Syntax

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Syntax is the field of linguistics that studies the rules of language which dictate how different parts of sentences go together. According to many language theorists, ``syntax is the branch of linguistics that concentrates on the formation of sentences``. (Haegeman, 2006:4). 

Many linguists indicate that ``syntax is the scientific study of sentence structure``. (Carnie, 2011:3).  According to them, ``syntax means sentence construction: how words group together to make phrases and sentences``. (Tallerman, 2011:1). Grammar controls the function of each word. Syntax, however, is a larger, more flexible calculus. It controls the order of words in each unique human utterance. Some linguistic experts indicate that ``syntax is a strategy, an arrangement of constituent parts, the manner in which the fundament and its dependent adjuncts, large or small, are developed``. (Bryan Voigt, 2009:8).

A lot of scholars point out that ``the term syntax is from the Ancient Greek syntaxis, a verbal noun which literally means arrangement or setting out together``. (Van Valin and Lapolla, 1997:1). All languages have syntax, although that syntax may look radically different from that of English.  In English language, certain kinds of words can only appear in certain positions. This arrangement of words does not carry the same importance in all languages. That`s why some language experts emphasize that in English language ``the sentence which is not syntactically well formed is said to be ungrammatical``. (Thomas, 1993:3).

 Syntax   tries to explain and to describe human beings` ability to think and to form sentences in order to express abstract thought process. Because of that, the study of syntax is an important foundation stone for comprehending how we communicate and interact with each other.  Syntax analyzes how language is actually used and it tries to define rules that describe what different language communities consider to be grammatical or non-grammatical. This branch of linguistics deals with a number of things, all of which help to facilitate being understood and understanding the language. Without rules of syntax, there would be no foundation from which to try to comprehend meaning from a bunch of words strung together. That`s why many language experts emphasize that ``the system of rules that covers the order of words in a sentence is called syntax``. (Thornoby,2009:2). 

One part of syntax studies how the end of a word might change in order to tell a listener or reader something about the role that word is playing.  Another part of syntax examines how the various parts of speech connect together. The third part of syntax covers the various parts of speech that a language uses and separates the words of the language into these groups. Each part of speech has various rules that may be applied to it, and other rules that dictate when it can`t be used. My independent study deals with this branch of syntax.  

English language has eight basic types of words which are called parts of speech. They are: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, interjections, and conjunctions. This study is concerned with investigating three different types of conjunctions.  A conjunction is a word which links words, phrases and clauses. Many language experts define conjunction as`` a word that joins other words or parts of a sentence``. (Crawley, 2005:69).  

The English language contains three grammatical forms of conjunctions that perform three grammatical functions. They are: coordinate conjunctions, correlative conjunctions, and subordinate conjunctions. The three functions of conjunctions in English are: coordinator, correlator, and subordinator.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Bryant Voigt, Ellen. (2009). The Art of Syntax – Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song. Saint Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press.
  2. Carnie, Andrew. (2011). Modern Syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  3. Crawley, Angela. (2005). Elementary Learner`s Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  4. Haegeman, Liliane. (2006). Thinking Syntatically – A Guide to Argumentation and Analysis. Oxford: Blackwell Publishings.
  5. Tallerman, Maggie. (2011). Understanding Syntax. London: Hodder Education.
  6. Thomas, Linda. (1993). Beginning Syntax. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
  7. Thornoby, Scott. (2009). How to Teach Grammar. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited.
  8. Van Valin, Robert and Lapolla, Randy. (1997). Syntax –Structure, Meaning and Function.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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