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SIMPLE SENTENCE: PARADIGMATIC STRUCTURE

grammar

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SIMPLE SENTENCE: PARADIGMATIC STRUCTURE

§ 1. Traditional grammar studied the sentence from the point of view of its syntagmatic structure: the sentence was approached as a string of certain parts fulfilling the corresponding syntactic functions. As for paradigmatic relations, which, as we know, are inseparable from syntagmatic relations, they were explicitly revealed only as part of morphological descriptions, because, up to recent times, the idea of the sentence-model with its functional variations was not




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developed. Moreover, some representatives of early modern linguistics, among them F. de Saussure, specially noted that it was quite natural for morphology to develop paradigmatic (associative) observations, while syntax 'by its very essence' should concern itself with the linear connections of words.

Thus, the sentence was traditionally taken at its face value as a ready unit of speech, and systemic connections between sentences were formulated in terms of classifications. Sentences were studied and classified according to the purpose of communication, according to the types of the subject and the predicate, according to whether they are simple or composite, expanded or unexpanded, compound or complex, etc.

In contemporary modern linguistics paradigmatic structuring of lingual connections and dependencies has penetrated into the would-be 'purely syntagmatic' sphere of the sentence. The paradigmatic approach to this element of rendering communicative information, as we have mentioned before, marked a new stage in the development of the science of language; indeed, it is nothing else than paradigmatic approach that has provided a comprehensive theoretical ground for treating the sentence not only as a ready unit of speech, but also and above all as a meaningful lingual unit existing in a pattern form.

§ 2. Paradigmatics finds its essential expression in a system of oppositions making the corresponding meaningful (functional) categories. Syntactic oppositions are realised by correlated sentence patterns, the observable relations between which can be described as 'transformations', i.e, as transitions from one pattern of certain notional parts to another pattern of the same notional parts. These transitions, being oppositional, at the same time disclose derivational connections of sentence-patterns. In other words, some of the patterns are to be approached as base patterns, while others, as their transforms.

For instance, a question can be described as transformationally produced from a statement; a negation, likewise, can be presented as transformationally produced from an affirmation. E.g.:

You are fond of the kid. Are you fond of the kid? You are fond of the kid. You are not fond of the kid.

Why are the directions of transitions given in this way

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and not vice versa? — Simply because the ordinary affirmative statement presents a positive expression of a fact in its purest form, maximally free of the speaker's connotative appraisals.

Similarly, a composite sentence, for still more evident reasons, is to be presented as derived from two or more simple sentences. E.g.:

He turned to the waiter.+The waiter stood in the door. He turned to the waiter who stood in the door.

These transitional relations are implicitly inherent in the syntagmatic classificational study of sentences. But modern theory, exposing them explicitly, has made a cardinal step forward in so far as it has interpreted them as regular derivation stages comparable to categorial form-making processes in morphology and word-building.

And it is on these lines that the initial, basic element of syntactic derivation has been found, i.e. a syntactic unit serving as a 'sentence-root' and providing an objective ground for identifying syntactic categorial oppositions. This element is known by different names, such as the 'basic syntactic pattern', the 'structural sentence scheme', the 'elementary sentence model', the 'base sentence', though as the handiest in linguistic use should be considered the 'kernel sentence' due to its terminological flexibility combined with a natural individualising force.

Structurally the kernel sentence coincides with the elementary sentence described in the previous chapter. The difference is, that the pattern of the kernel sentence is interpreted as forming the base of a paradigmatic derivation in the corresponding sentence-pattern series.

Thus, syntactic derivation should not be understood as an immediate change of one sentence into another one; a pronounced or written sentence is a finished utterance that thereby cannot undergo any changes. Syntactic derivation is to be understood as paradigmatic production of more complex pattern-constructions out of kernel pattern-constructions as their structural bases. The description of this production ('generation') may be more detailed and less detailed, i.e. it can be effected in more generalised and less generalised terms, depending on the aim of the scholar. The most concrete presentation concerns a given speech-utterance analysed into its derivation history on the level of the word-forms.

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By way of example let us take the following English sentence: I saw him come.

This sentence is described in school grammar as a sentence with a complex object, which is syntagmatically adequate, though incomplete from the systemic point of view. The syntagmatic description is supplemented and re-interpreted within the framework of the paradigmatic description presenting the sentence in question as produced from the two kernel sentences: I saw him. + He came. I saw him come.


The same may be given in terms of the IC-derivation tree diagrams (see Fig. 7). The indices specifying the basic sym-



In a more generalised, categorial-oriented paradigmatic presentation the sentence will be shown as a transformational combination of the two kernel pattern-formulas:

bols can vary in accord with the concrete needs of analysis and demonstration.

§ 3. The derivation of genuine sentences lying on the 'surface' of speech out of kernel sentences lying in the 'deep base' of speech can be analysed as a process falling into sets of elementary transformational steps or procedures. These procedures make up six major classes.

The first class includes steps of 'morphological arrangement' of the sentence, i.e. morphological changes expressing syntactically relevant categories, above all, the predicative categories of the finite verb: tense, aspect, voice, mood. The syntactic role of these forms of morphological change (systematised into morphological paradigms) consists in the fact

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that they make up parts of the more general syntactico-paradigmatic series. E.g.:

John+start (the kernel base string) John starts. John will be starting. John would be starting. John has started. Etc.

The second class of the described procedures includes various uses of functional words (functional expansion). From the syntactic point of view these words are transformers of syntactic constructions in the same sense as the categorial morphemes {e.g. inflexions) are transformers of lexemes, i.e. morphological constructions. E.g.:

He understood my request. He seemed to understand my request. Now they consider the suggestion. Now they do consider the suggestion.

The third class of syntactic derivational procedures includes the processes of substitution. Among the substitutes we find personal pronouns, demonstrative-substitute pronouns, indefinite-substitute pronouns, as well as substitutive combinations of half-notional words. Cf.:

The pupils ran out of the classroom. They ran out of the classroom. I want another pen, please. I want another one, please.

The fourth class of the procedures in question is formed by processes of deletion, i.e. elimination of some elements of the sentence in various contextual conditions. As a result of deletion the corresponding reduced constructions are produced. E.g.:

Would you like a cup of tea? A cup of tea? It's a pleasure! Pleasure!

The fifth class of syntactic derivational procedures includes processes of positional arrangement, in particular, permutations (changes of the word-order into the reverse patterns). E.g.:

The man is here. Is the man here? Jim ran in with an excited cry. —» In ran Jim with an excited cry.

The sixth class of syntactic derivational procedures is formed by processes of intonational arrangement, i.e. application of various functional tones and accents. This arrangement is represented in written and typed speech by

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punctuation marks, the use of different varieties of print, the use of various modes of underlining and other graphical means. E.g.:

We must go. We must go? We? Must go?? You care nothing about what I feel. You care nothing about what I feel!

The described procedures are all functionally relevant, i.e. they serve as syntactically meaningful dynamic features of the sentence. For various expressive purposes they may be applied either singly or, more often than not, in combination with one another. E.g.: We finish the work. → We are not going to finish it.

For the production of the cited sentence-transform the following procedures are used: morphological change, introduction of functional words, substitution, intonational arrangement. The functional (meaningful) outcome of the whole process is the expression of the modal future combined with a negation in a dialogue response. Cf.:



Are we ever going to finish the work? Anyway, we are not going to finish it today!

§ 4. The derivational procedures applied to the kernel sentence introduce it into two types of derivational relations in the sentential paradigmatic system: first, the 'constructional' relations; second, the 'predicative' relations. The constructional derivation effects the formation of more complex clausal structures out of simpler ones; in other words, it provides for the expression of the nominative-notional syntactic semantics of the sentence. The predicative derivation realises the formation of predicatively different units not affecting the constructional volume of the base; in other words, it is responsible for the expression of the predicative syntactic semantics of the sentence. Both types of derivational procedures form the two subsystems within the general system of syntactic paradigmatics.

§ 5. As part of the constructional system of syntactic paradigmatics, kernel sentences, as well as other, expanded base-sentences undergo derivational changes into clauses and phrases.

The transformation of a base sentence into a clause can „be called 'clausalisation'. By way of clausalisation a

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sentence is changed into a subordinate or coordinate clause in the process of subordinative or coordinative combination of sentences. The main clausalising procedures involve the use of conjunctive words — subordinators and coordinators. Since a composite sentence is produced from minimum two base sentences, the derivational processes of composite sentence production are sometimes called 'two-base transformations'. For example, two kernel sentences 'They arrived' and 'They relieved me of my fears' (→ I was relieved of my fears), combined by subordinative and coordinative clausalising, produce the following constructions:

When they arrived I was relieved of my fears. If they arrive, I shall be relieved of my fears. Even though they arrive, I shan't be relieved of my fears. Etc. They arrived, and I was relieved of my fears. They arrived, but I was not relieved of my fears. Etc.

The transformation of a base sentence into a phrase can be called 'phrasalisation'. By phrasalisation a sentence is transformed either into a semi-predicative construction (a semi-clause), or into a nominal phrase.

Nominal phrases are produced by the process of nominalisation, i.e. nominalising phrasalisation which we have analyzed before (see Ch. XX). Nominalisation may be complete, consisting in completely depriving the sentence of its predicative aspect, or partial, consisting in partially depriving the sentence of its predicative aspect. Partial nominalisation in English produces infinitive and gerundial phrases. By other types of phrasalisation such semi-clauses are derived as complex objects of infinitive and participial types, various participial constructions of adverbial status and some other, minor complexes. The resulting constructions produced by the application of the cited phrasalising procedures in the process of derivational combination of base sentences will be both simple expanded sentences (in case of complete nominalisation) and semi-composite sentences (in case of various partial nominalisations and other phrasalisations). Cf.:

—» On their arrival I was relieved of my fears. —» They arrived to relieve me of my fears. They arrived relieving me of my fears. Having arrived, they did relieve me of my fears. Etc.

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As is seen from the examples, each variety of derivational combination of concrete sentences has its own semantic purpose expressed by the procedures employed.

§ 6. As part of the predicative system of syntactic paradigmatics, kernel sentences, as well as expanded base-sentences, undergo such structural modifications as immediately express the predicative functions of the sentence, i.e. the functions relating the nominative meanings of the sentence to reality. Of especial importance in this respect is the expression of predicative functions by sentences which are elementary as regards the set of their notional constituents: being elementary from the point of view of nominative semantics, these sentences can be used as genuine, ordinary utterances of speech. Bearing in mind the elementary nominative nature of its constructional units, we call the system of sentences so identified the 'Primary Syntactic System' (Lat. 'Prima Systema Syntactica').

To recognise a primary sentence in the text, one must use the criteria of elementary sentence-structure identification applied to the notional constituents of the sentence, irrespective of the functional meanings rendered by it. For instance, the notionally minimal negative sentence should be classed as primary, though not quite elementary (kernel) in the paradigmatic sense, negation being not a notional, but a functional sentence factor. Cf.:

I have met the man. I have not met the man. I have never met the man.

Any composite (or semi-composite) sentence is analysable into two or more primary sentences (i.e. sentences elementary in the notional sense). E.g.:

Is it a matter of no consequence that I should find you with a young man wearing my pyjamas? «- Is it a matter of no consequence?+I should find you with a (young) man.+ The (young) man is wearing my pyjamas.

The kernel sentence can also have its representation in speech, being embodied by the simplest sentential construction not only in the notional, but also in the functional sense. In other words, it is an elementary sentence which is non-interrogative, non-imperative, non-negative, non-modal, etc. In short, in terms of syntactic oppositions, this is the 'weakest'

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construction in the predicative oppositional space of the primary syntactic system.

§ 7. The predicative functions expressed by primary sentence patterns should be divided into the two types: first, lower functions; second, higher functions. The lower functions include the expression of such morphological categories as tenses and aspects; these are of 'factual', 'truth-stating' semantic character. The higher functions are 'evaluative' in the broad sense of the word; they immediately express the functional semantics of relating the nominative content of the sentence to reality.

The principal predicative functions expressed by syntactic categorial oppositions are the following.

First, question as opposed to statement. Second, inducement as opposed to statement. Third, negation as opposed to affirmation. Fourth, unreality as opposed to reality. Fifth, probability as opposed to fact. Sixth, modal identity (seem to do, happen to do, prove to do, etc.) as opposed to fact. Seventh, modal subject-action relation as opposed to fact (can do, may do, etc.). Eighth, specified actual subject-action relation as opposed to fact. Ninth, phase of action as opposed to fact. Tenth, passive action as opposed to active action. Eleventh, specialised actual division (specialised perspective) as opposed to non-specialised actual division (non-specialised perspective). Twelfth, emphasis (emotiveness) as opposed to emotional neutrality (unemotiveness).

Each opposition of the cited list forms a categorial set which is rather complex. For instance, within the framework of the question-statement opposition, pronominal and alternative questions are identified with their manifold varieties; within the system of phase of action, specialised subsets are identified rendering the phase of beginning, the phase of duration, the phase of end, etc. The total supersystem of all the pattern-forms of a given sentence base constitutes its general syntactic paradigm of predicative functions. This paradigm is, naturally, extremely complicated so that it is hardly observable if presented on a diagram. This fact shows that the volume of functional meanings rendered by a sentence even on a very high level of syntactic generalisation is tremendous. At the same time the derivation of each functional sentence-form in its paradigmatically determined position in the system is simple enough in the sense that it is quite explicit. This shows the dynamic essence of the paradigm

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in question; the paradigm exactly answers the needs of expression at every given juncture of actual communication.

§ 8. All the cited oppositions-categories may or may not be represented in a given utterance by their strong function-members. In accord with this oppositional regularity, we advance the notion of the 'predicative load' of the sentence. The predicative load is determined by the total volume of the strong members of predicative oppositions (i.e. by the sum of positive values of the corresponding differential features) actually represented in the sentence.

The sentence, by definition, always expresses predication, being a predicative unit of language. But, from the point of view of the comparative volume of the predicative meanings actually expressed, the sentence may be predicatively 'loaded' or 'non-loaded'. If the sentence is predicatively 'non-loaded', it means that its construction is kernel elementary on the accepted level of categorial generalisation. Consequently, such a sentence will be characterised in oppositional terms as non-interrogative, non-inducive, non-negative, non-real, non-probable, non-modal-identifying, etc., down to the last of the recognised predicative oppositions. If, on the other hand, the sentence is predicatively 'loaded', it means that it renders at least one of the strong oppositional meanings inherent in the described categorial system. Textual observations show that predicative loads amounting to one or two positive feature values (strong oppositional members) may be characterised as more or less common; hence, we consider such a load as 'light' and, correspondingly, say that the sentence in this case is predicatively 'lightly' loaded. As for sentences whose predicative load exceeds two positive feature values, they stand out of the common, their functional semantics showing clear signs of intricacy. Accordingly, we consider such loads as 'heavy', and of sentences characterised by these loads we say that they are 'heavily' loaded. Predicative loads amounting to four feature values occur but occasionally, they are too complicated to be naturally grasped by the mind.

To exemplify the cited theses, let us take as a derivation sentence-base the construction 'The thing bothers me'. This sentence, in the above oppositional sense, is predicatively 'non-loaded', or has the 'zero predicative load'. The predicative structure of the sentence can be expanded by the expression of the modal subject-action relation, for instance,

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the ability relation. The result is: 'The thing can bother me'; the predicative load of the sentence has grown to 1. This construction, in its turn, can be used as a derivation base for a sentence of a higher predicative complexity; for instance, the feature of unreality can be added to it: 'The thing could bother me (now)'. The predicative load of the sentence has grown to 2. Though functionally not simple, the sentence still presents a more or less ordinary English construction. To continue with our complicating it, we may introduce in the sentence the feature of passivity: 'I could be bothered (by the thing now)'. The predicative semantics expressed has quite clearly changed into something beyond the ordinary; the sentence requires a special context to sound natural. Finally, to complicate the primary construction still further, we may introduce a negation in it: 'I could not be bothered (by the thing now)'. As a result we are faced by a construction that, in the contextual conditions of real speech, expresses an intricate set of functional meanings and stylistic connotations. Cf.:

'Wilmet and Henrietta Bentworth have agreed to differ already.' — 'What about?' — 'Well, I couldn't be bothered, but I think it was about the P.M., or was it Portulaca? — they differ about everything' (J. Galsworthy).

The construction is indeed semantically complicated; but all its meaningful complexity is linguistically resolved by the demonstrated semantico-syntactic oppositional analysis showing the stage-to-stage growth of the total functional meaning of the sentence in the course of its paradigmatic derivation.



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