Kinds of Grammar

This lesson will give the introduction to grammar in English language. There are six kinds of English Grammar

 1.1. Prescriptive grammar (Ngữ pháp chuẩn tắc)

A grammar provides language users with normative rules given by such publishers, editors…For example: language users are advised not to split the infinitive with “to” in: ‘to reluctantly leave’ or not to use the position at the end of the sentence. But advice given by this grammar is out of date now because it is very common for us to say:

–       Yesterday evening he had reluctantly leave me

–       Who are you waiting for?

1.2. Descriptive Grammar (Ngữ pháp miêu tả)

Is a grammar providing language users with constitutive rules, it tries to describe the grammar system of language exactly as it is. For example: in the English language, the adjective can play the function of the attribute or the complement.


–       He is a good man( attribute)

–       He is good ( complement)

1.3. Traditional grammar (Ngữ pháp truyền thống)

Is a grammar studying the elements separately: the noun, the adverb, the adjective,…the biggest problem of this grammar is that it is not consistently internal. For example: It says the adverb is a part of speech whose meaning is added to the verb. For example: I only love him. In fact the adverb can modify the part of speech;

–       The only boy she likes is a handsome boy

1.4. Transformational grammar (Ngữ pháp cải biên)

This grammar studies the basic language patterns to create transform sentence. For example:

–       S = Np + Vp ; VP = V + Np

–       The dog chases the old girl

1.5. Immediate constituent grammar (Ngữ pháp cấu tạo thành tố trực tiếp)

This grammar is the grammar studies the language layers to identify the meaning. According to this grammar, language elements don’t belong to the same layer, but they belong to the different layers, creating the different meanings.


Giải thích:

A: Các cô gái đẹp đã đến thêm
B: Các cô gái đẹp hơn đã đến

1.6 . Functional grammar (Ngữ pháp chức năng)

Is a grammar studying the basic language functions?

Example: – Ideational function, interpersonal function, textual function.
•    ideational function:
Means language must be used in such a way to express different concepts in reality (thực tế)
•    Interpersonal function
Means language must be used in such a way it suits the relation between the language users.
•    Textual function:
Means language must be used in such a way it suits the contents of communication.
From these functions, this grammar 3 types of meanings: the ideational meaning, Textual meaning, and Interpersonal meaning.
–    the ideational meaning is the meaning expressing some concepts
–    the textual meaning is the meaning regulated by some texts
–    The interpersonal meaning is the meaning regulated by the language users concerned.

According to the functional grammar, a message includes 2 elements: theme & rhyme (Đề và thuyết). That is one element of the clause is given the special status of theme by being put first and it then combines with the rest of the clause to constitute the message.

Theme is defined as ‘The element which serves as the point of departure of the message, it is that with which the clause is concerned “and the rest of the message is referred to as the rhyme, theme is normally realized by nominal group, prepositional phrase.

–    He    hit the girl right in here last night
  Theme                rhyme
–    Right in here    he hit the girl last night.
          Đề                        thuyết

–    Thomas   gave the Sophia that Easter egg
        Đề                     thuyết

Notes: Themes may be also realized by clause, as in the case of:
–    What Thomas gave to Sophia was an egg
However in this case, the clause “What Thomas gave to Sophia functions as nominal group in the whole clause; this phenomenon is referred to as nominalization. It is also possible to have cases of predicated “theme” having the form: It + be, as in:
–    It was an Easter egg that Thomas gave to Sophie.

The most usual themes in English are those are realized by the grammatical subject of the clause, and these are called unmarked theme, when the theme is something other than the subject, it is called marked theme as in:
–    At Easter  Thomas went to see Sophia and Katie
         Đề                     thuyết
–    Very soon  they were eating Easter eggs.
       Đề                       thuyết


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