Friday, November 28, 2008

Syntax: Immediate Constituents -- Revisited

You know, in syntax, we study how words are related to each other to make a bigger construction: a phrase, a clause, a sentence, or a discourse. Let's take an example from Bahasa Indonesia

"Perusahaan itu membutuhkan seorang penjahit baju wanita."

We know that this sentence has seven words as its constituents. Some words in this sentence have more than one morpheme as the constituents. The term "immediate constituents" refer to the constituents that come closer to each other. We can break the sentence above based on its immediate constituents. Remember, based on syntactic rule, a sentence consists of Noun Phrase (NP) and Verb Phrase (VP). With this is the base, then we have binary cutting system, that is dividing a construction two by two until the construction is not dividable anymore. In the example above:

Perusahaan itu = NP,

Membutuhkan seorang penjahit baju wanita = VP.

"Perusahaan itu" and "membutuhkan seorang penjahit baju wanita" are immediate constituents of the sentence.

"Perusahaan" and "itu" are ultimate constituents of the immediate constituents "Perusahaan itu".

And so on…


Then, why do we bother learning or analyzing the immediate constituents?

One of the reasons is that this will help us handle a syntactic or grammatical ambiguity. Have a look at the example above again. Does the company need a female tailor? Or Does it need a tailor for female clothes?

"membutuhkan seorang penjahit baju wanita" can be further analyzed into smaller constituents.

Membutuhkan || seorang penjahit baju wanita

Seorang || penjahit baju wanita

Penjahit || baju wanita

If we follow the analysis of the immediate constituents like this, it means that what the company needs is a tailor to make clothes for female. It is not important whether the tailor is male or female. The meaning will be different, if the analysis is done like the following.

… (similar to the one above)

Seorang || penjahit baju wanita

Penjahit baju || wanita

With this immediate constituents analysis, the sentence means that the company needs a female tailor. Whether the clothes that she makes will be for male or female is not important.


Have a look at other examples from English.

  • Students don't like annoying professors.
    • What does this question mean? It may be either "Students don't like professors who are annoying" or "Students don't like making the professor annoyed". Again the meaning depends on to which constituent "annoying" is immediate.
  • She hit the man with a stick.
    • What does this sentence mean? It may be either "She used a stick to hit the man" or "She hit the man who brought a stick".


dhian said...

Hi, Sir..
Thanks for your explanation that you added in our presentation yesterday..^^
It's so clearly..
Actually, we all have know about IC. But it was very difficult for us to explain it in English. Especially me..
Okay, Sir..
Just for recommendation. Please give the point of the material to each group that will be presented in the next occasion..
So they will not be confused with the point. Like us..^^
We have prepare the material, but suddenly you gave us a new material. IC!!!!! It was very difficult for us to find the resources altough IC is not a difficult to learn. Oke..
Hope you understand my word here. Hehehehehe..:-)
Thank You, Sir..
Cheers ya..
Nice Day..

Dhian Nurma

dhian said...

Sorry, Sir..
It's so clear, I mean..

makna said...

Morning, sir.
I think this syntax isnt as difficult to understand, sir....
If i'm not mistaken, syntax learn about the structure of sentences....
It's not as hard as we learnt bout sentences structure in indonesian.
Thanks to the group for explaining. But i'm so late, that i missed almost a half of it!
Argh! It's irritating!

Er, sir. My group get pragmatic for presentation. Do u have good books to be our references?
All of my mother's book about linguistics always stop on semantics. And i only find ond, but i think it wasnt enough!!

Plz, give us advice what we should talk about in the presentation next 2 weeks! Plz!
Thank you.


speechless_saint said...

We haven't done the presentation about Syntax in the afternoon class. It's a little bit slow. But your explanation is clear enough for me, Sir.

By learning syntax, I think that we can avoid an ambiguous meaning of a sentence. If I'm not mistaken, these sentences can also be examples:
1. Istri // guru yang baru itu tinggal di Bogor.
2. Istri guru // yang baru itu tinggal di Bogor.

1. Pamanku merayakan ulang tahun pernikahannya // yang kelima.
2. Pamanku merayakan ulang tahun // pernikahannya yang kelima.

1. The suspect kill // the old man with a hook.
2. he suspect kill the old man // with a hook.


my site said...

Syntax is part of studying linguistic that deals with the study of the structure of a sentence.

For example :
Ammi whacked a girl with a dictionary.
This sentence has structurally ambiguous. It has two different underlying interpretation :

1. Ammi whacked a girl and the girl happened to be carrying a dictionary or,
2. Ammi had a dictionary and she whacked the girl with it.

Syntax provides symbols and specific method to analyze various types of sentence

A girl came to my house yesterday, this sentence can be presented : A ( Art), Girl(N), came(V),to (prep), my(pro), house (N)then My house (NP)
A girl (NP), came to my house (VP)

Is that Mr. Agus thanks for your brief explanation have great long holiday

Kezia (C1307013)

TiK@SasIngA-C13_21 said...

- Ayah Ani sangat baik.
The sentence may be means either Ayah Ani / sangat baik or Ayah / ani sangat baik.