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included in the noun and adjective-groups. Modal and auxiliary verbs in verb-groups are referred to as "leading verbs".

The new assumptions made by E. Kruisinga are of undoubted interest. There are however, disputable points in the discussion of the close groups where the author does not confine himself to one basis for the establishment of verb-phrases which in this part of analysis leads to certain inadequacy of the classification. But on the whole the book-has notable merits.

Among the authors of classical scientific English grammars of the modern period mention must be made about C. T. Onion's Advanced English Syntax (London, 1904). The main facts of current English syntax are presented here in a systematic form in accordance with the principles of parallel grammar series. English syntax is arranged in two parts. Part I contains a treatment of syntactical phenomena based on the analysis of sentences. Part II classifies the uses of forms.

While dealing mainly with the language of the modern period, C. T. Onion endeavoured to make the book of use to the student of early modern English by giving an account of some notable archaic and obsolete constructions. Historical matter in some parts of his book adds interest to the treatment of particular constructions and important points in syntax development.

To this period belong also L. G. Kimball's Structure of the English Sentence (New York, 1900) and H. R. Stokoe's Understanding of Syntax which appeared in 1937.

All these scholars differ from prescriptive grammarians in their non-legislative approach to the description of English structure trying to gain a deeper insight into its nature.

A wealth of linguistic material describing the structure of English is presented in such scientific grammars of the modern period as H. Poutsma's Grammar of Late Modern English (1926), E. Kruisinga's Handbook of Present-day (1931) and R. W. Zandvoort's Handbook of English Grammar (1948).

Structural and Transformational Grammars

Structural grammarians have abandoned many of the commonly held views of grammar. With regard to the methodology employed their linguistic approach differs from former treatments in language learning. Structural grammatical studies deal primarily with the "grammar of structure", and offer an approach to the problems of "sentence analysis" that differs in point of view and in emphasis from the usual treatment of syntax.

Treating the problems of the structure of English with criticism of traditional conventional grammars, Ch. Fries considers, for instance, that prescriptive and scholarly grammars belong to a "prescientific era" 1.

According to Ch. Fries, the new approach — the application of two of the methods of structural linguistics, distributional analysis and substitution makes it possible to dispense with the usual eight parts

1 See: Ch. Fries. The Structure of English. London, 1959, p. 1.


of speech. He classifies words into four "form-classes", designated by numbers, and fifteen groups of "function words", designated by letters. The four major parts of speech (Noun, Verb, Adjective, Adverb) set up by the process of substitution in Ch. Fries recorded material are thus given no names except numbers: class 1, class 2, class 3, class 4. The four classes correspond roughly to what most grammarians call nouns and pronouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs, though Ch. Fries especially warns the reader against the attempt to translate the statements which the latter finds in the book into the old grammatical terms. The group of function words contains not only prepositions and conjunctions, but also certain specific words that more traditional grammarians would class as a particular kind of pronouns, adverbs and verbs.

Assumptions have been made by Ch. Fries that all words which can occupy the same set of positions in the patterns of English single free utterances must belong to the same part of speech. These four classes make up the "bulk" of functioning units in structural patterns of English. Then come fifteen groups of so-called function-words which have certain characteristics in common. In the mere matter of number of items the fifteen groups differ sharply from the four classes. In the four large classes the lexical meanings of the words depend on the arrangement in which these words appear. In function-words it is usually difficult if not impossible to indicate a lexical meaning apart from the structural meaning which these words signal.

Ch. Fries very rightly points out that one cannot produce a book dealing with language without being indebted to many who have earlier studied the problems and made great advances. He acknowledged the immeasurable stimulation and insight received from L. Bloomfield. The influence of classical scientific and prescriptive grammars on some of his views of language is also quite evident.

According to Ch. Fries, this material covers the basic matters of English structure.

Ch. Fries gives examples of the various kinds of "function-words" that operate in "positions" other than those of four classes given above, giving identifying letters to each of the different groups included here.

The first test frame (Group A) includes all the words for the position in which the word the occurs.

Group A (The)

Group A (The)









Class 2

is/was are/were

Class 3

Class 3 good Class 4



























three, etc.


Some of these "words" (one, all, both, two, three, four, that, those, some, John's, etc.) may also appear in the positions of Class 1 words; all and both may occur before the. Group A consists of all words that can occupy the position of the in this particular test frame. The words in this position all occur with Class 1 words. Structurally, when they appear in this "position", they serve as markers of Class 1 words. Sometimes they are called "determiners".

The second test frame includes, according to traditional terminology, modal verbs:

Group Class Group Class Class Class

A 1 В 2 3 4

The concert (may) (be) (good) might can could will would should must

has (been) has to (be)

Words of group В all go with Class 2 words and only with Class 2 words. Structurally, when they appear in this position, they serve as markers of Class 2 words and also, in special formulas, they signal some meanings which, according to Ch. Fries, should be included as structural.

For group С Fries has but one word not. (This not differs from the not included in group E).

Group Class Group Group Class Class A 1 В С 2 3

The concert may not be good

Group D includes words that can occur in the position of very immediately before a class 3 word in the following test frame:

Croup Class Group Group Class Group Class Class

A 1 В С 2 D 3 4

The concert may not be very good then

quite, awfully really, awful real, any pretty, too fairly, more rather, most

Although each of the fifteen groups set up here differs quite markedly from every other group, they all have certain characteristics in common — characteristics which make them different from the four classes of words identified previously.

1. In the mere matter of number of items the fifteen groups differ sharply from the four classes. The four classes together contain thousands of separate items. Ch. Fries found no difficulty whatever in selecting from his long lists a hundred of different items of each of the


four classes as examples. On the other hand, the total number of the separate items from his materials making up the fifteen groups amounted to only 154.

2. In the four large classes, the lexical meanings of the separate words are rather clearly separable from the structural meanings of the arrangements in which these words appear. According to Fries, in the words of these fifteen groups it is usually difficult if not impossible to indicate a lexical meaning apart from the structural meaning which these words signal.

The frames used to test the "words" were taken from the minimum free utterances extracted from the "situation" utterance units (not the "response" utterance units) of the recorded materials. It is important to observe, Ch. Fries points out, that the four parts of speech indicated above account for practically all the positions in these minimum free utterances. In the sentence frames used for testing, only the one position occupied by the word the has not been explored; and, as shown in the modified frame structure, this position is optional rather than essential in the "minimum" free utterances. All the other kinds of words belong then in "expanded" free utterances.

The material which furnished the linguistic evidence for the analysis and discussions of the book were primarily some fifty hours of mechanically recorded conversations on a great range of topics — conversations bу some three hundred different speakers in which the participants were entirely unaware that their speech was being recorded. These mechanical records were transcribed for convenient study, and roughly indexed so as to facilitate reference to the original discs recording the actual speech. The treatment here is thus also limited by the fact that it is based upon this circumscribed body of material. Altogether these mechanically recorded conversions amounted to something over 250,000 running words.

The book presents a major linguistic interest as an experiment rather than for its achievements.

It is to be noted that the material recorded in the book is fairly homogeneous in kind. Ch. Fries confines himself to one basis for the establishment of form-classes and this brings out the practical limitations of his interesting method. Other debatable points of the material presented are: arbitrary counting of different positions as identical and ignoring morphology where it bears upon syntax.

Structural linguistics is known to have its varieties and schools. The Prague School headed by N. Trubetzkoy and R. Jakobson has contributed to the development of modern structural linguistics on a word-wide scale. Neutralisation as a linguistic concept by which we mean suspension of otherwise functioning oppositions was first introduced into modern linguistics by N. Trubetzkoy who presented an important survey of the problem of phonology in his "Grundzüge der Phonologie" edited in Prague in 1939. This has been widely influential in many European linguistic circles, and many of the basic ideas of the school have diffused very widely, far beyond the group that originally came together around N. Trubetzkoy.


Trubetzkoy's idea of neutralisation in phonology may be briefly summarised as follows:

  1. If in a language two sounds occur in the same position and can be substituted for each other without changing the meaning of the word, such sounds are optional variants of one and the same phoneme.

  2. If two sounds occur in the same position and cannot be substituted for each other without changing the meaning of the word or distorting it beyond recognition, these two sounds are phonetic realisations of two different phonemes.

  3. If two similar sounds never occur in the same position, they are positional variants of the same phoneme.

An opposition existing between two phonemes may under certain conditions become irrelevant. This seems to be a universal feature in language development.

Examples of neutralisation of oppositions on the phonemic level may be found in numbers. By way of illustration: the sounds [т] and [д] are different phonemes distinguishing such Russian words, for instance, as ток and док, том and дом. But the difference between the two phonemes will be neutralised if they are at the end of the word, e. g.: рот (mouth) and род (genus); [т] and [д] in these words sound alike because a voiced [д] does not occur at the end of a word in Russian.

In terms of N. Trubetzkoy's theory, opposition is defined as a functionally relevant relationship of partial difference between two partially similar elements of language. The common features of the members of the opposition make up its basis, the features that serve to differentiate them are distinctive features.

Phonological neutralisation in English may be well illustrated by the absence of contrast between final s and z after t.

Similarly, though we distinguish the English phonemes p and b in pin, bin, there is no such opposition after s, e. g.: split, splint, spray.

Where oppositions do not occur, phonemes may coalesce in their realisations and be neutralised.

Extending the concept of neutralisation to the other levels of structure seems fully justified as having a practical value in the study of language both in general linguistics and with regard to English particularly.

The most widely known is the binary "privative" opposition in which one member of the contrastive pair is characterised by the presence of a certain feature which does not exist in the other member (hence "privative"). The element possessing this feature is referred to as the "marked" (strong) member of the opposition. The "unmarked" member may either signal "absence of the marked meaning" or else be noncommittal as to its absence or presence.

The most-favoured principle of the Prague School, in the words of A. Martinet, is the principle of binarity, according to which the whole of language should be reducible to sets of binary oppositions. Perhaps the best known advocate of the theory of binary oppositions is R. Jakob-son, who has applied this kind of analysis to the Russian system of cases, to the Russian verb system, and even — as part of a discussion


of Franz Boas view of grammatical meaning — to the English verb system. In these studies, R. Jakobson analyses grammatical concepts in terms of sets of two mutually opposite grammatical categories, one of which is marked while the other is unmarked or neutral.

Intensive development of American linguistics is generally called Bloomfieldian linguistics, though not all of its principles can be traced directly to L. Bloomfield's concepts.

L. Bloomfield's book Language is a complete methodology of language study. The ideas laid down in this book were later developed by Z. S. Harris, Ch. Fries, E. A. Nida and other scholars.

The main concepts of L. Bloomfield's book may be briefly summarised as follows:

  1. Language is a workable system of signals, that is linguistic forms by means of which people communicate... "every language consists of a number of signals, linguistic forms" 1.

  2. "Every utterance contains some significant features that are not accounted for by the lexicon" 2.

  3. "No matter how simple a form we utter and how we utter it... the utterance conveys a grammatical meaning in addition to the lexical content" 3.

  4. A sentence has a grammatical meaning which does not (entirely) depend on the choice (selection) of the items of lexicon.

L. Bloomfield's statement that the meaning of a sentence is part of the morpheme arrangement, and does not entirely depend on the words used in the sentence has later been developed by Ch. Fries and N. Chomsky.

5. Grammar is a meaningful arrangement of linguistic forms from morphemes to sentences. The meaningful arrangement of forms in a language constitutes its grammar, and in general, there seem to be four ways of arranging linguistic forms: (1) order, (2) modulation: "John!" (call), "John?" (question), "John" (statement); (3) phonetic modification (do don't); (4) selection of forms which contributes the factor of meaning 4.

In the words of L. Bloomfield, the most favourite type of sentence is the "actor action" construction having two positions. These positions are not interchangeable. All the forms that can fill in a given position thereby constitute a form-class. In this manner the two main form-classes are detected: the class of nominal expressions and the class of finite verb expressions.

L. Bloomfield has shown a new approach to the breaking up of the word-stock into classes of words. "The syntactic constructions of a language mark off large classes of free forms, such as, in English, the nominative expression or the finite verb expression. The great form-classes of a language are most easily described in terms of word-classes (such as

1 L. Bloomfield. Language. London, 1969, p. 158.

2 I b i d., p. 162.

3 Ibid., p. 169.

4 Ibid., pp. 163—164.


the traditional parts of speech), because the form-class of a phrase is usually determined by one or more of the words which appear in it"1.

These long form-classes are subdivided into smaller ones.

In modern linguistic works the nominal phrase of a sentence is marked as the symbol NP, and the finite verb-phrase — as VP. The symbols N and V stand for the traditional parts of speech, nouns and verbs, although the NP may include not only nouns but their equivalents and the noun determiners (e. g.: the man, my hand, this house, I, they, something, some, others, etc.); and the VP with a transitive verb may have a NP in (took a book, sent a letter, etc.). The long form-class of N is now subdivided into: animate and inanimate, material and abstract, class nouns and proper nouns. The long form-class of V is subdivided into intransitive verbs (Vi), transitive verbs (Vt) and the latter are again divided into the V of the take-type, the give-type, the put-type and the have-type, etc.

The selection of the subclasses of N and V leads to different sentence-structures.

The grammatical schools of traditional scholarly grammar have then passed to the grammatical theories of "descriptive", "post-Bloomfieldian linguistics", to the school of grammar known as the "transformational generative grammar", initiated by Z. S. Harris who outlined a grammatical procedure which was essentially a twice-made application of two major steps: the setting up of elements, and the statement of the distribution of these elements relative to each other. The elements are thus considered relatively to each other, and on the basis of the distributional relations among them.

American linguists K. L. Pike, R. Wells, E. A. Nida, L. S. Harris and others paid special attention to formal operations, the so-called grammar discovery procedures. They endeavour to discover and describe the features and arrangement of two fundamental linguistic units (the phoneme and the morpheme as the minimal unit of grammatical structure) without recourse to meaning.

Sentence structure was represented in terms of immediate constituent analysis, explicitly introduced, though not sufficiently formalised by L. Bloomfield. The binary cutting of sentences and their phrasal constituents into IC's, the first and the most important cut being between the group of the subject and the group of the predicate, was implicit in the "parsing" and analysis of traditional grammar, as noted by many linguists commenting on the analysis. Distributional analysis was recognised as primary in importance. Linguistic procedures were directed at a twice-made application of two major steps; the setting up of elements and the statement of the distribution of these elements relative to each other, distribution being defined as the sum of all the different environments or positions of an element relative to the occurrence of other elements. The principal operation recommended, e. g. for establishing equations: a morpheme = a morpheme sequence in

1 L. Вloomfield. Op. cit., p. 190. See also: О. С. Ахманова и Г. Б. Микаэлян. Современные синтаксические теории. М., 963, pp. 22—23.


a given environment (such as man = good boy) was substitution repeated time and again 1. Distributional analysis and substitution were not something quite novel in English grammatical theory. Occurrence of an element relative to other elements, now generally referred to as "distribution", has been involved in almost every grammatical statement since Antiquity 2. But the difference between the traditional and structural approaches consists in that the former did not rely upon this method as part of an explicitly formulated theory, whereas modern linguistics has given recognition, within the theory of grammar, to the distributional principle, by which traditional grammarians were always guided in practice. The same is true of substitution. This is an entirely-formal method for discourse analysis arranged in the form of the successive procedures.

Starting with the utterances which occur in a single language community at a single time, these procedures determine what may be regarded as identical in various parts of various utterances. And this is supposed to provide a method for identifying all the utterances as relatively few stated arrangements of relatively few stated elements.

Z. S. Harris, E. A. Nida and other American linguists of Bloomfieldian school concentrate their attention on formal operations to discover and describe the features and arrangement of two fundamental linguistic units: the phoneme and the morpheme as the minimal unit of grammatical structure. Like Bloomfield, they attach major importance to spoken language laying emphasis on the fact that writing is a secondary visual representation of speech.

Language came to be viewed not as an aggregate of discrete elements but as an organised totality, a Gestalt which has a pattern of its own and whose components are interdependent and derive their significance from the system as a whole. In F. Saussure's words, language is like a game of chess", you cannot add, remove or displace any element without effecting the entire field of force.

Z. Harris presents methods of research used in descriptive, or, more exactly, structural, linguistics. It is, in fact, a discussion of the operations which the linguist may carry out in the course of his investigations, rather than a theory of the structural analysis which results from these investigations.

P. Roberts and W. N. Francis, following Ch. Fries and H. A. Gleason, are to a large degree concerned with studying patterns of organisation, or structures. They hold the view that linguistics, like physics and chemistry or, say, geology or astronomy, must be preoccupied with structure.

Returning to the traditional names of parts of speech P. Roberts and W. N. Francis establish four major classes of words and several groups of function-words, proceeding from the criteria of distribution

1 See: Z. S. Harris. Methods in Structural Linguistics. Chicago, 1961, pp. 15—16.

2 See: P. Diderichsen. The Importance of Distribution Versus Other Criteria in Linguistic Analysis. Copenhagen, 1966, pp. 270—271; see also: L. L. Iоfik, L. P. С h а k h о у a n. Readings in the Theory of English Grammar. L. 1972, p. 37.

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