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20. The Simple Sentence


Subject Theoretical Linguistics » Syntax

Key-Topics grammar

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405198820.2012.00022.x


A “sentence” (Sp. oración ) is a minimal unit of predication that relates a subject and a predicate, where the former will be typically represented as a noun phrase (NP) and the latter as a verb phrase (VP). Traditionally, sentences have been classified according to three criteria: (1) a. according to their dependence upon or independence from other units b. according to the nature of their predicate c. according to the “attitude” of the speaker Criterion (1a) distinguishes main from embedded clauses. Whether a sentence appears in a main or in a subordinate clause is relevant for the application of certain syntactic operations; however, this is too general a criterion to help us understand – and let alone classify – the variety of sentences that exist in a particular language. Criterion (1b) classifies sentences according to the nature of the verb; that is, whether it is transitive, intransitive, copular, passive, reflexive, reciprocal, or impersonal (see Gili Gaya 1961 : s. 32; GLE: ch. 19). However, as noted in the NGDLE, these particular properties of verbs, while relevant for certain aspects of syntactic analysis, do not necessarily constitute “sentential types” and “do not constitute grammatical properties that will necessarily help define a sentential paradigm” (NGDLE: s. 1.13k). Criterion (1c) is the one that proves most fruitful to classify sentences and it is the ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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