Grammatical structure of the language. Grammatical meaning and grammatical form. Grammatical category.

We use the term Grammar : 1. To denote the structure of L. 2.To denote the science of the structure of L.

1. Gr is part of L which exists independently in Lgs. All Ls have grammar. All L- users possess the knowledge of Gr.

2. Gr is part of the linguistic theory. Exists only for those Ls which have been theoretically investigated and described. Most native speakers lack knowledge of Gr as academic subject. Traditionally, Gr has been subdivided into morphology (Ms, W Fs, Ws, Ps S) and syntax (W comb-s, sent-s, texts). Phonology and semantics are included by foreign linguists.

There exist several ways of looking upon language which is connected with different types of schools:

1) Formal (deals with structure)

2) Semantic (deals with meaning)

3) Formal+Semantic approach (considers both structure and meaning)

4) Functional approach (there are 2 possibilities: form=> function; function=>form)

The grammatical structure

Words are arranged into utterances base on sentences. There are different means of building sentences.

4 means that form the gr-l structure of the sentence:

1) W change (I see-saw-seen (tense), read-reads (person))

2) W order (The dog beat the man – The man beat the dog (changes Mg))

3) Function Ws (служебные слова) – auxiliary Ws, prep, art, etc. (He lives in / outside London)

4) Intonation (You are students? ↑↓)

The system of all these 4 means signaling relations between Ws in a S forms the gr-l structure of a L. Sometimes all the 4 means are employed. In Russian – intonation, word order.

 Gr-l meanings and gr-l forms.

Every W in a S has a certain lexical Mg, Many Ws when used in a S possess a more general, more abstract Mg, The abstract meaning is extracted from the lexical Mg. (book-books, dog-dogs, boy-boys; sees – saw, sends – sent, works- worked) Such abstract Mgs that can be analyzed using the opposition are called Gr-l Mgs. W forms which can be characterized by having a Gr-l Mg are called Gr-l forms.


The notion of gr-l category is widely discussed in classical and modern grammars and appears one of the most complicated problems. There is no uniform opinion as to what units of L can represent a Gr-l category.

Productive opinion in modern gr-l theories. Its main advantage is that it takes into consideration both form and Mg of a grammatical unit in their interrelation. Thus, it registers both sintagmatic and paradigmatic relations of linguistic units. The basic ideas of g.c.:

1) The notion of gr-l category applies to the plan of content of morphological paradigmatic units.

2) The general notion. One form has a marker, the other – doesn’t. G.c. includes both form and meaning, but the grammatical meaning is considered to be the basic item for discussion.

3) Gr-l categories don’t nominate objects. They express relations, that’s why gr-l categories are studied in terms of opposition.

4) Gr-l categories are not universal. Every language has particular g.c-s. Existance of g.c-s reflects universals of human thinking.

3. Means of form-building. Synthetic and analytical forms.

1. Suffixatlon

s [s][z ][lz] we employ it to create: a) plural of Ns (dog-dogs) b) genitive of Ns (John - John's) c) 3rd pers sg in Vs d) the absolute form of possessive proNs (hers)
-ed [d][t][id] a) the past tense of regular Vs b) past participle
- ing the present participle and the qerund
-er comparative degree of adjectives
-est superlative degree of adjectives
-en a) only in 'oxen' b) sometimes - past participle of irregular Vs (spoken)
-ren Children
-ne Mine
-m in the objective case of personal proNs 'he'&'they' (him, them)

1-5: productive suffixes, the rest: non-productive, their use is confined to 1-2 Ws Their general characteristics:

1)small number of inflectional suffixes, high frequency of use

2)broad application

3)many homonymous suffixes

4)many English W-forms are characterized by absence of any suffix (this is considered significant by some gr-rians, eg всеми любимый Бахударов или как он там пишется: no special mph in the sg but meaning of 1ness is nevertheless present - the zero mph. To create a pl form we employ suffixes, so the gram meaning of pl-ty is expressed by this mph)

2. Morpho-phonemic alteration (MphA) A meaningful change of vowel or consonants within a mph. MphA occurs within a root of a W. Used to express a certain gr meaning. Foot - feet, take - took Not productive in modern English - majority of new Ws tend to employ suffixation.

3. Supplition (Sp)

The extreme case of MphA. The phonetic root of the W changes completely. Not productive, limited to the Ws: Be - was/were - been Go - went - gone Good - better - best Bad - worse - worst I - me We - us She - her

All the means of W-building are synthetic by nature, they show relations btw Ws by the change of the W itself.

A W-form can be analytical by str-re (consists of more than 1 W: is going). Equivalent to 1 W, expresses one unified content of a W (from the point of view of both gr and lex meaning). Distinctive sign of an analytical form is discontinuous mph

Eg: perfect forms (have+ -ed), Continuous (be+ -ing), Passive (be+ -ed)

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