The Issue of the Linguistic Structure Concept in Contemporary Romanian Syntax

Abstract

While it is fundamental for the linguistic system concept to be considered as a set of stable and interdependent structural rules, it is fundamental for the linguistic structure concept to be considered as a scheme of functional relationships , because the structure rules and the relationships are structural rules and relationships only if they ensure certain functions. This means that any minimal unit of a system belongs to that system if it has a function in a scheme of relationships, and it fulfils such function only if it belongs to a proper system. The concept of relationship has been theorised and clearly defined by Ferdinand de Saussure. In modern linguistics, this is a key point because everything in a natural language is based on relationships, starting with the linguistic sign – which is the result of a relationship between a signifier and a signified .

Keywords: Relationshiplinguistic systemlinguistic structuresyntagmlexeme

1.Research Methodology

In our linguistic analysis, we used mixed-method approach which can illustrate with example how

qualitative methods as bibliographical research, analysis, observation and interpretation can contribute

to linguistic research.

2.Introduction

When we analyse a statement, we find a number of units arranged in a certain order. Each part of

that statement achieves its communicative function due to the complex of relationships between that

part and the multitude of elements from which it was selected, and also due to complex of relationships

with the other parts of the statement.

The relationships between each element of the statement and the elements of the group from which

it was selected are called paradigmatic relationships. Ferdinand de Saussure considers them

relationships between words in absentia (Saussure, 1971: 171). The relationships between each

component and the other components of a statement are called syntagmatic relationships , their words

co-exist in praesentia (Saussure, 1971: 171).

Therefore, any language knows two ways of organising its units: a paradigmatic one, which

translates as selection, and a syntagmatic one, which is reflected in the arrangement in a certain

sequence.

3.Statement and linguistic structure (relationships)

The central issue of syntax is both the statement – as a syntagmatic structure analysable in

components, and especially the determination of the minimum functional units which are the

components of the statement and between which relationships are established. Relationships are

underlying elements of any communication; achieving a communication necessarily involves the

existence of relationships (Guţu Romalo, 1973: 35). These relationships are the ones that give a

statement a communicative value . If these relationships do not concern the organisation or the structure

of a statement, then they are external to that statement.

In addition to external relationships , there are internal relationships between the components of a

statement, which are intrinsic to the statement. They characterise only statements made up of two or

more words in which they connect to each other the components of a statement (Guţu Romalo, 1973:

35-36).

A syntactic relationship is the syntagmatic relationship which involves two or more minimal

component units of a statement’s structure (Iordan & Robu, 1978: 546-547). The syntactic relationship

is the internal relationship whose role is to structure the statement and give it the character of an

organised whole that carries information.

As already mentioned, the specificity of the syntactic level is based on the requirements of the

communication process which impose the statement as a fundamental unit, and the clause as a minimal

unit. According to the communicative aspect - which is also called assertive, predicative, enunciative -

the base unit of syntax is the statement understood as completed communicative unit. A statement is a

finite, relatively autonomous structure, whose syntactic identity is defined by the unit of meaning, by

the unit of structure and by the prosodic unit (Irimia, 2008: 378-379).

While the prosodic unit and the semantic unit are ensured by the conduct of predication, the

structure unit varies according to the specific achievement of predication and the syntactic expansions

that it directs or even conditions.

4.Syntagm – the minimal and maximal unit of the syntactic level

The structure unit of the statement is ensured by incorporating the lexical level of the language

system in the syntactic level through syntactic relationships. The transition of the word from lexical

unit to syntactic term is achieved through syntagm , which is the minimal and maximal unit of the

syntactic level . Within and due to the relationship, lexemes receive new roles and the status of terms of

the syntagm (Draşoveanu, 1997: 25-26).

The following example is illustrative:

Ştie pentru că învaţă, / He knows because he learns.

Ştie/(he) knows = lexeme; it has a qualifier (lexical) meaning; it has the meaning of effect .

învaţă/(he) learns = lexeme; it has a qualifier (lexical) meaning; it has the meaning of cause .

pentru că/because= connective; it has no qualifier (lexical) meaning, but a relational meaning .

It is noted that a lexeme becomes term only at syntactic level and as a result of the relationship; the

relationship is the one that creates terms and not vice versa, the relationship is the creator of the terms

of a syntagm understood as a binary structure (Draşoveanu, 1997: 25-26). The relationship is the one

from which the content of the terms emanates – the content is an element extrinsic to lexemes; the

relationship also serves as organiser of the terms of the relationship. What the definitions of

coordination and subordination have in common is that they all take into account, one way or the other,

the terms of a relationship (Draşoveanu, 1997: 40). “Syntactic relationships give a statement the

character of an organised whole: they place the components of a statement in different ways one from

the others” (Draşoveanu, 1997: 45).

If we generalise, we can say that every syntagm is based on a relationship, it is generated by a

relational meaning.

The term syntagm has a broader meaning that includes any binary group of elements united by the

relationship of dependence (Saussure, 1971: 127). Three meanings are of interest in syntax (Iordan,

19956: 517-518):

a)a group of words that forms, in a given statement, a unit of meaning and has the role of

rhythmic-intonation unit;

b)combinations of two parts of clause (including or excluding the subject + predicate group)

c)any binary syntactic group consisting of a determining and a determined part, regardless of the

complexity of the terms.

According to the last meaning, a statement is a syntagm made up of terms which are also syntagms

whose terms are also syntagms, and so on, and the components of a statement are a chain of syntagms.

This concept develops Ferdinand de Saussure’s ideas.

As regards the concept of syntagm, there is no concordance of views; interpretations differ greatly in

literature.

Along with the part of clause, the clause and the sentence, the syntagm is considered by many

authors to be one of the syntax units. In Sinteze de limbă română. Sintaxa (Syntheses of the Romanian

Language. Syntax) , Corneliu Crăciun considers the syntagm or the group of words as an intermediary

unit between the clause and the word/part of clause, which should not be defined in terms of subject

and predicate, but in terms of coordination and subordination relationships between the components of

a statement, excluding the predicate-subject, predicate-object, predicate-floating predicate

relationships. The author defines syntagm as “a group of words which, compared to the rest of the

communication, are characterised by a semantically flexible unit whose components are in coordination

and subordination relationships” (Crăciun, 2001: 13). The same author says that the syntagm may

appear as a unit of two terms – simple syntagm - or as a unit of three or more terms – complex

syntagm, specifying that the complex syntagm is made up of several simple syntagms.

In Teze şi antiteze în sintaxa limbii române (Theses and Antitheses in the Syntax of the Romanian

Language) , D. D. Draşoveanu offers a vision of the concept at issue - syntagm, which we consider fair

and complete. “ The syntagm is only binary due to the linearity (one-dimension) of the chain of

speech which, according to Saussure, requires consecution in the arrangement of consecutive elements

and, thus, binarity.” (Draşoveanu, 1997: 39) The author believes that syntagms phenomenalise as such

– syntagms per se –or in clauses and sentences. Therefore, the syntagm – the group made up of two

terms and the relationship between them – is the relational unit of syntax, the only unit, both minimal

and maximal (Draşoveanu, 1997: 36). All that is beyond and above the word is syntagm. Clause and

sentence may be defined in terms of the syntagm – as they are in fact syntagms: a clause is asyntagm in

which the relateme is the verb agreement flective, and a sentence is a syntagm in which the relateme is

an inter-clause connective (Draşoveanu, 1997: 34). The syntagm is the general that is particularised

both in clauses and in sentences. From a relational standpoint, a syntagm cannot be inferior to a clause

or a sentence; they are all phenomenalisations of the same general (Draşoveanu, 1997: 32).

Any structure requires a certain number of units or component elements, arranged based on

relationships and characterised by a specific functionality. Unit, relationship, function are three entities

falling within the definition of the dynamics of a syntactic structure. Relationships are established

between units and the study of relationships reveals the typology of syntactic units (Diaconescu, 1989:

15).

Syntactic relationships are connected to the combinations of words into syntactic units, but we

cannot say that these – the syntactic relationships –may be found in all combinations of words; there

are two types of exceptions in this regard: the category of non-notional words and the category of

words that includes words with semantic information and those occurring in free combinations of

words (Iordan, Robu, 1978: 553), but belong to different groups of words in a clause, a sentence or a

text (Dimitriu, 2002: 1127-1129).

From our point of view, syntactical relationships concern the grammatical relationships existing

between two terms. The relationship (syntactic relationship) is the new element that is specific to the

syntactic level; it is a separate independent entity, a linguistic sign objectively equipped with

expression and content . The content of a relationship is the relational meaning; it represents the

element that puts in antinomy two other meanings which are non-relational, for they are lexical

meanings. The expression of a relationship consists not only of connectives, but also of relational

flectives - understood in accordance with the meaning of flective as form, relational organiser of an

idea, because “relational flectives and connectives are at the same level that they share in a different

way, and the proportion causes the degree of analytism/synthetism of the language”. D.D. Draşoveanu

named these two elements of expression - flectives and connectives - with the generic term of

relatemes ;with their help, he defined the inter-lexematic syntagmatic relationship as “the solidarity

between a relational meaning and a relateme” (Draşoveanu, 1997: 28-29). The grammatical and non-

relational opponent of the word relateme is the non-relational/opposing flective, which is called

opposeme . Relatemeand opposeme have a generic and superordinate term, i.e. grammeme, which is the

direct opposite of lexeme (Neamţu: 2010-2011).

Therefore, by generalising, we will say that the expression of a relationship consists not only of

connectives, but also of flectives (some of them called relational flectives). Connectives and relational

flectives are the last of the inventory of segmented means used to create relationships. Other

suprasegmental means may be added insignificantly (intonation, word order and zero means),

generically known as adherence .

5.Results

In conclusion, in light of what we presented and demonstrated above, a linguistic structure, a

relationship represents the solidarity between a relational meaning (content of the relationship) and a

relateme (expression of the relationship); it is therefore a linguistic sign with expression and content. In

terms of expression, it is part of the chain of speech as a distinct segment with a certain development, a

certain length, which supports the initial statement that while it is fundamental for the linguistic system

concept to be considered as a set of stable and interdependent structural rules, it is fundamental for the

linguistic structure concept to be considered as a scheme of functional relationships, because the

structure rules and the relationships are structural rules and relationships only if they ensure certain

functions. This means that any minimal unit of a system belongs to that system if it has a function in a

scheme of relationships, and it fulfils such function only if it belongs to a proper system.

References

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Publisher

Future Academy

First Online

18.12.2019

Doi

10.15405/epsbs.2016.09.92

Online ISSN

2357-1330