Linguistic Analysis

A research journal devoted to the publication of high quality articles in formal phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. In continuous publication since 1976. ISSN: 0098-9053


Pregroup Grammars and the Chinese Verb: What Do They Tell Us?

In previous linguistic research conducted within the theory of Pregroups, it has appeared necessary to describe verbal conjugation explicitly at first. This was done with the help of a matrix, which allowed algebraic results to be expressed by a simple formula. Apart from its simplicity, the formula needed to be explanatory and/or resistant enough to further implementation in the algebraic typing of Pregroup grammars.

Indeed, each language studied displayed diversity in the specificities of its verbal conjugation, although this does not disprove the broader arrangement of words in the sentence known as syntax, simply that Pregroups are intended to provide in an algebraic calculation.

The idea of generating the different finite forms of a verb V through a simple calculation starting with one formal expression, such as Cij(V), offered a satisfactory tool for treating verbal conjugation, person, tense, or aspect, which are often visible from morphological changes in the verb.

The extension of this matrix to Cijk (V) for Latin [13] was useful in order to make possible the calculation of the 90 conjugated Latin verb-forms. An even greater extension of the formulae to Cijkl (V) was required to show the different grammatical refinements of the Turkish verb [9]. Later, the same formulation, but the reverse in its subscript arrangement Clkji (V), proved to be useful in order to explain verbal inflection in Arabic [10].

It should be noted that one of the advantages of this Cij (V) expression resides in its plasticity. Its extensions can be adapted to natural languages with simplicity and elegance.

However, this algebraic notation is not required for studying the Chinese verb. Since Chinese2 is an isolating language, there is no need for inflection i.e., the verb is not conjugated. Hence, the rewriting technique employed elsewhere to describe verbal conjugation and noun3 inflection is irrelevant in Chinese.