outline of lesson
}By the end of this lesson, the student will be able to:
a)Describe key concepts on which grammatical analysis is based, namely: grammatical unit, rank, grammatical class, and grammatical function/element.
b)Identify the grammatical units, grammatical classes and grammatical functions of underlined constructions.
Downing, A. (2015). English grammar: A university course (3rd Ed). London & New York: Routledge.
} NOTE: Focus on the Unit 2
This week’s lesson focuses on the basic concepts on which our grammatical analysis is based. These concepts are the grammatical units which can be arranged by rank, the grammatical classes into which these units can be divided, and the grammatical elements of which they are composed.
}A unit is “any sequence that constitutes a semantic whole and which has a recognised pattern that is repeated regularly in speech and writing” (Downing, 2015, p.11)
}A grammatical unit, hence, conveys meaning and has identifiable grammar.
}As we learnt in week 1, there are five (5) grammatical units in English, namely: Clause, Group, Phrase, Word, Morpheme. Each of these have a distinct grammatical pattern. E.g. a group has the structure: (Premodifier) + Head (+Postmodifier); and a Phrase has the structure: minor Predicator + Complement.
See Example below
COVID-19 is an infectious disease.
} The sequence above constitutes a grammatical unit called the clause, and realises particular grammatical meanings in the language. As a clause, it has the grammatical elements Subject, Predicator and Complement as shown below:
|COVID-19||is||an infectious disease|
the term rank refers to the size of a grammatical unit-i.eits position on the rank scale.
the idea of rank comes from the understanding that some grammatical units such as the clause are also composed of further units.
}A unit that is a constitute of another unit is a lower rank and a unit consisting of other units is a higher rank.
See the Figure on the next slide
units on the rankscale
|Clause||One clause||COVID-19 is an infectious disease.|
|Group/ phrase||Three groups||COVID-19||is||an infectious disease|
As indicated above, it can be noted that we can divide any meaningful unit at one rank into smaller units of a different kind at the rank below.
}The group and phrase are of the same rank because they both get their function and meaning in the clause, and each has the word as its immediate constituent.
}In the clause below, the noun group, verbal group and prepostional phrase perform equivalent functions of Subject, Predicator and Adjunt in the clause.
|rank||COVID-19||has been||on the rise|
|group/phrase||noun group||verbal group||Prepositional phrase|
every grammatical unit is made up of a number of classes.we can analyse and assign members of a unit to aparticular class based on the common characteristics of the items that make up the class. These characteristics can be identified in four ways: (1) their form, (2) their function, (3) their grammatical environment (position) in a construction, and (4) their meaning.
} We can identify classes of word (as noun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, pronoun, determiner, and conjunction); classes of group/phrase (namely, noun group, verbal group, adverbial group, adjectival group, and prepositional phrase) and classes of clause
(such as finite versus nonfinite clauses, or independent versus dependent clauses)
Examples grammatical class
We can analyse the clause The student was very often
quite nervous during the interview into its classes of group/phrase, and classes of word as follows.
Classes of group/phrase: four classes of groups and a phrase:
(1)The student (noun group), (2) was (verbal group),3.very often (adverbial group),quite nervous (Adjectival group), (5) during the interview (Prepositional phrase).
Classes of Word: Ten (10) classes of words:
(1)the (determiner), (2) student (noun), (3) was
(verb), (4) very (adverb), (5) often (adverb), (6) quite
(adverb), (7) nervous (adjective), (8) during
(preposition), (9) the (determiner), (10) interview (noun)
English grammar is organized not only in terms of classes of units, but also in terms of functions (Subject, Predicator, etc.).
}It is as a group/phrase that each unit functions in the clause. Grammatical function/element refers to the role played by a group/phrase in a particular clause.
}The major grammatical functions/elements in the clause give the abbreviation SPOCA – i.e. Subject, Predicator, Object, Complement, and Adjunct.
The Predicator (P) is realised by a verbal group.
}The Subject (S) is realised by a noun group, and is the element we are talking about in the clause.
}The Object (O) is realised by a noun group, and denotes the person or thing affected by the action or state denoted by the P.
}Complement (C) is realised by a noun group or an adjectival group, and characterises or identifies the Subject or the Object.
}Adjunct is realised by an adverbial group or a prepositional phrase, and tells us circumstances like when, where, how or why the event happens).
SPOCA are functions within the clause and they correspond to groups/phrases.
}Compare these two sentences. How do they differ in meaning?
1.The police attacked the armed robbers.
2.The armed robbers attacked the police.
In sentence (1), the police are the ones doing the attacking, whereas, in sentence (2), the police are the ones being attacked.
}It can be noted that the same noun group, the police, performs a different grammatical function in each sentence:
◦The police attacked the armed robbers. [Subject]
The armed robbers attacked the police.[Object]
consider example 3 below:
- The student was very often quite nervous during the interview.
} Based on each group/phrase in Example 3, we can distinguish the different grammatical functions/elements of the clause
|Types of group/ phrase
|nominal group (NG)
|Verbal group (VG) Was||adverbial group (AdvG)
|adjectival group (AdjG)
|Prepositiona l phrase (Pp) During the interview|
Identify the grammatical rank/unit,class and functions of underlined constructions
1.They waited outside for ages.
- Grammatical rank/unit: Phrase
- Grammatical class: Prepositional phrase
- Grammatical function: Adjunct
2.I kept a copy of the letter in my desk.
Grammatical rank/unit: Group
Grammatical class: Noun group
Grammatical function: Object
}The grammar of English is organized around four building blocks called grammatical units/ranks, namely: morpheme, word, group/phrase, and clause.
}Each grammatical rank/unit can further be divided into its further classes – e.g. finite clause, non-finite clause; noun group, verbal group, etc.
}Grammatical function/element refers to what the group/phrase does in the clause.
}Functions such as Subject, Predicator, Object, Adjunct, etc. are realised at clause rank.
self study questions
1.Explain each of these concepts
2.Tell the grammatical unit/rank, grammatical class and grammatical function/element of these underlined constructions
a.In the end, the choice became pretty clear.
b.In the end, the choice became pretty clear.
c.One of his friends called a doctor.
d.The boss is in his office.
e.They left the country last week.
Label the functional constituents of these clauses:
a.She quickly realised her mistake.
b.They waited outside for ages.
c.The election campaign has started.
d.Many people are painting their houses white.
e.In the end, the choice became pretty clear.
- “SPOCA are functions within the clause and they correspond to groups/phrases.” With appropriate illustrations, discuss this statement.