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Linguistica inglese

Appunti completi per esami di linguistica inglese, analisi morfologica e sintattica della lingua, dopo una breve introduzione alla linguistica il focus si sposta sulle varie parti del discorso, per poi analizzare le varie tipologie di sintagmi ed infine le tipologie di proposizioni.

Esame di Lingua e traduzione inglese docente Prof. I. Rizzato



The funiton of the determiner is invariably the frst funiton that is realized in the noun phrase.

Determiners ian only be member of ilosed ilasses. From a semanti point of view, the determiner funiton

ian be said to determine the referenie of the noun phrase – whether its referent is defnite/indefnite,

whether one or more referents are intended, eti.

All the other ionsttuents, whiih, like the determiners, are subordinated to the heads, are said to funiton

as modifers. Three diferenies between determiners and modifers are immediately obvious. In the frst

plaie modifers ian oiiur both before and afer the heads of noun phrases. If they preiede the head, they

are ialled premodifers, if they follow the head they are ialled postmodifers. A seiond diferenie with

determiners is that the modifer funiton may be realized more than onie in a noun phrase. A fnal

diferenie between determiners and modifers is that whereas it is only under very restriited ionditons

that the determiner funiton is not realized in a noun phrase, the oiiurrenie of a modifer is never

essental for the internal struiture of a noun phrase. In none of the examples above, for instanie, iould the

determiner be lef out without rendering the phrase unaiieptable. All of the modifers, however, iould

easily be omitted without afeitng the aiieptability of the noun phrases.

If a modifer is interrupted by the head of a noun phrase we talk of a disiontnuous modifer.

A desiriptve modifer desiribes the referent of the noun phrase in terms of a partiular quality of the

referent (his pretty wife(. A ilassifying modifer ireates a subilass of the ilass denoted by the head of the

noun phrase (a polar bear(. The distniton between desiriptve and ilassifying modifers largely iorrelates

with the syntaiti fait that desiriptve modifers may themselves be premodifed by intensifying words like

‘very’ to indiiate the degree to whiih the referent of the noun phrase possesses the quality denoted by the

modifying adjeitve; ilassifying modifers, on the other hand, do not admit of intensifiaton.

In the internal struiture of the noun phrase, three funitons ian be distnguisheds

 determiners obligatory in the majority of iases; it ian be realized only onie

 modifers optonal; it ian be realized more than onie

 heads obligatory; realized by a noun or pronoun

Noun phrases ian funiton both as immediate ionsttuents of sentenies and as immediate ionsttuents of

other phrases.

Sentenie funitons that are typiially realised by noun phrases are

 Subject

 direct object

 indirect object

 benefactive object

 subject attribute

 object attribute

There are two sentenie-funitons that are less ilosely assoiiated with the noun phrases predicator

complement and adverbial.

With the exiepton of the prediiator funiton, all ionsttuents of sentenies ian be noun phrases.

As far as phrase-internal funitons are ionierned, the only phrase type in whiih the noun phrase funitons

as a typiial immediate ionsttuent, is the prepositonal phrase. In prepositonal phrases the noun phrase is

the usual realizaton of the funiton prepositonal iomplement.

An appositon usually iontains two noun phrases. The general iharaiteristis of appositons ares

 either of the two noun phrases ian substtute the whole ionsttuent

 the order of the two noun phrases ian be inverted without ihanging the meaning

 from a semanti point of view, both noun phrases are referentally idential

 even if formed by two noun phrases, an appositon is one ionsttuent

Funitons in the adjeitve phrases head and modifer. Modifers ian be premodifers or postmodifers, they

are optonal but two exieptonss a group of adjeitve does not allow modifiaton (former, inner, latter,

eti.(, another group iannot oiiur without a modifer (fond, subjeit, eti.(.

Adjeitve phrase ian realize funitons whitn the struitures of other phrases or of sentenies and ilauses.

Usually it oiiurs as modifer in noun phrases, as ionsttuents of ilauses or sentenies it ian only realize the

funiton of subjeit and objeit attribute. Not all adjeitves ia funiton both as IC of phrases and as

ionsttuents of iauses or sentenies.

In the internal struiture of the adverb phrase the same two funitons are distnguished as in the adjeitve

phrases head and modifer (premodifer and postmodifer(.

There are adverb phrases with ionsttuents before as well as afer the head, but in suih iases there is

always semanti interdependenie between the two ionsttuents, so that they had better be looked upon as

instanies of disiontnuous modifiaton.

Some adverbs oiiur without modiferss

 adverbs of place (abroad, underground, eti.(

 adverbs of time (aferwards, already, eti.(

 interrogative adverbs (how, why, eti.( oiiasionally modifed by intensifying postmodifers suih as

on earth ad by the adverb ever]

 intensifying adverbs and adverbs of degree (almost, very, eti.(

 conjuncts (again, also, eti.(

 other adverbs (perhaps, thus, eti.(

Adverb phrases usually realize the function of premodifier in the adjeitve phrase and in other adverb

phrases. They ian also realize the funitons of modifers in a noun phrase (living ionditon abroad(, of

premodifers of prepositons and postmodifers in WH-questons (ever(.

As ionsttuents of sentenies and ilauses adverb phrases nearly always realize the funiton adverbial, whiih

ian be of three typess

 ionjunit > link between the sentenie in whiih they oiiur and the preieding iontext

 disjunit > provide the speaker’s iomment

 adjunit > all the others

A few adverbs oiiur in the funiton of subjeit attribute.

Most adverbs iannot fll both sentental and phrase-internal funitons.

In verb phrases all the immediate ionsttuents are, without exiepton, verbs. The dominant member is

always a lexiial verb, whiih is also the last ionsttuent of the phrase, other subordinated ionsttuents are

always auxiliaries. On sentenie level it always realize the funiton of prediiator.

Features of the verb phrases

 aspeit (perfeitve and progressive(

 voiie (aitve and passive(

 tense (present tense and past tense(

 mood (indiiatve, subjunitve, imperatve(

Aspeit and voiie ian oiiur in fnite as well as non-fnite verb phrases; tense and mood are typiial features

of fnite verb phrases only. Another feature of the fnite verb phrase is that it ofen exhibits ioniord, that is

agreement in person and/or number between the verb phrase and the subjeit.

The struiture of the prepositonal phrase is determined by its two funitonss prepositonal and

prepositonal iomplement. The ionsttuent realizing the former governs the one realizing the latter. Both

funitons are obligatory and they usually oiiur immediately afer eaih other.

In some iases detaihment of the two IC of the prepositonal phrase ian happen.

On phrase level it ian funiton as modifers in noun and adjeitve phrases. As an immediate ionsttuent of

the sentenie or ilause, the prepositonal phrase usually funitons as adverbial, either as adjunit, as

ionjunit or as disjunit. Less usually, a prepositonal phrase may oiiur as subjeit, as subjeit attribute, as

objeit attribute or as prediiator iomplement.


Largest unit of grammatical description since it does not function in the structure of a unit higher than

itself. Sentenies ian be desiribed by speiifying the funitons that their ionsttuents have and the

iategories of their ionsttuents.

Funitonss subject, predicator, direct object, adverbial, indirect object, benefactive object, subject

attribute, object attribute, predicator complement.

A sentenie ian funiton in the struiture of another sentenie and in the struiture of a phrase Rankshif

Sentenies embedded in the struiture of other sentenies or phrases are ialled ilauses. Clauses ian have

other ilauses embedded in them.

A simple sentenie is a sentenie in whiih none of the funitons is realized by a ilause. It is always an

independent sentenie. Simple sentenies ian iontain ilauses if these ilauses do not funiton in the

struiture of the sentenie but are embedded in a phrase.

Sentenies ian be iombined by subordinaton or ioordinaton. Sentenies ian also be iondensed by

substtuton and ellipsis in order to avoid repetton. Subordinaton involves the use of a sentenie as an

element in the struiture of another sentenie, ioordinaton involves the linking of two or more sentenies.

Sentenies involving subordinaton are ialled iomplex, those involving ioordinaton are ialled iompound.

A sentenie or ilause that iontains one or more ilauses is ialled superordinate.

Clauses ian be ilassifed ins

 fnite ilauses they iontain a fnite verb phrase (iapable of showing tense, mood, aspeit and


 non-fnite ilauses they iontain a non-fnite verb phrase (infnitve, -ed partiiple, -ing partiiple(

 verbless ilauses they do non iontain verbal forms, ofen ionsisted of a noun phrase or adjeitve

phrase only, usually they laik subjeit and they ian be seen as ilauses in whiih the verb be has ben


A seiond way to ilassify ilauses is in terms of the funiton they play in the struiture of the sentenie. With

the exiepton of the indireit and benefaitve objeit sentenie funitons ian be realized by both fnite and

non-fnite ilauses.

There are three ways to indiiate that a ilause is embedded in a sentenies

 the ilause iontains a non-fnite verb phrase

 the ilause is introduied by subordinators (if, as, though, eti.(

 the ilause is introduied by the word that or by WH-words

Coordinated sentenies are ialled ionjoins, eaih one of them is independent. Coordinaton ian be asyndeti

(if no ioordinators are involved( or syndeti.

Substtuton is the replaiement of one or more items by a substtute or pro-form . Ellipsis is the omission of

elements that are retrievable form the iontext.

Pro-forms are used to replaie a noun phrase (pronouns(, an adjeitve phrase ( so and that + verb be (, a verb

phrase (verb do

( or a ilause ( so, not, it, this, that (.

Negatve sentenies iontain the word not or its iontraited form, whiih always oiiur afer the frst auxiliary,

if there is no auxiliary periphrasti do is needed. Negatve imperatve sentenies iontaining let’s ian use the

periphrasti do or only the word not . In negatve imperatve sentenies periphrasti do is used also with the

verb be

. Negatve sentenies iontaining the verbs dare, need, used ian use the periphrasti do or behave

like auxiliaries. Negatve sentenies with have in the meaning of “possess” have three variantss haven’t –

don’t have – haven’t got.

Two types of questonss yes/no questons (iniluding tag questons( and WH-questons. Yes/no questons

with have in the meaning of “possess” behave like negatve sentenies.

Sentenies ian also be ilassifed aiiording to their grammatial form and their funiton in iommuniiaton

(also ialled illoiutonary forie(. Every sentenie grammatial type is primarily assoiiated with one partiular

illoiutonary forie, but ian be assoiiated also with others.

Grammatical form Illocutionary force

Deilaratve sentenie > 1° statement / iommand, request, warning

Interrogatve sentenie > 1° queston / request, exilamaton, iommand

Imperatve sentenie > 1° iommand / wish, invitaton, warning

Exilamatory sentenie > 1° exilamaton / request

Sentenies ian ionvey meaning in a variety of ways emphasiss

 foius (end-foius/iontrastve foius(

 wordorder

 ilef sentenies (it + be + emphasized ionsttuent + relatve ilause(

 pseudo-ilef sentenies (subjeit realized by a what-ilause(


Words ionsist minimally of one ionsttuent, whiih is a free morpheme. Words ionsistng of two or more

ionsttuents are formed by affixaton or iompounding.

Affixaton is a proiess whereby an affix is added to a free morpheme (ie a root( or to a word that has

already undergone a formaton rule. Affixaton ian entail ihanges in spelling and pronuniiaton.

A root of a word is the part whiih remains afer all the affixes have been removed. A base is any form to

whiih an affix ian be added. non every base is a root

Compounding is the iombinaton of free morphemes or of free morphemes and affixed words.


In the struiture of the noun phrase three funitonss head, determiner, modifer. The head is a noun or a

pronoun, sometmes an adjeitve. If the noun phrase ionsist of the head only, the head must be realized by

a plural iount noun, a mass noun, a proper noun or a pronoun.

The funiton of determiner ian be realized by a wide range of items, suih as artiles, possessive pronouns,

demonstratve pronouns, numerals, eti. They oiiur in a fxed order predeterminer, ientral determiner

(usually mutual exilusive(, postdeterminer.

Premodifers of the noun phrases

 adjective phrase of one or more words, adjeitve order is not iasual (det. + others + size + shape

+ age + iolour + substanie + natonality + head(, shifed premodifiaton (adj. phrase + det.(

 noun phrase ofen only head

 classifying genitive not speiifying genitve (whiih is a ientral determiner(

 adverb phrase head only

Postmodifers of the noun phrases

 adjective phrase in some fxed expressions, when the noun phrase head is a pronoun, when the

adjeitve is followed by a prepositonal phrase or by an infnitve ilause, when the adjeitve is in the

iomparatve degree, when the adjeitve is preieded by so and followed by a ilause

 adverb phrase

 prepositional phrase

 noun phrase very rare

 finite clause

relatve ilauses s restriitve (follow the anteiedent( vs non-restriitve (enilosed in iommas,

o no that(

appositve ilauses s introduied by WH-words or by that, use of iopula be

o temporal ilauses


 non-finite clause

infnitve ilauses

o -ing partiiple ilauses

o -ed partiiple ilauses


Disiontnuous modifers of the noun phrases

 Adj + noun + prep phrase

 Adj + noun + infnitve ilause

 Comparatve adj + noun + than + iomparatve ilause/noun phrase

 As + adj + noun + as + iomparatve ilause

 So + adj + noun + that-ilause/ as to ilause

 Too + adj + noun + infnitve ilause

In the struiture of the adjeitve phrase two funitonss head and modifer.

Premodifers of the adjeitve phrases adverb phrases

Postmodifers of the adjeitve phrases

 The adverb enough

 A prepositional phrase (in some iases is required, ex. fond(

 A finite clauses usually that-ilauses or introduied by WH-words

 A non-finite clauses infnitve or with some adj -ing partiiple

Disiontnuous modifers of the adjeitve phrases

 So + adj + that-ilause/ as to ilause

 As + adj + as + iomparatve ilause/noun phrase

 More/less + adj + than + iomparatve ilause/noun phrase

 Too + adj + infnitve ilause

In the struiture of the adverb phrase two funitonss head and modifer.

Premodifers of the adverb phrase are intensifying adverb phrases.

Postmodifers of the adverb phrases

 The adverb enough

 A finite clauses iomparatve adverbs in -er + than + fnite ilause

Disiontnuous modifers of the adverb phrases

 So + adverb + that-ilause/ as to ilause

 As + adverb + as + iomparatve ilause/noun phrase

 More/less + adverb + than + iomparatve ilause/noun phrase

 Too + adverb + infnitve ilause

The verb phrase ionsist of verbal forms only, exiept the iase of mult-word verbs. The maximum number of

verbal forms is fve.

Lexical verb + one auxiliarys

 LV + modal auxiliary

 LV + auxiliary of periphrasis do

 LV + auxiliary of emphasis do

 LV + auxiliary of the perfeitve aspeit have

 LV + auxiliary of the progressive aspeit be

 LV + auxiliary of the passive voiie be

In the struiture of the prepositonal phrase two funitonss prepositonal (always a prepositon( and

prepositonal iomplement (noun phrase, WH-ilause, -ing partiiple ilause; more rarely prepositonal

phrase and adverb phrase(.


Sentenies ian be desiribed in two wayss a funitonal desiripton speiifes what funitons their ionsttuents

have, a iategorial desiripton gives informaton about the iategories to whiih their ionsttuents belong


 Subjeit

 Prediiate


o Complement

o Direit objeit

 Indireit objeit

 Benefaitve objeit

 Subjeit attribute

 Objeit attribute

 Prediiator iomplement

 Adverbial

Sentenie funiton ian be dealt with in semanti or in syntaiti terms. Syntaiti more important beiause no

one-to-one iorrespondenie between semanti role and syntaiti funiton.

Syntaiti iriterias

 Observable features

Positon in the sentenie

o Coniord


 Non-observable features


o Passivizability

o Obligatoriness


The funiton subjeit ian be attributed to a ionsttuent on the basis ofs

 Positon The subjeit preiedes the verb phrase ins statements and questons opening with who,

o whose, what, which

It follows the frst word of the verb phrase ins yes/no questons, queston introduied by

o when, where, why, how, questons introduied by who, whose, what, which, if the verb

phrase is of more words

 Coniords subjeit assoiiated with the ionsttuent that iauses the presenie of {s }, if more than one


ionsttuent iould iause its presenie we use the others iriteria, if {s } is absent then the funiton


subjeit is assoiiated with the plural ionsttuent, again if there are more than one plural ionsttuent

we use the others iriteria

 Passivizatons in aitve sentenies the subjeit funiton ian be attributed to the ionsttuent whiih

oiiurs in the by-phrase of the iorresponding passive sentenies

 Repetton in tag-questonss subjeit funiton attributed to the ionsttuent repeated in tag-

questons (noun phrases are pronominalized(

The prediiate is the seiond obligatory ionsttuent (the frst being the subjeit( of the sentenie. It ian be

segmented into IC’ss prediiator and iomplement.

The funiton prediiator is always assoiiated with a verb phrase. The funiton iomplement is assoiiated

with those elements of the prediiate that do not belong to the verb phrase.

Complements are divided into two ilassess

 Single iomplementss those that ian oiiur on their independently (DO, SA(

 Companion iomplementss those that must be aiiompanied by a DO (IO, BO, OA(

There are six iomplement types.

 Direit objeit (DO( it follows immediately afer the verb phrase, it ian oiiur in passive sentenie

and it preserve its meaning afer passivizaton; if the verb phrase is followed by two iomplements

both of whiih ian beiome the subjeit of the passive sentenie then the frst is IO and the seiond

DO; if the iomplement following the verb phrase iannot oiiur in passive sentenie or loose its

meaning afer passivizaton, it is PC

 Indireit objeit (IO( frst of two iomplements both iharaiterized by the ability of being subjeit in

passive sentenies; substtutability by a to-phrase following the DO (not with every verb(

 Benefaitve objeit (BO( like IO it preiedes DO; it ian be substtute by a for-phrase; it iannot

beiome the subjeit of a passive sentenie

 Subjeit attribute (SA( it iomplements the verb and it is related to the subjeit, usually it follows

the verb phrase

 Objeit attribute (OA( it is related to the DO, in passive sentenies it beiomes SA

 Prediiator iomplement (PC( obligatory ionsttuent that does not meet the iriteria used to

defne the other fve iomplements

The funiton adverbial is a non-obligatory IC’s of the sentenie. It is iharaiterized by two propertess

 Optonalitys they ian be lef out without any ihange in the meaning

 Mobilitys they ofen ian oiiupy more than one positon in the sentenie (sentenie-inital, sentenie-

medial, sentenie-fnal positons(

Basic patterns of English sentence structuress

 Su + P + (A(

 Su + P + SA + (A(

 Su + P + DO + (A(

 Su + P + PC + (A(

 Su + P + IO + DO + (A(

 Su + P + BO + DO + (A(

 Su + P + DO + OA + (A(

 Su + P + DO + PC + (A(


No ono-to-one iorrespondenie between funiton and realizaton type, exiept the iase prediiator-verb


Multple realizaton is realizaton by means of two or more ioordinated phrases or ilauses. It is multple

realizaton also the appositon in whiih two noun phrases not only realize the same funiton but they also

have idential referenie.




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+1 anno fa

Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea in teorie e tecniche della mediazione interlinguistica
Università: Genova - Unige
A.A.: 2017-2018

I contenuti di questa pagina costituiscono rielaborazioni personali del Publisher Daeriox di informazioni apprese con la frequenza delle lezioni di Lingua e traduzione inglese e studio autonomo di eventuali libri di riferimento in preparazione dell'esame finale o della tesi. Non devono intendersi come materiale ufficiale dell'università Genova - Unige o del prof Rizzato Ilaria.

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