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Introduction, Important Definitions and Related Concepts:
An object in grammar is a sentence element and part of the sentence predicate. It denotes somebody or something involved in the subject's "performance" of the verb. As an example, the following sentence is given: In the sentence "Bobby kicked the ball", "ball" is the object. "Bobby" is the subject, the doer or performer, while "kick" is the action, and "ball" is the object involved in the action. The main verb in the sentence determines whether there can or must be objects in the sentence, and if so how many and of what type. (See also Valency (linguistics).) In many languages, however, including English, the same verb can allow multiple different structures; for example, "Bobby kicked", "Bobby kicked the ball", and "Bobby kicked me the ball" are all valid English sentences. Grammar is the study of the rules governing the use of any given spoken language, and, as such, is a field of linguistics. Traditionally, grammar included morphology and syntax; in modern linguistics these subfields are complemented by phonetics, phonology, semantics, and pragmatics. Each language has its own distinct grammar. "English grammar" (uncountable) refers to the rules of the English language itself, while "an English grammar" (countable) refers to a specific study or analysis of these rules. A fully explicit grammar exhaustively describing the grammatical constructions of a language is called a descriptive grammar. Specific types of grammars, or approaches to constructing them, are known as grammatical frameworks. The standard framework of generative grammar is the transformational grammar model developed by Noam Chomsky in the 1950s to 1980s. A reference book that attempts a comprehensive description of the grammar of a language may be called "a grammar" or "a reference grammar". Sentence commonly refers to a grammatical unit of language. Element (grammar), any word, part of a word, or group of words that recurs in various contexts in a language with relatively constant meaning. In traditional grammar, a predicate is one of the two main parts of a sentence (the other being the subject, which the predicate modifies). In current linguistic semantics, a predicate is an expression that can be true of something. Thus, the expressions "is yellow" or "like broccoli" are true of those things that are yellow or like broccoli, respectively. The latter notion is closely related to the notion of a predicate in formal logic, and includes more expressions than the former one, like, for example, nouns and some kinds of adjectives. In syntax, a verb is a word (part of speech) that usually denotes an action (bring, read), an occurrence (decompose, glitter), or a state of being (exist, stand). Depending on the language, a verb may vary in form according to many factors, possibly including its tense, aspect, mood and voice. It may also agree with the person, gender, and/or number of some of its arguments (subject, object, etc.). According to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle, every sentence can be divided in two main constituents, one being the subject of the sentence and the other being its predicate. In English, subjects govern agreement on the verb or auxiliary verb that carries the main tense of the sentence, as exemplified by the difference in verb forms between he eats and they eat. The subject has the grammatical function in a sentence of relating its constituent (a noun phrase) by means of the verb to any other elements present in the sentence, i.e. objects, complements and adverbials. The subject is a phrasal constituent, and should be distinguished from parts of speech, which, roughly, classify words within constituent. In linguistics, verb valency or valence refers to the number of arguments controlled by a verbal predicate. It is related, though not identical, to verb transitivity, which counts only object arguments of the verbal predicate. Verb valency, on the other hand, includes all arguments, including the subject of the verb. The linguistic meaning of valence is derived from the definition of valency in chemistry. This metaphor is due to Lucien Tesnière. Linguistics is the science and philosophy of language. It approaches language through meaning, discourse, semiotics (or social signification), as well as through existing narrative and grammatical structures. The recent study of semiotics and discourse have introduced linguistics to the more metaphysical and sociological perspectives available today, making it open to a wide range of inter-disciplinary subjects and approaches within the realm of the human sciences. Someone who engages with language is often called a linguist. The potential of linguistics lies in its possibilities for comparing cultural usages in order to explore lingual trends and social constructs. It explores histories to arrive at universals, and it examines the aesthetics of various styles in these literary and cultural discourses. It also attempts to account for the development of specific words and utterances through the way they have been used. Linguistic inquiry may be pursued through a variety of intellectual disciplines. Although mainstream trends have attempted to make the field an exclusive one, linguistic study like all other human sciences, draws its resources from a number of inter-dependent subjects such as sociology, literature, history, art, philosophy, anthropology and aesthetics. Narrative studies works on the theory of the narrative, or narratology. The study of narratives might help us to understand how the narratives and structures, that texts are based on, shape our social visions and perspectives. Narrative studies also throw light on what influences the arrangement of words-in-a-sequence, and how a narrative might be sociologically symbolic. Discourse, or parole (in French, meaning ‘the spoken word’), provides an understanding of language on the basis of how it has actually been used – socially, culturally, in literary texts, in the media, and through the paradigms of power, gender, politics, race, sexuality and aesthetic tastes. Semiotics is the study of the relationship between signs and what they signify: the abstract ideas, feelings, desires and needs that are manifested through the conscious and sub-conscious expression, choice of words and styles, represented in not just written, signed or verbal texts, but in media, art, fashion and history. The study of these signs might lead us to understand what lies behind them, and what they represent. From the perspective of semiotics, one could think that language is the sign or symbol and the world its representation. Semantics is the study of meaning. In linguistics, it attempts to understand the meaning behind texts, utterances, usages and words either through a structuralist perspective or a post-structuralist one. The linguistic analysis of structure is usually done through grammatical description and deconstruction, involving areas like morphology (formation and alteration of words), syntax (formation and alteration that help words to combine into phrases and sentences), phonology (the study of sound systems and abstract sound units), phonetics (which is concerned with the actual properties of speech sounds called phones), non-speech sounds, and the study of how these elements are produced and perceived. Applied linguistics attempts to put linguistic theories into practice through areas like translation, stylistics, literary criticism and theory, discourse analysis, speech therapy, speech pathology and foreign language teaching. English is an Indo-European, West Germanic language originating in England, and is the first language for most people in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the Anglophone Caribbean. It is used extensively as a second language and as an official language throughout the world, especially in Commonwealth countries and in many international organizations. Modern English is sometimes described as the first global lingua franca. English is the dominant international language in communications, science, business, aviation, entertainment, radio and diplomacy. The influence of the British Empire is the primary reason for the initial spread of the language far beyond the British Isles. Since World War II, the growing economic and cultural influence of the United States has significantly accelerated the adoption of English. A working knowledge of English is required in certain fields, professions, and occupations. As a result, over a billion people speak English at least at a basic level (see English language learning and teaching). English is one of six official languages of the United Nations. A rewrite rule (phrase-structure rule or production) in generative grammar is a rule of the form A → X where A is a syntactic category label, such as noun phrase or sentence, and X is a sequence of such labels and/or morphemes, expressing the fact that A can be replaced by X in generating the constituent structure of a sentence. A spoken language is a human natural language in which the words are uttered through the mouth. Most human languages are spoken languages. Speech communication stands in contrast to sign language and written language. From the point of view of linguistic evolution, spoken is prior to written language. The writing system of any language is developed or "invented" by its users to record speech when the need arises. Even today, there are many world languages that can be spoken but have no standard written form. Hearing persons acquire their first language by way of spoken language. Writing is learned later. In linguistics, spoken language reveals many true features of human speech. Transcripts of actual speech show numerous hesitancies which are usually glossed over in written forms of 'speech' such as screenplays. Thus linguists' data for investigation and analysis are mostly drawn from everyday speech, which they regard as authentic. Even from the point of view of syntax, spoken language usually has its own set of grammar patterns which sometimes may be quite different from that in written language. Sign languages have the same natural origin as spoken languages, and the same grammatical complexities, but use the hands, arms, and face rather than parts of the mouth as their place of articulation. Morphology is the field of linguistics that studies the internal structure of words. (Words as units in the lexicon are the subject matter of lexicology.) While words are generally accepted as being (with clitics) the smallest units of syntax, it is clear that in most (if not all) languages, words can be related to other words by rules. For example, English speakers recognize that the words dog, dogs, and dog-catcher are closely related. English speakers recognize these relations from their tacit knowledge of the rules of word-formation in English. They intuit that dog is to dogs as cat is to cats; similarly, dog is to dog-catcher as dish is to dishwasher. The rules understood by the speaker reflect specific patterns (or regularities) in the way words are formed from smaller units and how those smaller units interact in speech. In this way, morphology is the branch of linguistics that studies patterns of word-formation within and across languages, and attempts to formulate rules that model the knowledge of the speakers of those languages. In linguistics, syntax (from Ancient Greek συν- syn-, “together”, and τάξις táxis, “arrangement”) is the study of the principles and rules for constructing sentences in natural language. In addition to referring to the discipline, the term syntax is also used to refer to the particular rules and principles that govern the sentence structure of a language, as in "the syntax of Modern Irish". Modern research in syntax attempts to describe languages (Descriptive linguistics) in terms of such rules, and, for many professionals in the discipline, for finding general rules that apply to all natural languages. Since the field of syntax attempts to explain and describe grammatical structures this area of research is not concerned with linguistic prescription. The term syntax is also sometimes used to refer to the rules governing the behavior of mathematical systems, such as logic, artificial formal languages, and computer programming languages. Phonetics (from the Greek φωνή (phonê) "sound" or "voice") is the study of the physical sounds of human speech. It is concerned with the physical properties of speech sounds (phones), and the processes of their physiological production, auditory reception, and neurophysiological perception. Phonetics was studied as early as 2,500 years ago in ancient India, with Pāṇini's account of the place and manner of articulation of consonants in his 5th century BC treatise on Sanskrit. The major Indic alphabets today order their consonants according to Pāṇini's classification. Phonology (Greek φωνή (phōnē), voice, sound + λόγος (lógos), word, speech, subject of discussion), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language (or languages). Whereas phonetics is about the physical production and perception of the sounds of speech, phonology describes the way sounds function within a given language or across languages. An important part of phonology is studying which sounds are distinctive units within a language. In English, for example, /p/ and /b/ are distinctive units of sound, (i.e., they are phonemes / the difference is phonemic, or phonematic). This can be seen from minimal pairs such as "pin" and "bin", which mean different things, but differ only in one sound. On the other hand, /p/ is often pronounced differently depending on its position relative to other sounds, yet these different pronunciations are still considered by native speakers to be the same "sound". For example, the /p/ in "pin" is aspirated while the same phoneme in "spin" is not. In some other languages, for example Thai and Quechua, this same difference of aspiration or non-aspiration does differentiate phonemes. In addition to the minimal meaningful sounds (the phonemes), phonology studies how sounds alternate, such as the /p/ in English described above, and topics such as syllable structure, stress, accent, and intonation. The principles of phonological theory have also been applied to the analysis of sign languages, even though the phonological units do not consist of sounds. The principles of phonological analysis can be applied independently of modality because they are designed to serve as general analytical tools, not language-specific ones. Semantics is the study of meaning in communication. The word derives from Greek σημαντικός (semantikos), "significant", from σημαίνω (semaino), "to signify, to indicate" and that from σήμα (sema), "sign, mark, token". In linguistics it is the study of interpretation of signs as used by agents or communities within particular circumstances and contexts. It has related meanings in several other fields. Semanticists differ on what constitutes meaning in an expression. For example, in the sentence, "John loves a bagel", the word bagel may refer to the object itself, which is its literal meaning or denotation, but it may also refer to many other figurative associations, such as how it meets John's hunger, etc., which may be its connotation. Traditionally, the formal semantic view restricts semantics to its literal meaning, and relegates all figurative associations to pragmatics, but this distinction is increasingly difficult to defend. The degree to which a theorist subscribes to the literal-figurative distinction decreases as one moves from the formal semantic, semiotic, pragmatic, to the cognitive semantic traditions. The word semantic in its modern sense is considered to have first appeared in French as sémantique in Michel Bréal's 1897 book, Essai de sémantique'. In International Scientific Vocabulary semantics is also called semasiology. The discipline of Semantics is distinct from Alfred Korzybsky's General Semantics, which is a system for looking at non-immediate, or abstract meanings. Pragmatics is the study of the ability of natural language speakers to communicate more than that which is explicitly stated. The ability to understand another speaker's intended meaning is called pragmatic competence. An utterance describing pragmatic function is described as metapragmatic. Another perspective is that pragmatics deals with the ways we reach our goal in communication. Suppose, a person wanted to ask someone else to stop smoking. This can be achieved by using several utterances. The person could simply say, 'Stop smoking, please!' which is direct and with clear semantic meaning; alternatively, the person could say, 'Whew, this room could use an air purifier' which implies a similar meaning but is indirect and therefore requires pragmatic inference to derive the intended meaning. Pragmatics is regarded as one of the most challenging aspects for language learners to grasp, and can only truly be learned with experience. Main Entry:
of or relating to grammar 2 : conforming to the rules of grammar <a grammatical sentence> — gram·mat·i·cal·i·ty \-ˌma-tə-ˈka-lə-tē\ noun — gram·mat·i·cal·ly \-ˈma-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb — gram·mat·i·cal·ness \-kəl-nəs\ noun.
serving to describe <a descriptive account> referring to, constituting, or grounded in matters of observation or experience <the descriptive basis of science> factually grounded or informative rather than normative, prescriptive, or emotive <descriptive cultural studies>3of a modifier.
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