A linguistic sketch of Jicaltepec Mixtec by C Henry Bradley

By C Henry Bradley

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Tom sat in the chair. Mary sang a song. John played checkers. An Unbuttoned Introduction 9 The noun phrases which play the roles of Table 1 are ultimately simple when they are single nouns. In fact, however, noun phrases of any degree of complexity may play these roles, and the whole noun phrases themselves may contain other noun phrases in one role or another. In fact, as is well known, many linguists hold that the list of possible sentences of a language is infinitely long just because the phrase structure rule rewriting noun phrase is a recursive rule which rewrites the noun phrase symbol as a determiner and a noun together with, optionally, a sentence.

These three noun phrases have distinct semantic roles in the sentence or one might say distinct semantic relations with the verb cut. Mr. " It is most important to distinguish agent, patient, and instrument and the other intrasentence roles I will characterize from two grammatical notions with which they are easily confused. Agent, patient, and instrument are semantic notions and have been so defined. They are all of them noun phrases which is a certain kind of major category or unit in a sentence.

The 24 A First Language restrictive relative clause, on the other hand, is intended to delimit its reference and to say that the major proposition (the matrix sentence) is true only for that subclass which satisfies both attributes. In written English commas are not used with restrictive clauses: Professors who like music are idealistic. This says that just those professors who like music are idealistic. In speech, pauses may mark the nonrestrictive relative clause and the absence of pauses the restrictive, or it may just be hard to tell what the speaker intends.

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