L. Bloomfield. The binary cutting of sentences and their phrasal constituents into IC's, the first and the most important cut being between the group of the subject and the group of the predicate, was implicit in the "parsing" and analysis of traditional grammar, as noted by many linguists commenting on the analysis. Distributional analysis was recognised as primary in importance. Linguistic procedures were directed at a twice-made application of two major steps; the setting up of elements and the statement of the distribution of these elements relative to each other, distribution being defined as the sum of all the different environments or positions of an element relative to the occurrence of other elements. The principal operation recommended, e. g. for establishing equations: a morpheme = a morpheme sequence in

1 L. Вloomfield. Op. cit., p. 190. See also: О. С. Ахманова и Г. Б. Микаэлян. Современные синтаксические теории. М., 963, pp. 22—23.

29a given environment (such as man = good boy) was substitution repeated time and again 1. Distributional analysis and substitution were not something quite novel in English grammatical theory. Occurrence of an element relative to other elements, now generally referred to as "distribution", has been involved in almost every grammatical statement since Antiquity 2. But the difference between the traditional and structural approaches consists in that the former did not rely upon this method as part of an explicitly formulated theory, whereas modern linguistics has given recognition, within the theory of grammar, to the distributional principle, by which traditional grammarians were always guided in practice. The same is true of substitution. This is an entirely-formal method for discourse analysis arranged in the form of the successive procedures.

Starting with the utterances which occur in a single language community at a single time, these procedures determine what may be regarded as identical in various parts of various utterances. And this is supposed to provide a method for identifying all the utterances as relatively few stated arrangements of relatively few stated elements.

Z. S. Harris, E. A. Nida and other American linguists of Bloomfieldian school concentrate their attention on formal operations to discover and describe the features and arrangement of two fundamental linguistic units: the phoneme and the morpheme as the minimal unit of grammatical structure. Like Bloomfield, they attach major importance to spoken language laying emphasis on the fact that writing is a secondary visual representation of speech.

Language came to be viewed not as an aggregate of discrete elements but as an organised totality, a Gestalt which has a pattern of its own and whose components are interdependent and derive their significance from the system as a whole. In F. Saussure's words, language is like a game of chess", you cannot add, remove or displace any element without effecting the entire field of force.

Z. Harris presents methods of research used in descriptive, or, more exactly, structural, linguistics. It is, in fact, a discussion of the operations which the linguist may carry out in the course of his investigations, rather than a theory of the structural analysis which results from these investigations.

P. Roberts and W. N. Francis, following Ch. Fries and H. A. Gleason, are to a large degree concerned with studying patterns of organisation, or structures. They hold the view that linguistics, like physics and chemistry or, say, geology or astronomy, must be preoccupied with structure.

Returning to the traditional names of parts of speech P. Roberts and W. N. Francis establish four major classes of words and several groups of function-words, proceeding from the criteria of distribution

1 See: Z. S. Harris. Methods in Structural Linguistics. Chicago, 1961, pp. 15—16.

2 See: P. Diderichsen. The Importance of Distribution Versus Other Criteria in Linguistic Analysis. Copenhagen, 1966, pp. 270—271; see also: L. L. Iоfik, L. P. С h а k h о у a n. Readings in the Theory of English Grammar. L. 1972, p. 37.

30of words, the morphological characteristics of words and their correlation.

The analysis of English structure made by P. Roberts and W. Francis presents a major linguistic interest as a significant contribution to modern linguistic thought.

It is to be noted, however, that some of their statements are devoid of logical consistency.

The classification of words into parts of speech given in these books is open to doubt and questioning because in identifying the linguistic status of words P. Roberts and W. N. Francis, like Ch. Fries, proceed from essentially different criteria: the major classes of words are classified in terms of their formal features and function words — in terms of meaning.

What seems also erroneous and devoid of logical foundations is excluding meaning from this sphere of linguistic analysis.

According to W. N. Francis, there are five devices which English speakers make use of to build words into larger organised combinations or structures. From the listener's point of view, these five are the kinds of signals which reveal the patterns of structural meaning in which words are arranged. As a summary of his assumptions, W. N. Francis lists them describing briefly as follows:

1. Word Order as the linear or time sequence in which words appear in an utterance.

2. Prosody, i. e. the over-all musical pattern of stress, pitch and juncture in which the words of an utterance are spoken.

3. Function words or words largely devoid of lexical meaning which are used to indicate various functional relationships among the lexical words of an utterance.

4. Inflections, i. e. morphemic changes — the addition of suffixes and concomitant morphophonemic adjustments — which adapt words to perform certain structural functions without changing their lexical meaning.

5. Derivational contrast between words which have the same base but differ in the number and nature of their derivational affixes 1.

The classes of words established by P. Roberts and W. N. Francis do not coincide.

In W. N. Francis' classification there are four parts of speech: Noun, Verb, Adjective and Adverb. Pronouns are treated as two subclasses of nouns, called pronouns and function nouns. The group of pronouns comprises eight words whose importance far outweighs their number. These are: I, we, you, he, she, it, they and who.

The main groups of function-nouns are eight in number (including some stereotyped phrases) plus some unclassified ones (not all the following lists are complete):

a) Noun-determiners: the, a/an, my, your, her, their, our, this/ these, that/those, its, one, two ... ninety-nine, many (a), more, several, both, all, some, no, every, (a) few, other.

1 See: W. N. Francis. The Structure American English. New York, 1958, p. 234.

31b) Auxiliaries: can/could, may/might, will/would, shall/should, must, dare, need, do, had better, be, get, have, keep (on), used, be going.

c) Qualifiers: very, quite, rather, pretty, mighty, somewhat, too, a bit, a little, so more, most, less, least, indeed, enough (real, awful, that, some, right, plenty), no, still, much, lots, a (whole) lot, a (good, great) deal, even.

d) Prepositions:

(1) Simple: after, among, around, before, concerning, etc.

(2) Compound: along with, away from, back of, due to, together with, etc.

(3) Phrasal: by means of, in front of, on account of, etc.

(e) Coordinators: and, not, but, nor, rather, than, either ... or, etc.

(f) Interrogators:

(1) Simple: when, where, how, why (whence, whither), whenever, etc.

(2) Interrogative pronouns: who, which, what, whoever, whichever, whatever.

(g) lncluders:

(1) Simple: after, although, how, lest, since, etc.

(2) Relative pronouns: who, which, that, when, where, whoever, etc. (h) Sentence-linkers:

(1) Simple: consequently, furthermore, hence, however, moreover, nevertheless, therefore.

(2) Phrasal: at least, in addition, in fact, etc.

There are also function verbs in Francis' classification which stand in place of a full verb-phrase, when the full verb has been expressly stated or strongly implied in the immediate linguistic context or the non-linguistic context.

We cannot fail to see that applying formal structural methods of analysis which seem to be more objective than semantic criteria, grammarians come to somewhat different results.

In terms of N. Chomsky's theory of syntax, sentences have a surface structure and a deep structure, the latter is more complicated, being based on one or more underlying abstract simple structures.

In certain very simple sentences the difference between the surface structure and the deep structure is minimal. Sentences of this kind (simple, active, declarative, indicative) are designated as kernel sentences. They can be adequately described by phrase or constituent structure methods, as consisting of noun and verb phrases (the so-called P-markers, the NP's and VP's). According to syntactic structures, kernel sentences are produced by applying only obligatory transformations to the phrase-structure strings (e. g. the transformation of affix + verb into verb + + affix in the present tense, hit -s, etc.). Non-kernel or derived sentences involve optional transformations in addition, such as active to passive (the boy was hit by the man). But later interpretations of the transformational theory have made less use of this distinction, stressing rather the distinction between the underlying "deep structure" of a sentence and its "surface structure" that it exhibits after the transformations have been applied. Transformational operations consist in rearrangement, addition, deletion and combination of linguistic elements.

32Phrase structure rules form a counterpart in the theory of generative grammar to two techniques of linguistic analysis (one old and one rather new).

In the words of E. Bach, the old practice is the schoolroom drill of parsing, that is, of assigning grammatical labels to parts of a sentence. In a schoolroom drill the following analysis might occur:

The man

article noun









whole subject indirect




whole predicate

The other technique — in reality only a more sophisticated version of parsing — is so-called immediate constituent (IC) analysis. It attempts to break down constructions into subparts that are in some sense grammatically relevant.

The theory of transformational grammar begins by making fundamental distinction between two kinds of sentences: kernel sentences and their transforms. Kernel sentences are the basic elementary sentences of the language from which all else is made. All constructions that are not basic are transforms, i. e. they are derived from the basic ones by certain grammatical rules. Transformations can change and expand the kernel in many ways to form the great variety of sentences possible in a given language.

The system of any language contains a rather small number of basic sentences and other structural elements (such as morphemes and phonemes). All the other linguistic forms, sentences of different structure, are derived (generated) from these basic (kernel) elements by certain regular derivation rules involving different kind of operations. This understanding of the system of any language is, in fact, the main assumption of the transformational grammar.

The two basic problems of the T-grammar are: a) the establishment of the set of kernel or basic structures, and b) the establishment of the set of transformation rules for deriving all the other sentences as their transforms1.

A transformational rule is a rule which requires or allows us to perform certain changes in the kernel structure: rearrangement of linguistic elements, so-called "permutation", substitution, deletion, the use of function words, etc.

The transformational rules show how to derive something from something else by switching things about, putting things or leaving them out and so on 2.

It is to be pointed out that transformational analysis applied in teaching on different instruction levels can hardly be considered as altogether quite novel. Transformational relations involved in tense-formation and passive forms, for instance, were, in fact, always presented as devices of obligatory transformations on the morphological level. The

1 See: Z. S. Harris. Co-occurrence and Transformation in Linguistic Structure. "Language", v. 33, No. 3, 1957.

2 See: P. Roberts. English Syntax. New York, 1964, p. 97. - 3

33recognition of brought as the past tense of bring, and similarly be brought as the passive of bring, depends primarily on relating large numbers of sentences and on the analysis of collocations between nouns and verbs in the sentences.

Such are also number and person transformations or, say, different kind of transformations which were applied implicitly in traditional grammar on the syntactic level depending on the purpose of communication: constructing negative transforms, changing an affirmative sentence into a question, transformations which produce exclamatory sentences, etc.

Deficiencies of various kind have been discovered in the first attempts to formulate a theory of transformational generative grammar and in the descriptive analysis of particular languages that motivated these formulations. At the same time, it has become apparent that these formulations can be extended and deepened in certain ways.

N. Chomsky's Aspects of the Theory of Syntax 1 is a notable attempt to review these developments and to propose a reformulation of the theory of transformational generative grammar that takes them into account. The emphasis in this study is syntax; semantic and phonological aspects of language structure are discussed only insofar as they bear on syntactic theory.

The author reviews the general orientation of all work in generative grammar since the middle fifties. His specific intent is to determine exactly how this work is related — in its divergencies as well as its connections — to earlier developments in linguistics and to see how this work relates to traditional issues in psychology and philosophy.

N. Chomsky implicitly relates his grammar to language teaching and learning by associating his results with traditional grammars. He mentions that these do not give explicit rules for putting words together into sentences, although they give enough rules of word concord, examples and so on, to allow the student to do this intuitively. N. Chomsky gives no rules for putting sentences together to make discourses, but leaves this to the intuitions of the learner. His aim is to put forward the rules to generate all possible sentences of a language in terms of a given set of morphemes. In his words, any language has a finite set of available morphemes, but an infinite set of sentences; this shows definite hypostatisation of the unit "sentence".

Transformational grammar involving a reorientation of linguistic theory has naturally given rise to vigorous controversy in linguistic studies, and much still remains to be done in language learning to evaluate its potentialities adequately. It is to be expected, however, that the theory of T-grammar will continue to develop and contribute to general linguistic study by solving some important previously overlooked issues.

The structural procedures of modern descriptive theory are used by Soviet linguists to identify the nature of some linguistic facts. It must, however, be emphatically stressed that in some questions our standpoint is essentially different. Some American linguists are known to

1 See: N. Chomsky. Aspects of the Theory of Syntax. Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1965.

34advocate rigorous separation of levels and a study of language as an autonomous system. Such abstraction seems altogether erroneous and brings little scientific order to language learning; dogmatic assumptions of this kind are always responsible for the distortion of linguistic facts. This approach seems to have already been abandoned by most structuralists (Z. Harris, N. Chomsky).

What is also open to criticism is setting absolutely apart synchronic and diachronic aspects of linguistic units. In language reality the two aspects are organically related and as such cannot be always absolutely isolated. Regrettable mistakes occur if this is overlooked.

There are a number of European schools of linguistics, and the differences between them are in some instances rather significant. The linguistic theories which they hold have, in fact, been developed in a variety of ways.

With the diversity of view-points within descriptive linguistics, it is not surprising that English descriptive grammar is not as a type uniform. Sometimes grammarians differ in the view of language that underlies them. Some of grammars differ only in terminology, in stylistic conventions of statement, or in other basically inconsequential matters. For the most part there is a variation in many directions, with intergradations in linguistic analysis. But despite a considerable divergency of their aims and linguistic approaches there is a certain continuousness in different English grammars observed in their keeping up the grammatical tradition. The foundations of the English grammatical theory were laid already in the first part of the prescriptive grammar, though its morphological system was based on Latin and syntactic concepts depended largely upon rhetoric and logic.

The prescriptive normative grammar has the longest tradition and is still prevalent in class-room instruction. Its most important contribution to grammatical theory was the syntactic system developed in 19th century.

Though much has been done, the three types of scientific English grammars have not yet succeeded in creating any quite independent and new grammatical systems.

R. W. Zandvoort's Handbook of English Grammar (1957—1965) is a descriptive grammar of contemporary English. It deals with accidence and syntax, leaving aside what belongs rather to idiom and is not amenable to general statement. It likewise eschews historical digressions; synchronic and diachronic grammar are, in the author's opinion, best treated separately. In this, as in other respects, R. Zandvoort confesses himself a pupil of Kruisinga, whose Handbook of Present-day English, despite certain extravagances in its fifth and final edition, he considers to be the most original and stimulating treatment of English syntax.

* * *

A major contribution to the development of modern linguistics has been made by Soviet scholars.

The accomplishments of Soviet linguists in the theory of English structure are presented by the great wealth and variety of individual

35studies of numerous problems treated in various monographs, grammar books and work-papers which appeared during this period and have been noted in our bibliography.

Linguistic studies of Modern English structure made by Soviet scholars contain most valuable information about the language as system and have notable merits in the grammatical theory making its study more illuminating and contributing to a scientific understanding of language development. Such are, for instance, the monographs and books edited in this country in 50-60-ies by V. N. Yartseva, A. I. Smirnitsky, O. S. Akhmanova, Y. N. Vorontsova, B. A. Ilyish, N. N. Amosova, I. P. Ivanova, I. V. Arnold and others.

Most perceptive and useful treatments coordinating and deepening the grasp of the language will be found in V. N. Yartseva's monographs and scholarly accounts made at a special academic level, with much new insight on the subject in the light of modern linguistics.

A valuable source of significant information revealing important aspects of language in discussion of syntax and morphology will be found in well known A. I. Smirnitsky's grammar books.

A major stimulus to intensive studies of the theory of English structure in Soviet linguistics was the research of our scholars in recent times. This has brought new accomplishments in modern grammatical theory which are original, significant and practical. Investigations of recent years gain an important insight into the structural methods of linguistic analysis, syntactic description, in particular. Such are the grammar books edited by O. S. Akhmanova, V. N. Yartseva, L. Barkhudarov, L. L. Iofik, Y. O. Zhluktenko, G. G. Pocheptsov and others.

Current work in grammar attempts to provide the insight into semantic aspects of syntax, the processes of sentence formation and their interpretation, the processes that underlie the actual use of language.

Investigations of Soviet scholars throw much additional light on numerous aspects of language encouraging fresh attempts not only in the theory of English structure but also comparative studies of grammar (V. N. Yartseva, Y. O. Zhluktenko).

The structural procedures of modern descriptive theory are widely used by Soviet linguists to identify the nature of some linguistic facts of different levels of the language.

Important observations are presented in A. Korsakov's book where we find the description of the system of the English verb, revealing to the student the way in which the language actually works. The book is not only intended to show the student how the English tenses are actually used. It is also helpful as an introduction of some methods and ways of linguistic analysis.

Various aspects of grammar have been described in a considerable number of dissertations defended in this country on specialised topics, such as semantic aspects of syntax, the grammar of English nominalisations, synonymic correlation of linguistic units, comparative study of languages, etc. to which we turn the attention of the student with suggestions for further reading.


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