Empirical justification

In both of the (1) sentences, the emphasis is on the second syllable in the underlined word whereas in both of the (2) sentences, the emphasis falls on the first syllable. According to the evidence presented we can assume that where a word is verb, the emphasis falls on the second syllable and when a word is a noun, the emphasis falls on the first syllable. We have thus found evidence to separate words in to different categories based on their phonology. We have looked at the phonology of words in order to categorise them, but there are other manners of doing the same.

For instance there is morphological evidence for categorisation, most specifically in the endings of words. Most verbs, for instance, have five separate forms. For example, the verb to shave: Base Shave Participle Shaven Past Shaved Present Shaves Gerund Shaving Modals, on the other hand, do not have a participle or gerund form. We can thus distinguish between verbs and modals on morphological grounds. Adjectives and adverbs can be similarly differentiated. Adjectives and adverbs are the only categories that have the -er ending. Morphologically, adverbs usually use the -ly ending while adjectives do not.

There are, however, always exceptions to the rules. These are the irregular verbs which differ in that they do not end in -ly and can share the form of the adjective. Nouns and adjectives can be differentiated because only nouns can end in the plural -s. Prepositions cannot have the ends that verbs, nouns or adverbs can. As such they usually remain uninflected. Determiners, however, cannot be defined in a morphological manner. This leads us to syntactic evidence. The syntactic evidence for categories relies on the premise that it is distributional in nature. This means that categories are distributed classes.

In other words, only certain categories of words can fill particular positions in a sentence. For instance, in the example that follows, only a noun can take the place of … in: … can be useful in a fight. Any noun, be it "linguistics", "Tamarin" or "gas" can fill in for … , but a verb, "chase", a proposition, "yet", or any other category of word can not. Thus … is a position that a noun can occupy, but that does not mean it is the only position a noun can occupy. Similarly, only a verb in its base form can occupy the position … in: They/it can … For example, "They can work" is a proper sentence.

"They can child", "They can in" and "They can beautiful" are not proper sentences. The only category of word that can be at the beginning of a four word sentence is a modal, e. g. , "Could he be stupid. " In addition, only adjectives and adverbs can follow after the word "very", e. g. , "He is very smart" where smart is an adjective, and, "He is dressed very smartly" where smartly is an adverb. Adverbs and adjectives can be differentiated from each other several manners. For instance, only an adverb can be used in a four word sentence such as "He carries it incorrectly".

On the other hand, because, only an adjective can be a compliment to the verb "be", it can complete a four word sentence such as "They were very tall". Up until now we have been discussing categories, but in order to justify the whole statement that "the true status of constituents and categories is that of theoretical constructs which, must therefore be justified on empirical grounds" we must also discuss constituents in detail. As has already been stated a constituent is "a basic term in grammatical analysis for a linguistic unit that is a functional component of a larger construction.

" As such a constituent is really any thing that makes up a greater whole. A noun, for instance, would be a constituent. However, since we have already discussed the empirical justification of categories of words it is more important to discuss the constituents that theses word make up. In other words, rather than discussing nouns, we will now discuss noun phrases. In order to attempt to justify that sentences are not just made up of words, but of word phrases (constituents), morphological, semantic, phonological and syntactic evidence will be presented.

Although morphology is more concerned with words than word phrases there is one morpheme that does have an impact on phrases. The inflection "'s", although unclear when used in conjunction with a simple noun phrase, such as, "The book is Ted's. " it is much clearer in a more complex sentence, such as, "The book is Ted the librarian's. " In the second example we can clearly see that the "'s" is not referring to the word "librarian" but to the whole phrase "Ted the librarian". The semantic evidence for word phrases is slightly more complicated than the morphological to understand.

The ambiguous sentence, "The police could not arrest him. " has two possible meanings which can be arrived at by breaking the sentence into phrases. The possibilities are: The police could not arrest him (1) [S[NP the police]][M could][VP not arrest him]] (2) [S[NP the police]][M could not][VP arrest him]] It is clear from the above that there are two distinct meanings for the sentence and that it is possible to easily see them through the use of word phrases. In addition, where the above orthographic representation shows the existence of different meaning and of word phrases, the same can be expressed phonetically.

This occurs because, depending on meaning, the speaker will place emphasis on different parts, or constituents, of the sentence. In addition, in spoken English, it often occurs that two words are combined, e. g. , can and not into can't. This supports the notion that words are not necessarily separate independent entities, but form phrases which in turn form sentences. The syntactic evidence for word phrases is strong and includes what Andrew Radford calls preposing. Preposing is the movement of phrases within a sentence in order to generate greater emphasis.

For instance, "I like [linguistics tutorials]" can be preposed in order to say "[Linguistics tutorials], I like [though grammar lectures are boring]". What is of note is that only phrases can be preposed in such a manner, individual words usually can not. In addition to preposing, there is postposing. The purpose of postposing is to make a long sentence more concise, without removing any of the content. An example is: Philip explained [all the trouble he was having with the essay] to Tamarin. Philip explained to Tamarin [all the trouble he was having with the essay]. As with preposing, only whole phrases can be postposed.