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 Ling 131: Language & Style

Topic 4 (session A) - The grammar of simple sentences > Session overview

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Session Overview
What is/are grammar(s) (for)?
Style, meaning and the structure of sentences
SPOCA analysis and what it can show
Subject manipulation in text
SPOCA checksheet
SPOCA Self Test
Topic 4 'tool' Summary
Useful Links

What will we learn in this topic?


So far in our exploration of the use of grammar in texts we have looked at:
(i) word classes and how foregrounding effects can be produced by changing the word class that a word normally belongs to,
(ii) how the four major word classes (noun, verb, adjective, adverb) act as the 'central focus' (headword) of four major kinds of phrase (noun phrase, verb phrase, adjective phrase, adverb phrase) and
(iii) how the fifth major kind of phrase (the prepositional phrase) consists of a preposition with a noun phrase acting as its complement.

Session A

In this topic we will explore how these five kinds of phrases are linked together to form simple sentences. We will begin by working with our intuitions, to help show how the ordering of the constituents of simple sentences can be varied to produce deviations (and so foregrounding). But most of our effort in this topic will be focused on understanding how the grammar of simple sentences works, so that we can use this form of analysis later in this topic, and in future topics, to help us describe how meanings and effects can be created using simple sentence grammar.

The simple sentences we discuss in this session can, in turn, be joined together in various ways to form more complex sentences. When this happens, the 'simple sentence' parts of the more complex sentences are often referred to as clauses, and we will look at some clauses (extracted from more complex sentences from Ted Hughes's poem 'Esther's Tomcat') in our first main page in this topic. But we will not deal with the structure of more complex sentences until a later session in the course.

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