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The Notion of a Syntactic Paradigm

A syntactic paradigm is a set of syntactic structures, one of which is a kernel, it is invariable, and others are variables received by various transformational procedures, this process being called syntactic derivation. In the paradigm of the sentence we distinguish the morphological sphere and the syntactical sphere. In the morphological sphere we find all possible changes of the constituents of the kernel (The sun shines = > the sun shone, the sun will shine, the sun is shining, the sun has been shing, these suns shine, etc.). The morphological sphere of the paradigm includes the changes in nouns as to number and case; the changes in verbs as to number, person, tense, voice, aspect, correlation and mood; the changes in adjectives as to degrees of comparison. In the syntactical sphere we find the negative and the interrogative forms of a kernel (The sun does not shine. The sun did not shine. Does the sun shine? Did the sun shine? Will the sun shine? How does the sun shine? etc.).

In the syntactical sphere we can see phrase-transforms and clause-transforms of kernels. Kernels can be changed into phrases by the transformational procedure of phrasalization and expanded into clauses by the transformational procedure of clausalization. These transformations involve connectives - conjunctions, conjunctive pronouns and adverbs, conjunctive phrases ( The sun shines =>the sun shining, the shining of the sun , for the sun to shine, with the sun shining ;=> if the sun shines, though the sun shines, when the sun shines, while the sun shines, as the sun shines, etc.).Clauses can be combined to receive larger structures (If the sun shines I’ll be happy, etc.). The general paradigm of a sentence embracing all morphological and syntactical transformations is voluminous.

Paradigmatic structuring of connections and dependencies penetrated from morphology into the sphere of a sentence. We see that the methods of describing morphology and syntax overlap.

Structural Classification of Simple Sentences

There are several classifications of a simple sentence: structural, communicative, semantic, pragmatic, etc. Scholars distinguish the following communicative types of sentences: declarative, interrogative, imperative and exclamatory.

A simple sentence is a monopredicative unit having only one explicitly predicative line which is formally expressed by a subject and a predicate. Structurally simple sentences are classified into one-member (single-nucleus, one-axis) and two-member (double-nucleus, two-axis) sentences. More frequent are two-member sentences carrying the main parts ( a subject and a predicate) and secondary parts. They can be expanded and unexpanded {The sun shines ( subject + predicate); Robot robots a robot (subject + predicate + object)}. A simple sentence does not exclude implicit predicative lines which are formally unexpressed but distinguishable transformationally ( I am amazed at the sun shining so brightly).

There are morphological varieties of one-member sentences:1. nominal (nounal and adjectival) sentences: Women! The men of property! Silence! Wonderful! Disgusting! The perfect beauty of a sunflower; 2. Infinitival sentences (stylistic alternatives to sentences with finite verb predication): Forget all so soon! To love her! To have loved her! To be loved by her! ( these are the transforms of the initial infinitival sentence).

These are examples of written language. Speech is incredibly subtler than writing. Authors try to reproduce sentences which are heard daily and which deviate from grammatical canons (She has developed power, this woman – this – this – this wife of his (J.Galsworthy). In actual performance much of our language communication is represented by the fragments of sentences (On the hill. Yes.). Extracted from thecontext these fragments can be interpreted in an unlimited number of ways.


General Properties of a Simple (Two-Member Expanded) Sentence


Within a simple sentence we distinguish primary and secondary (independent/ dependent) elements, the structural nucleus and its adjuncts.

Syntactic Ties

There exist several syntactic ties within a sentence. The primary predicative tie makes a sentence as it realizes itself in the changes of the verb for person, number, tense, voice, mood, aspect, time relation. The secondary predicative tie can be revealed transformationally, it does not make a sentence, it is concealed in infinitival, gerundial, participial constructions, predicative constructions with nouns, adjectives, statives {I saw him running (a complex object expressed by an objective participial construction); I find him a genius => I find that he is a genius (a secondary subject and a secondary predicate);I found the houseaflame=> I found that the house was aflame ( a predicative construction with a stative); The dishes done, children to bed, herbook read, she watches news on TV (a complex adverbial modifier of attendant circumstances).

Within a simple sentence we also distinguish the subordinating tie which is an expression of dependence of an adjunct on the head{ I was proud of him (proud is the head and him is an adjunct). The coordinating tie establishes syntactically homogeneous elements ( The sky was pale and soft. He was rude and nasty). The appositive tie can be illustrated by “King Alfred was a remarkable figure (King is an apposition). The attributive tie, existing between a modifier and a modified word, can be transformed into a predicative tie (a beautiful girl). The completive tie exists between an indispensable object and a verb( He broke his promise), the object completing the meaning of the verb. The attributive completive tie exists between a verb and an adverbial modifier of manner which is indispensable( He treated me kindly. He broke the thing gently).The introductive tie (very loose) can be illustrated by the example Frankly speaking, I don’t know anything about it.

These are immediate explicit syntactic ties. Along with them there exist implicit semantic ties which can be revealed transformationally and interpreted componentially in terms of semantic agreement/disagreement of subclasses of words (Abstract/concrete, inanimate/animate, human/non-human, young/old, male/female): The flowers stood white and desolate( the adjectives white and desolate are connected with the noun flowers as they semantically agree. The sentence can be transformed into 3 kernels: Flowers stood. Flowers were white. Flowers were desolate.

Predicative Constructions

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