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The subject is thus the thing meant with which the predicate is connected.

All the basic sentences consist, first of all, of two immediate constituents: subjectand predicate.

In the basic sentence patterns subjects are rather simple, consisting of either a single noun, a noun with its determiner or a pronoun. They can naturally grow much more complicated: nouns can be modified in quite a variety of ways and other syntactic structures can be made subjects in place of nouns or its equivalents.

Meaning relationships are naturally varied. Subjects can refer to something that is identified, described and classified or located; they may imply something that performs an action, or is affected by action or, say, something involved in an occurrence of some sort.

The semantic content of the term"subject" can be made clear only if we examine the significant contrastive features of sentence patterning as operating to form a complete utterance.

In Modern English there are two main types of subject that stand incontrast as opposed to each other in terms of content: the definite subjectand the indefinite subject.

Definite subjectsdenote a thing-meant that can be clearly defined: a concrete object, process, quality, etc., e. g.:

(a) Fleur smiled. (b) To defend our Fatherland is our sacred duty. (c) Playing tennis is a pleasure. (d) Her prudence surprised me.

Indefinite subjectsdenote some indefinite person, a state of things or a certain situation, e. g.:

(a) They say. (b) You never can tell. (c) One cannot be too careful. (d) It is rather cold. (e) It was easy to do so.

Languages differ in the forms which they have adopted to express this meaning. In English indefinite subjects have always their formal expression.

It will be noted, however, that in a good many sentences of this type the subject and the doer of the action are by no means in full correspondence, e. g.: This room sleeps three men, or Such books sell readily.

It comes quite natural that a subject combines the lexical meaning with the structural meaning of "person".

Things are specifically different in cases when it and there are used in-subject positions as representatives of words or longer units which embody the real content of the subject but are postponed.

It is most pleasant that she has already come. It was easy to do so. Thereare afew mistakes in your paper. Therewere no seats at all.

It and there in such syntactic structures are generally called anticipatory or introductory subjects.

There in such patterns is often referred to as a function word, and this is not devoid of some logical foundation. It is pronounced with weak or tertiary stress, which distinguishes it from the adverb there pronounced (ehr, eh) and having primary or secondary stress. There is sometimes called a temporary subject filling the subject position in place of the true subject, which follows the verb. This interpretation seems to have been borne out by the fact that the verb frequently shows concord with the following noun, as in:

there is a botanical gardensin our town

there wereonly threeof usthere comes his joy

The grammatical organisation of predicates is much more complicated. The predicate can be composed of several different structures. It is just this variety of the predicate that makes us recognise not one basic English sentence pattern but several.

In terms of modern linguistics, the predicate is reasonably defined as the IC of the sentence presented by a finite-form of the verb, if even in its zero-alternant.

Predicates with zero-alternants offer special difficulties on the point of their analysis as relevant to the problem of ellipsis which has always been a disputable question in grammar learning.

Various criteria of classifying different kind of predicate have been set up by grammarians. The common definition of the predicatein terms of modern linguistics is that it is a more or less complex structure with the verb or verb-phrase at its core.This is perfectly reasonable and in point of fact agrees with the advice of traditional grammars to identify a predicate by looking for the verb. The sentence, indeed, almost always exists for the sake of expressing by means of a verb, an action, state or being. The verb which is always in key position is the heart of the matter and certain qualities of the verb in any language determine important elements in the structural meaning of the predicate. These features will engage our attention next. To begin with, the predicate may be composed of a word, a phrase or an entire clause. When it is a notional word, it is naturally not only structural but the notional predicate as well.

The predicate can be a word, a word-morpheme or a phrase. If it consists of one word or word-morpheme it is simple;if it is made up of more than one word it is called compound. In terms of complementation, predicates are reasonably classified into verbal(time presses, birds fly, the moon rose, etc.) and nominal (is happy, felt strong, got cool, grew old).

The two types of predicates in active syntax may be diagrammed as follows:

A. Verbal Predicate Simple Tastes differ.

Compound One must do one's duty.

B. Nominal Predicate

Simple Quite serious all this!

Compound The picture was beautiful.

 

Predication, with its immediate relevance to the syntactic categories of person, time and modality, is known to be expressed not only morphologically. Syntactic arrangement and intonation may do this duty as well.

Time relations, for instance, may find their expression in syntactic structures without any morphological devices indicating time.

The one-member sentence Fire!, depending on the context, linguistic or situational, may be used as:

1) a stylistic alternative of the imperative sentence meaning: ) ! b) ! ) !

2) a stylistic alternative of a declarative sentence stating a fact: .

Similarly in Russian: ! ) ! b) or ! ) .

The multiplicity of syntactic ways in which modality and time relations as well as the category of person may be expressed in infinitival clauses is also well known. Examples are commonplace.

Run away! Go to the east! (Galsworthy)

To think that he should be tortured so her Frank! (Dreiser)

Cf. , , , , ! ()

! ! ... ()

In the theory of English structure the term "sentence analysis" is open to more than one interpretation.

Structural grammatical studies of some modern linguists have abandoned many of the commonly held views of syntax. With regard to the methodology employed their linguistic approach differs from former treatments in language learning. To begin with, distinction must be made between the mentalistic" and the mechanistic" approach to sentence analysis.

By "mentalistic" approach we mean the"parts of the sentence" analysis based on consideration of semantic relationships between the sentence elements.

The "mechanistic" approach is known to have originated in USA in nineteen forties. It is associated primarily with the names of Bloomfield, Fries, Harris and Gleason. Claimed to be entirely formal, the "mechanistic" approach is based only on the structural relations of sentence elements, i. e. their position in the speech chain. To make the distinction between the two approaches clear consider the following examples: "mentalistically" (i. e. analysing sentences by putting questions) "to invite students" and "invitation of students" are parsed as syntactic structures with objects denoting the person towards whom the action is directed.

The new method of sentence analysis is known as the method of immediate constituents (IC's). As we have already pointed out, the concept of IC was first introduced by L. Bloomfield and later on developed by other linguists.

The structural grouping of sentence elements into IC's has naturally its own system in each language. It has been recognised that English has a dichotomous structure.

The concept of immediate constituents (IC's) is important both in morphology and syntax. An immediate constituent is a group of linguistic elements which functions as a unit in some larger whole.

The study of syntax is greatly facilitated by studying the types of immediate constituents which occur. We have learned to call the direct components of the sentence "groups". In terms of modern linguistics they are immediate constituents.

A basic sentence pattern consists first of all of a subject and a predicate. These are called the immediate constituents of the sentence. They are constituents in the sense that they constitute, or make up, the sentence. They are immediate in the sense that they act immediately on one another: the whole meaning of the one applies to the whole meaning of the other.

The subject of a basic sentence is a noun cluster and the predicate is a verb cluster, we can therefore say that the immediate constituents (IC's) of a sentence are a noun cluster and a verb cluster. Each of the IC's of the sentence can in turn be divided to get IC's at the next lower level. For example, the noun cluster of a sentence may consist of a determiner plus a noun. In this case, the construction may be cut between the determiner and the noun, e. g. the girl. The IC's of this noun cluster are the and girl. The verb cluster of the sentence may be a verb plus a noun cluster (played the piano). This cluster can be cut into IC's as follows: played/the piano.

The IC analysis is, in fact, nothing very startling to traditional grammar. It will always remind us of what we learned as the direct components of the sentence: "subject group" and "predicate group". But it proceeds further down and includes the division of the sentence into its ultimate constituents.

In terms of Ch. Fries' distributional model of syntactic description, the sentence My brother met his friend there is represented by the following scheme:

The basic assumption of this approach to the grammatical analysis of sentences is that all the structural signals in English are strictly formal matters that can be described in physical terms of forms, and arrangements of order. The formal signals of structural meanings operate in a system and this is to say that the items of forms and arrangement have signalling significance only as they are parts of patterns in a structural whole.

In terms of the IC's model prevalent in structural linguistics, the sentence is represented not as a linear succession of words, but as a hierarchy of its immediate constituents. The division is thus made with a view to set off such components as admit, in their turn, a maximum number of further division and this is always done proceeding from the binary principle which means that in each case we set off two IC's.

Thus, for instance, the sentence My younger brother left all his things there will be analysed as follows:

My younger brother left all his things there

My \\ younger brother left all his things \\ there

and so on until we receive the minimum constituents which do not admit further division on the syntactic level

left | all his things || there

My || younger

Brother left || all

His things || there left

All

His

Things there The transformational model of the sentence is, in fact, the extension of the linguistic notion of derivation to the syntactic level, which presupposes setting off the so-called basic or "kernel" structures and their transforms, i. e. sentence-structures derived from the basic ones according to the transformational rules.

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