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Thread: syntax

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    Syntax is the sub-field of linguistics that investigates sentence structure. A key concept in syntax is "constituent." A key concept in the identification of constituents is "head." The following four sentences are interesting in terms of their syntax. Discuss why they are interesting using the concept of ambiguity.


    a. Mary ate raw fish and onions.

    b. The price includes soup or salad and French fries.

    c. I read the book in my room.

    d. Do you like bass?

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    Default Re: syntax

    Is this homework?

    Give us your ideas, and we can discuss them.

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    Default Re: syntax

    yes it is part of an assignment that I am stuck on. I understand that A, B, and C.... however, D has me very conofused. I know the word Bass can mean, bass like a fish or bass like a bass guitar... would that be how it is interesting?

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    Default Re: syntax

    Quote Originally Posted by taylorkl View Post
    I know the word Bass can mean, bass like a fish or bass like a bass guitar... would that be how it is interesting?
    Yes. If two words are spelled the same but have different meaning they are homonyms. Do you know what kind of homonyms they are?

    It would be easy for a listener to pick out the difference between spoken bass (fish) and bass (guitar) because those words are pronounced differently, but it wouldn't be as easy for a reader, because the difference between those two words is in their phonetics.

    All the best.

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    Default Re: syntax

    Thank you!

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    Default Re: syntax

    You're welcome.

  7. #7
    Super Sonic is offline Member
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    Default Re: syntax

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Yes. If two words are spelled the same but have different meaning they are homonyms. Do you know what kind of homonyms they are?

    It would be easy for a listener to pick out the difference between spoken bass (fish) and bass (guitar) because those words are pronounced differently, but it wouldn't be as easy for a reader, because the difference between those two words is in their phonetics.

    All the best.
    Is this one the same as well: "c. I read the book in my room." ? It may mean that "I always read my book in my room" and that "I read my book in my room yesterday", right? The difference can only be understood by listening to(Is this preposition required here? ) how the word read is pronounced, I guess...?

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    Default Re: syntax

    Quote Originally Posted by Super Sonic View Post
    Is this one the same as well: "c. I read the book in my room." ? It may mean that "I always read my book in my room" and that "I read my book in my room yesterday", right? The difference can only be understood by listening to(Is this preposition required here? ) how the word read is pronounced, I guess...?
    "I read the book in my room" could mean:-
    1) The book that I read is now in my room
    2) When I read the book, I sat in my room to do it

    The structure of the sentence makes it unclear, because 'in the room' has two nouns ('I' and 'the book') in front of it, so either 'I' or 'the book' could in the room.

    What you are saying is true, in that it could mean 'I read the book in my room (all the time)' or 'I read the book in my room (in the past)', but the different pronunciation of 'read' would make the meaning clear to a listener.

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    Super Sonic is offline Member
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    Default Re: syntax

    Thank you so much:)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Super Sonic View Post
    Thank you so much:)
    You are welcome!

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