Natural Language Syntax

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A natural language syntax is a grammar for Grammatically Correct Sentences within a given natural language.



    • Natural language has an underlying structure usually referred to under the heading of Syntax. The fundamental idea of syntax is that words group together to form so-called constituents i.e. groups of words or phrases which behave as a single unit. These constituents can combine together to form bigger constituents and eventually sentences.
    • QUOTE: Grammar is the set of rules that tells how words can be put into a sequence and a form that allows their meaning to become unambiguous in a sentence. The order of words in a phrase, clause or sentence is called its syntax and the form of words is called morphology (for example, to show plural we add the morpheme s, to show possession, we add the morpheme 's).

  • WordNet Syntax
    • the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences
    • studies of the rules for forming admissible sentences

  • (Wikipedia, 2009) ⇒
    • In linguistics, syntax (from Ancient Greek συν- syn-, "together", and τάξις táxis, "arrangement") is the study of the principles and rules for constructing sentences in natural languages. ...

  • Wiktionary
    • A set of rules that govern how words are combined to form phrases and sentences; The formal rules of formulating the statements of a computer ...



  • (Kakkonen, 2007) ⇒ Tuomo Kakkonen. (2007). “Framework and Resources for Natural Language Evaluation." Academic Dissertation. University of Joensuu.
    • A language follows the rules of a given grammar and is represented by using a particular grammar formalism.
    • Definition 3-4. Grammar, rules.
      • A grammar [math]\displaystyle{ G }[/math] is a description of a language L.
      • A grammar [math]\displaystyle{ G }[/math] consists of a lexicon and rules.
      • A lexicon is a structure that defines the terminals in a language.
      • Rules describe how the terminals combine into larger entities.
    • Definition 3-5. Language generated by a grammar, derivation, grammatical and ungrammatical strings.
      • Let L(G) denote that grammar G generates language L.
      • The process of grammar rule applications is referred to as derivation.
      • L(G) is the set of sentences that can be derived by the grammar G.
      • The sentences that grammar G generates are referred to as grammatical.
      • The sentences that are not generated by G are referred to as ungrammatical.
    • Definition 3-6. Grammar formalism and grammatical theory.
      • A grammar formalism is a language used for expressing grammars.
      • A grammatical theory is the set of statements expressed in a grammar formalism.


  • (SagWB, 2003) ⇒ I. A. Sag, T. Wasow, and E. M. Bender. (2003). “Syntactic Theory: A Formal Introduction, 2nd edition." CSLI Publications.
    • The term 'syntax' is often used instead of 'grammar' in technical work in linguistics. While the two terms are sometimes interchangeable, 'grammar' may also be used more broadly to cover all aspects of language structure; 'syntax', on the other hand, refers only the the ways in which words combine in phrases and phrases in sentences - the form or structures of well-formed expressions. Linguists divide grammar into 'syntax', 'semantics' (the study of linguistic meaning), 'morphology' (the study of word structure,), and 'phonology' (the study of sound patterns of language). Although these distinctions are conceptually clear, many phenomena in natural languages involve more than one of these components of grammar.


  • 1998_IntroToGB.
    • "One of the main aims of linguistics is to find and describe the structure that is hidden behind the utterances we make. (1) Peter loves Mary. (2) *Loves Peter Mary. We will intuitively accept (1) but reject (2). We will conclude from this, in accordance with all linguists, that an English sentence usually has Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) order."