Lingual units stand to one another in two fundamental types of relations: syntagmatic and paradigmatic — Theoretical Grammar | iFREEstore

Lingual units stand to one another in two fundamental types of relations: syntagmatic and paradigmatic

Syntagmatic relations are immediate relations b/w units in a segmental sequence. E.g. My friend has come. (In this sentence syntagmatically connected are the words and word-group “my friend”, “has come”, “friend has come” and “my friend has come”.

The combination of two word-groups or words, one of which is modified by the other is called a syntactic syntagma.

There are four main types of notional syntagmas:

  •  Predicative (the combination of a subject and a predicate)
  •  Objective (the combination of a verb + its object)
  •  Attributive (noun + attribute)
  •  Adverbial (verb/adj/adv + adverbial modifier)

Since syntagmatic relations are actually observed in utterances, they are described by the Latin formula as relations in presentia (in the presence).

Crucial for the systemic description of language are the two fundamental types of relations between lingual units: paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations. The term “syntagmatic relations” is derived from the word “syntagma”, i.e. a linear combination of units of the same level. Lingual units form various lingual strings, sequences, or constructions; in other words, lingual units co-occur in the same actual sequences. E.g.: He started laughing. In this sentence we can point out syntagmatic, or linear relations between the sounds [h+i:] = [hi:]; [s+t+a:+t+i+d] = [sta:tid]; etc.; the morphemes are also connected syntagmatically within words: start+ed = started; laugh+ing = laughing; the combinations of words form syntagmas within phrases and sentences: He + started; started + laughing. Besides, the sentence can be connected with other sentences by syntagmatic relations in the process of communication, in speech, e.g.: He started laughing. Everybody thought it was rather odd. Since these relations can be observed in actual utterances, they are also defined by the Latin term “in praesentia” (“in the presence”, present in the same sequence).

The other types of relations, opposed to syntagmatic is called paradigmatic. They exist b/w elements of the system outside the strings where they occur. Unlike syntagmatic relations, paradigmatic relations cannot be directly observed in utterances, that is why they are referred to as relations in absentia (in the absence).

The other type of relations, opposed to syntagmatic, are called paradigmatic. The term is derived from the word “paradigm” and denotes the relations between elements in paradigms in the system of language. Ferdinand de Saussure called these relations ‘associative relations’, implying the way different linguistic units are arranged and associated with each other in human minds. Classical grammatical paradigms are those making up grammatical categories of words, or, morphological categories, e.g., the category of number or case of the noun: in Russian – стол – стола – столу – столом – на столе; in English – toy – toys; tooth – teeth; children – children’s, etc. [1][1] Paradigm, in most general terms, is a system of variants of the same unit, which is called ‘the invariant’; paradigmatic relations are the relations between the variants of the lingual unit within a paradigm Not only words, but all lingual units are organized in the system of language paradigmatically according to their own categories; for example, sentences may be organized in paradigms according to the category “the purpose of communication”, in such paradigms declarative, interrogative and imperative sentence (повествовательные, вопросительные и императивного предложения) patterns of the same sentence invariant are opposed, e.g.:  He laughed. – Did he laugh? – Let him laugh. Since these relations can’t be observed in actual speech they are also described as relations “in absentia” (“in the absence”).

Paradigmatic relations exist not only in grammar, but in the phonetical and lexical systems of language as well. For example, paradigmatic relations exist between vowels and consonants, voiced and voiceless consonants, etc.; between synonyms and antonyms, in topical groups of words, word-building models, etc. But paradigmatic relations are of primary importance for grammar, as the grammar of language is above all systemic.

Grammatical paradigms express various grammatical categories. The minimal paradigm consists of two form-stages, e.g. boy-boys. A more complex paradigm can be divided into paradigmatic series (sub-paradigms), e.g. the system of a finite verb.

Units of language are divided into segmental and suprasegmental.

Segmental units consist of phonemes, syllables, morhemes, words, etc.

Suprasegmental units do not exist by themselves; they are realized together with segmental units and express different modificational meanings (functions). To the suprasegmental units belong intonation, accents, pauses, and patterns of word-order.

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Exam Questions. The Subject of Theoretical Grammar. Syntagmatic relations. Segmental units. History of English Grammars. Parts of speech. The noun as a part of speech.

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Theoretical Grammar

Exam Questions. The Subject of Theoretical Grammar. Syntagmatic relations. Segmental units. History of English Grammars. Parts of speech. The noun as a part of speech.

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