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Analysing English sentences: a minimalist approach by Andrew Radford

By Andrew Radford

Analysing English Sentences presents a concise and transparent advent to present paintings in syntactic thought, drawing at the key suggestions of Chomskys Minimalist application. Assuming very little earlier wisdom of syntax or minimalism, Radford outlines the center options and major principles and the way they are often used to explain numerous facets of the syntax of English. a various diversity of themes is roofed, together with syntactic constitution, null ingredients, head flow, case and contract and cut up projections. utilizing Radfords trademark method and writing kind, the e-book is extensive and revolutionary in nature, introducing grammatical ideas and dealing in levels in the direction of extra advanced phenomena.

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Extra resources for Analysing English sentences: a minimalist approach

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If no movement operations took place in the relevant sentence, we should expect to find the word order Thou shalt drink seawater, with the auxiliary shalt immediately preceding its complement drink seawater, and the verb drink immediately preceding its complement seawater, in keeping with the assumption that Elizabethan English has a head first setting for the Head Position Parameter. However, the noun seawater undergoes a fronting/preposing operation in order to highlight it, and this means that instead of occupying its canonical position immediately after the verb drink, it is instead moved to a new position at the front of the overall sentence.

Languages quite successfully even though no special care is taken to teach them and no special attention is given to their progress. (Chomsky 1965, pp. 200 1) The implication is that we don’t learn to have a native language, any more than we learn to have arms or legs; the ability to acquire a native language is part of our genetic endowment – just like the ability to learn to walk. Studies of language acquisition lend empirical support to the innateness hypothesis. Research has suggested that there is a critical period for the acquisition of syntax, in the sense that children who learn a given language before puberty generally achieve native competence in it, whereas those who acquire a (first or second) language after the age of 9 or 10 years rarely manage to achieve native-like syntactic competence.

But although there are universal principles which determine the broad outlines of the grammar of natural languages, there also seem to be language-particular aspects of grammar which children have to learn as part of the task of acquiring their native language. Thus, language acquisition involves not only lexical learning, but also some grammatical learning. Let’s take a closer look at the grammatical learning involved, and what it tells us about the language acquisition process. Clearly, grammatical learning is not going to involve learning those aspects of grammar which are determined by universal (hence innate) grammatical operations and principles.

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