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General Linguistics, Hogeschool Rotterdam, LERO, Engels


The ability to combine elements to create new elements


the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences. AKA Someone's knowledge of sentences and structure.

Syntax describes..

Meaning and arrangement

Structural ambiguity

when words are combined and the rules allow for ambiguity or confusion:
The ancient history teacher or the ancient history teacher (teacher of ancient history)

Rules of syntax show (4 things)

1. Grammatical relations among words
2. order and hierarchical organization
3. how groupings of words relate to meaning
4. Produce and allow us to understand a limitless number of sentences


The natural groupings of a sentence

Constituency Test

If a group of words can stand alone
The puppy played in the garden = " the puppy played" can stand alone

Noun Phrase

functions as a subject or object, often contains a determiner

Verb phrase

contains a verb, an NP or Prep. Phrase, AdjP, AdvP

Syntactic Lexical categories

Noun, Verb, Preposition, Adjective, Adverb

Syntactic Functional categories

Determiner, articles, demonstratives, auxiliaries

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