The Importance Of Syntax In Language Production

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The article, Syntax and Production by Fernanda Ferreira and Paul E. Engelhardt, focuses on the issues that revolve around syntax and the production of words. Syntax allows for words to be combined and create a sentence that has a specific meaning. Humans are able to communicate almost every thought or idea and this is largely because of syntax. The word hat has a specific meaning but language has the power to be significantly changed by putting together words to create meaning such as in the example that’s my hat or that’s not a hat. Each language shares certain universal syntactic properties but the “constraints on how constituents may be generated vary substantially” (Engelhardt, Ferreira, 2009). An example that was used, discussed the differences …show more content…
The first issue address what syntactic representation for production looks like and if it is hierarchical and ordered. They discuss if it contains empty categories and evaluate if grammatical information is form-based or if these structures are combined of small trees that are associated with specific lexical items (this would then create utterances). They are able to determine that syntactic structure is made up in two stages (Block Levelt model) and that the speaking process starts with a message-level representation that represents the idea the speaker is trying to say. This message becomes sound at what is called phonological encoding. Finally, at the positional level, the sound forms an utterance. The second question is if grammatical encoding is considered to be an automatic or a resource-demanding process. This is done by considering specific structures and if they are more difficult to produce than other. In the third section, they review literature on syntax and production and look at how people choose between speaking/writing in active or passive form and that they use lexically stored syntactic templates which represent empty categories (Engelhardt et al., …show more content…
There is evidence that shows the separation of functional and positional level processing. This evidence comes from two sources: speech error analyses and experimental data. Speech errors occur when a speaker makes semantic substitutions without planning and these substitutions are usually in the same class form. The experimental data came from lexical and syntactic priming studies. They have been able to find data that separates function and positional level processing but phonological priming can sometimes lead to a late constituent placement which may compromise the original argument (Engelhardt et al., 2009). The article was able to show two sides of the idea and showed that, although, it may be possible for grammatical encoding to be used in control structures that have no lexical content, most syntactic structures are lexically anchored. To help explain grammar encoding, Tree-Adjoining Grammar (TAG), shows that the objects of the grammar are small trees, which include a word or lexical head. When discussing the second issue of grammatical encoding being automatic or resource-demanding, the article

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