Syntagma in the English Speech : Structure, Meaning and Functions

 © The Editorial Council and Editorial Board of Linguistic Studies

Linguistic Studies
Volume 27, 2013, pp.  117-122

Syntagma in the English Speech : Structure, Meaning and Functions

Elena Filatova

Article first published online: April 10, 2013 


Additional information

 Author Information: 

Elena V. Filatova, Candidate of Philology, Associate Professor, Head of Department of Foreign Languages, Donetsk Institute of Tourist Business.  Correspondence: taranushchenko@mail.ru, anikanych@yandex.ua

Citation: 
Filatova, E. Syntagma in the English Speech : Structure, Meaning and Functions [Text] // Linguistic Studies collection of scientific papers / Donetsk National University Ed. by A. P. Zahnitko. – Donetsk : DonNU, 2013. – Vol. 27. – Pp. 117-122. – ISBN 966-7277-88-7

Publication History:
Volume first published online: April 10, 2013

Article received: September 26, 2012, accepted: December 28, 2012 and first published online: April 10, 2013

Annotation.

The question of the role of a syntagma in the English speech is under consideration. The ideas of a syntagma of the academician L.V. Shcherba are developed. The roles of a word, a sentence and a syntagma in the process of the text formation, its structuring and perception are defined.

Keywords: language, speech, language unit, speech unit, speech creation unit, word, syntagma, sentence, syntagmatic structure of the speech.



Abstract.

SYNTAGMA IN THE ENGLISH SPEECH: STRUCTURE, MEANING AND FUNCTIONS

Elena Filatova

Department of Foreign Languages, Donetsk Institute of Tourist Business, Donetsk, Ukraine

 

Available 9 June 2012.

 

Abstract

Relevance

Many simple sentences let alone complex ones in the English, Russian and Ukrainian languages have both compound contents and structure even if they look like simple ones. We mean all the cases when sentences comprise several syntagmas. The syntagmatic structure of a sentence can be one-component or multi-component, that is, it comprises one minimal initial speech unit or some more units which function as a sentence. The question of speech creation and its initial unit is not well studied in linguistics.

The topicality of the work is in the fact that a syntagma is an initial unit of speech creation and perception, in this connection it is a supporting unit in the formation of all kinds of speech activities and texts rendering as well.

Purpose

The purpose of the article is to define a true initial unit of the English speech creation.

Tasks

Tasks of the article are to write its structure, meaning and functions.

Conclusion

As we can see, the answer to the question, what unit a word, a word-combination or a syntagmais the initial component of sentence creation, is evident: this unit must be, firstly, minimal, univariate (i.e. having a single undivided component of a structure with one component of content), secondly, monosemantic and, thirdly, of speech character, i.e. it must not have a generic meaning, typical for language units, but a definite, situational one. Among speech units only a syntagma suits these parameters.

The theory of a syntagma is closely connected with pragmatics of speech. In the native language it is important for formation and development of skills of written summary of the matter while teaching reading with adequate perception of the text. It is effective while studying foreign languages, which successful mastering is possible only with syntagmas, with the comprehension of the syntagmatic structure of the reviewed text, not separate words of a foreign language.

Perspective

The development of the theory of a syntagma as an initial unit of speech creation and perception, further study of its role in the formation and development of all kinds of speech activities both productive and receptive.

 

Research highlights

► The question of the role of a syntagma in the English speech is under consideration. ► The ideas of a syntagma of the academician L.V. Shcherba are developed. ► The roles of a word, a sentence and a syntagma in the process of the text formation, its structuring and perception are defined.

Keywords: language, speech, language unit, speech unit, speech creation unit, word, syntagma, sentence, syntagmatic structure of the speech.

 

References

Slobin, D. (1976). Psiholingvistika. M.: Progress.

Filatove, Е. V. (2009). Vopros sintagmy v amerikanskoj lingvistike. Vostochnoukrainskij lingvisticheskij sbornik,13, 313-324. Donetsk.

Filatova, O. V. (2011). Mistse i rol' syntahmy v usniy i pysemniy formakh movlennya. Linhvistyka, 3 (24), ch. 2, 216-223.

Filatova, Е. V. (2011a). Sintagmaticheskaja i predlozhencheskaja struktury teksta i ih naznachenie. Uchenye zapiski Tavricheskogo nacional'nogo universiteta im. V.I. Vernadskogo. Serija "Filologija. Social'nye kommunikacii", 24 (63), ch. 2, 4, 65-72.

Filatova, Е. V. (2011). O nekotoryh protivorechijah v teorii porozhdenija rechi. Filolohichni traktaty, 3 (2), 71-77. E-mail: http://essuir.sumdu.edu.ua/handle/123456789/21961.

Bloomfield, L. (1964). Language. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.

Braine, M. D. S. (1963). The ontogeny of English phrase structure: The first phase. Language, 39 (2), 1-13.

Chomsky, N. (1957). Syntactic structures. The Hague: Mouton.

Filatova, E. V. (2012). Syntagmatics of the English sentence as the main way of its adequate perception. Visnyk DITB, 14, 335-338.

Fodor, J. A. & Bever, T. G. (1965). The psychological reality of linguistic segments. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 4, 414-420.

Lashley, K. S. (1961). The problem of serial order in behavior. Psycholinguistics: A book of readings, 180-198. N. Y.

Slobin, D. I. (1971). Psycholinguistics. L.A.: University of California, Berkeley.

 

Correspondence: taranushchenko@mail.ru, anikanych@yandex.ua

Vitae

Elena V. Filatova, Candidate of Philology, Associate Professor, Head of Department of Foreign Languages, Donetsk Institute of Tourist Business. Her scientific interests include general linguistics, especially questions of speech creation and perception, language and speech spheres, language and speech units, units of the oral and written speech, a syntagma, a syntagmatic and sentence structure of a text.

 



Article.

Elena Filatova

УДК 413.1.18

 

SYNTAGMA IN THE ENGLISH SPEECH:

STRUCTURE, MEANING AND FUNCTIONS

Висвітлюється питання про роль синтагми в англійському мовленні. Розвивається думка академіка Л.В. Щерби про синтагму. З’ясовується роль слова, речення і синтагми в процесі формування тексту, його структуруванні та сприйманні.

Ключові слова: мова, мовлення, одиниця мови, одиниця мовлення, одиниця породження мовлення, слово, синтагма, речення, синтагматична структура мовлення.

Many simple sentences let alone complex ones in the English, Russian and Ukrainian languages have both compound contents and structure even if they look like simple ones. We mean all the cases when sentences comprise several syntagmas. The syntagmatic structure of a sentence can be one-component or multi-component, that is, it comprises one minimal initial speech unit or some more units which function as a sentence. The question of speech creation and its initial unit is not well studied in linguistics.

The aim of the article is to define a true initial unit of the English speech creation. Tasks of the article are to write its structure, meaning and functions.

Let us take a close look at the following sentence: (1) The girl bought the book.

Due to intonation its structure is monosemantic in the speech. In the written form it comprises different intonational and intentional variants. It is vital to understand its true structure (i.e. the structure of the units which make the sentence) and the intonation. Only its context helps here. If the content of the sentence depicts the fact of the book purchase by the girl it comprises one syntagma only. For example, answering the question: What happened?

If the sentence answers the question: Who / bought the book? it comprises two syntagmas and we should make an obligatory pause between them:


(2) The girl / bought the book.

In this case attention is paid to the subject and its action which is directed to the object. The syntagmatic stress is on the syntagma with the meaning of the subject carrying the new information.

If the sentence answers the question: What / did the girl buy? it will also include two syntagmas but the other ones (both in a structural and content-driven way):

(3) The girl bought / the book.

And again there is an obligatory pause between them. Now it distinguishes between the syntagma with the meaning of the subject with its action and the syntagma with the meaning of the object. The syntagmatic stress is on the syntagma with the meaning of the object.

As it is possible to buy a book, to present a book, to read a book, to write a book, to give a book, etc., the following question may be asked: What / did the girl do / with the book?

The answer is obvious: (4) The girl / bought / the book.

The sentence comprises three syntagmas now. The first and the third syntagmas consist of the known facts, the third one provides new information. Therefore it is stressed intonationally not only with pauses. It has the syntagmatic stress as well.

So graphically one and the same sentence structure depending on its communicative purposes with the same lexical filling can have different formats of contents. The contents given by the subject modifies the syntagmatic structure and its intonation every time. The reader’s comprehension helps with its exact understanding. Due to pauses syntagmas and borders between them are realized, melodic and syntagmatic stress understanding helps to distinguish the most important as for its content syntagma and adequate perception of the content.

Regarding even this simple sentence it is understood the English sentence is formed by means of syntagmas not separate words. Hence the reader should understand its meaningful and grammar combinations of words in groups and their intonation.

If the sentence represents the unity of structure, intonation and content (all four variants differ in those parameters) we should admit we have different sentences here though they have a similar graphic form. Only a context helps in understanding a true syntagmatic structure of a certain variant and defining its intonation with the adequate comprehension of its content.

The first variant is represented with one syntagma. There is no inter-syntagmatic connection here, only intra-syntagmatic one. The second and the third variants comprise two syntagmas. Their inter-syntagmatic connection may be shown in the following schemes.


The fourth variant of connection may be represented by the following scheme:


The contents of those variants are made of meanings of their syntagmas:

(2) S = The girl + bought the book.

(3) S = The girl bought + the book.

 (4) S = The girl + bought + the book.

It is seen that every sentence has a definite syntagmatic basis. It is formed by the subject from syntagmas, their structure and contents are conditioned by a certain communicative purpose and intonation. By means of those syntagmas the sentence is perceived by a listener and a reader. At the same time a listener by means of the intonation and a reader by means of the context qualify the meaningful qualities of syntagmas and define their content adequacy.

A sentence with the same semantic filling in the oral speech due to intonation has one content, resulting from the quantity and structure of syntagmas. It goes without saying in the written speech it has also only one (author’s) content, it is understood by the reader on basis of the context. Every syntagma is defined by the subject in the process of speech creation. The goal of the addressee is to gain an understanding of them, their quantity, structure and intonation. Only in this case it is possible to understand the content adequately.

The sentence, given in our example, is of elementary structure, there may be formed an opinion about its construction of separate words. It is easy to disabuse referring to bulk structures or complex sentences. For example, let us have a good look at the sentence by N. Chomsky which he uses enlightening the question of sentences “inserted in another sentence” [Chomsky 1957: 22]:

If the man who said that Chomsky has very weak arguments is here then either he has to defend his point or he has to be open to criticism.

We are not interested in its composition or collocation of simple predicative units but in its syntagmatic structure and a role of syntagmas in perception of its contents. Its syntagmatics is obvious:

If the man / who said / that Chomsky has very weak arguments / is here / then either he has to defend his point / or he has to be open to criticism.

Chomsky pays attention to the gap of the simple predicative unit If the manis here and regards the given situation as a widespread method used in many languages.

Commenting on the situation on the level of syntagmas we should point out the following moments. The word man of the first syntagma, from the point of view of the subject of speech, needs a concrete definition, subsequently after it an extended attribute appears, which consists of two syntagmas giving sufficient information in the author’s opinion:

who said and that Chomsky has very weak arguments.

Thanks to them the syntagma If the man eliminates meaning insufficiency, gets a definite content, which is characteristic of any situational speech unit. These two syntagmas define it and denote its independence. The content of the sentence is understood as a result of consecutive perception of meanings of its all six syntagmas.

The following scheme shows the syntagmatic structure of the sentence, the order of syntagmas and their inter-syntagmatic connection.



The first syntagma corresponds to the minimal composition of the subject of subordinate conditional predicative unit, it is joined by the subordinate connection with the second one, which corresponds to subordinate attributive sentence and in its turn is joined with the third which also corresponds to a separate subordinate sentence with the meaning of object clause. So the second syntagma is connected with the first and the third syntagmas which are not directly interconnected but due to the binding role of the second syntagma the indirect semantic bond is settled between them.

The first syntagma goes with the fourth which represents the compound predicate. Taken together they form a subordinate clause with the meaning of condition, which the fifth and the sixth syntagmas corresponding to two homogeneous main clauses go grammatically and by implication with. Between the last ones there is a disjunctive syntactic connection with the meaning of an alternative action.

By means of the first syntagma the second and the third syntagmas establish a semantic mediate connection with the rest of syntagmas in the sentence forming its content.

None of syntagmas of the sentence are represented by a separate word so there is no ground for saying about the sentence formation with the help of separate words.

Studying the structure of the speech American scientists T. Bever, D. Slobin, J. Fodor and others determined that the speech and sentences in particular are “structured chains containing hierarchical different units” [Fodor 1965: 415; Slobin 1976: 61]. For them the structured chain is a notion of a constituent structure, a structure directly making up sentences, which is represented by sounds, morphemes, words and syntagmas. Such an approach is untenable as the accurate differentiation of language system and speech sphere is not expected here and it leads to blending linguistic units of different spheres and levels. However it is obvious neither sounds nor syllables, nor morphemes carry out a speech creation function so they cannot be qualified as direct constituents of a sentence as a speech unit. From the beginning they have an established character and are fixed in words in a strict and certain sequence. They are used (reproduced) in ready-made units while a sentence is created. Without bias its direct constituents must be minimal speech structures, creating a sentence. So there must be a speech unit which comes out as a real initial component of a sentence. It must be univariate. Its one-dimensionality is in the fact that the unity of its contents corresponds to the unity of a structure.

These signs inhere in a syntagma only. Sounds are direct constituents of morphemes. Morphemes are constituents of words and words are constituents of syntagmas. With the transfer of a word from the language sphere into the speech one it changes a character of its meaning: instead of generalized it becomes definite. Sounds are relevant to a morpheme, morphemes to words and words to syntagmas where they get one situational meaning. It is wrong to unite linguistic units without their differentiation to a sphere of functioning and declare them direct constituents of a sentence. Sounds, syllables, morphemes do not bear any relation to the process of thinking and speech creation and sentence creation as well. These are not speech units. For every person they have a fixed position in its sign structures.

The speech represents an individual creative result. It is formed with a minimal speech unit (a syntagma) by every speaker in his own way. That is why any speech chain including a sentence must be divided into the univariate speech components it is directly comprised of, i.e. initial minimal limiting speech units. Sounds, syllables and morphemes are not related to its organization; therefore it cannot be divided into these units in the aspect of speech. The limit of speech division of a sentence is the structural and meaningful parts (syntagmas) which are represented by the author as constituent units of its structure and content. For example, a text may be divided into syntagmas in correspondence with its syntagmatic structure (as it is directly composed of them), into sentences as constituent speech units structuring its content and into utterances (complex syntactical unities). Sentences normalize thoughts of a text and make easier its perception assisting in realization of its syntagmatic structure.

As it was mentioned above words as separate units of the language system with their generic meaning do not form speech directly. They can be speech units in syntagmas, only united with its other words acquiring a mutual situational meaning.

Above mentioned scientists were the first ones who used a notion ‘direct constituents’ in their researches. In our opinion they made it with some contriety as they neither distinguished spheres of language and speech, nor differentiated linguistic units from language and speech.

Any text and every its sentence are composed of minimal and monosemantic speech components. Therefore direct constituents of every sentence must be only the ultimate speech units it is composed of. These are syntagmas and they mean the transfer from the language sphere into the realm of speech. Minimality, concrete nature, one-dimensionality and the exact reflection of the fragment of the situation are characteristic of them as initial speech structures.

In the word of the language the essential feature of reality is reflected, which allows to unite all realities with the given feature in one group and oppose them to other realities with other essential features. The meaning of such a word is generic.

Not essential but accident features of reality distinguishing it from other similar realities are actualized in the word as a component of a syntagma. So a syntagma represents a definite reality, no reality-type. It is not accidental that I.A. Baudouin de Courtenay used different terms – a lexeme and a syntagma to differentiate words in the language and the speech. But the term ‘syntagma’ in Baudouin’s meaning has not fixed in the science. In view of refuse to use the term very actual fundamental scientific thought has faded into the background.

A syntagma usually includes several words united by implication, intonation and grammar. They form one structural and meaningful fragment. But quite often even one word can fulfill the function of a syntagma, if the subject of the speech believes that it is enough to reflect the content in the combination with other syntagmas. Such cases must not create an illusion that a sentence is composed of words. A minimum quantity of syntagmas in a sentence is one, but usually there are a few of them. Their quantity is defined by the content and peculiarities of a psychic activity of the author of the text, by his language and speech competence.

Nevertheless in the study of the speech structure by American linguists there is a kernel of good sense in spite of their confusion of language and speech spheres. It is in the part devoted to the study of a syntagma; it indicates while demarcating clearly language and speech units the study of direct constituents can be quite useful, both in theoretical and practical ways (for example, teaching the adequate perception of texts and translating them from one language into another as well). Their conclusion on syntagmas having a tendency to preserve their structural and meaningful integrity resisting to fractures and other deformations is very important [Fodor 1965: 416].

In 1951 K. Lashley stated the word order in the English sentence is not apparent from words as such [Lashley 1961: 180]. This thought is true for many languages. At the heart of combinability and syntactic connection of words there is no parts of speech affiliation and meaning of words. It goes without saying these are important linguistic features while organizing speech but not the main ones. Depending on the content conveyed, the definite word can be followed by any other one which can be combined with the given word only theoretically. Grammatical connections and meaningful associations between words standing together cannot explain either speech creation or speech perception. In the scientist’s opinion the enough quantity of words, connected by implication and grammar, is necessary to convey the content of the speech. He points out the importance of distant arrangement for meaningfully related words (i.e. inter-syntagmatic connections of different syntagmas).

Six years later Chomsky went on developing Lashley’s ideas. Analyzing a syntactic structure of Colorless green ideas sleep furiously, Chomsky pays attention to the fact that the possibility of combinability of words, presented there, is quite small. Nevertheless taking into account some factors in the language (for example, the availability of figurative meanings) and in the speech (the structure composed of two syntagmas syntactically bound by predicate connection – Colorless green ideas / sleep furiously) it is hard to deny that in this case we have a sentence. Between words in every syntagma there is an intra-syntagmatic relation, a common creative content is seen (‘ideas are immature and mediocre and what is more they are in some drowsy or even heavy sleep condition’). The meaning of the first syntagma is ‘mediocre, immature ideas’, the meaning of the second is ‘to be in a drowsy condition’. Chomsky mentions the sentence is possible even when chances of words to combine are quite small. Their combinability is defined by a practical situation of reality.

Is it always possible to compose a sentence of words with high probability of their combinability? Is the chain of grammatically bound words always a reflection of connected speech? Can it be of accidental character? It turned out, that everything is defined by no separate direct contacting words and their connections but by structural and meaningful groups of words, informal and grammatical unity of syntagmas at their key words level. It has been presented by the author in a persuasive way.

Considering the question of “how people divide a sentence into… syntagmas”, D. Slobin approaches the subject a little bit one-sidedly. First, in his opinion syntagmas in the written speech are “marked out by linguists” [Slobin 1976: 58], not by the subject of the speech or readers. The circle of subjects dealing with syntagmas in the speech is limited sharply. Syntagmas are single lexical groups which appeared as a result of creative speech activity of the author while conveying definite contents; every language speaker deals with them deliberately or instinctively. The subject of the speech constitutes the information from syntagmas, and its addressee perceives it adequately thanks to its comprehension and understanding. A syntagma is not an invention of linguists, but a real unit of any speech. A syntagmatic structure of a text and every sentence in it are defined by the author, readers must perceive them adequately. It is the main way of intonation understanding as a means of content interpretation. Linguists are in the same position as other readers, i.e. in the position of people trying to find the author’s variant of text syntagmatics for its content adequate understanding. A syntagma is not an artificial hypothetic unit as a word-combination, invented by linguists for a metalanguage purpose. It is an objectively existing unit of a definite speech, which is the basis for its creation and further perception. One man forms a speech, another perceives it. To understand the content of the speech in a right way the process of its perception must be based on real monosemantic speech units, it has been directly composed of. It is possible to understand the content of the speech with the successive realization of their meanings. Due to consecutive perception of syntagmas sentences, utterances and texts are apprehended.

Any speech can be structured on the level of different speech units: syntagmas, sentences, expressions as relatively independent parts of the text. By means of syntagmas its structure and content is formed. By means of other units the speech is traditionally shaped into texts. In the chain of speech units a syntagma is a minimal, initial, unit, and a text is maximal. They have a common feature: both units are utmost. A syntagma is utmost in its minimality and a text is utmost in its maximality.

From a sentence to a text the author gives only one variant to the syntagmatic structure of the speech. Every reader tries to understand it. Let us have a close look at the following sentence as a structured chain of minimal meaningful speech units:

That he was happy / was evident / from the way he smiled.

It comprises three syntagmas, composing the content of the sentence.

S = That he was happy + was evident + from the way he smiled.

The perception of the content of the whole sentence is realized by means of its syntagmatic division and consecutive perception of every syntagma and their meanings augment. The principle is natural: which speech units formed the sentence, the same units help perceive it. And vice versa: by means of what units the sentence is perceived, the same units it is composed of. The adequacy of perception of the syntagmatic structure of the text guarantees the true comprehension of its content for the reader.

Conclusions. As we can see, the answer to the question, what unit a word, a word-combination or a syntagmas – is the initial component of sentence creation, is evident: this unit must be, firstly, minimal, univariate (i.e. having a single undivided component of a structure with one component of content), secondly, monosemantic and, thirdly, of speech character, i.e. it must not have a generic meaning, typical for language units, but a definite, situational one. Among speech units only a syntagma suits these parameters.

The theory of a syntagma is closely connected with pragmatics of speech. In the native language it is important for formation and development of skills of written summary of the matter while teaching reading with adequate perception of the text. It is effective while studying foreign languages, which successful mastering is possible only with syntagmas, with the comprehension of the syntagmatic structure of the reviewed text, not separate words of a foreign language.

References. 

Література

Слобин 1976: Слобин, Д. Психолингвистика [Текст] // Д. Слобин, Дж. Грин. Психолингвистика. – М. : Прогресс, 1976. – 350 с.

Филатова 2009: Филатова, Е.В. Вопрос синтагмы в американской лингвистике [Текст] // Восточноукраинский лингвистический сборник. – Вып. 13. – Донецк, 2009. – С. 313-324.

Філатова 2011: Філатова, О.В. Місце і роль синтагми в усній і писемній формах мовлення [Текст] / О. В. Філатова // Лінгвістика . – 2011. – № 3 (24), ч. 2. – С. 216-223.

Филатова 2011а: Филатова, Е.В. Синтагматическая и предложенческая структуры текста и их назначение [Текст] / Е. В. Филатова // Ученые записки Таврического национального университета им. В.И. Вернадского». Серия «Филология. Социальные коммуникации». – Т. 24 (63), ч. 2. – № 4.2011. – С. 65-72.

Филатова 2011: Филатова, Е.В. О некоторых противоречиях в теории порождения речи [Текст] / Е. В. Филатова // Філологічні трактати. – Т. 3, № 2. – 2011. – С. 71-77. – Режим доступа : [Электронный ресурс]. Access mode : URL : http://essuir.sumdu.edu.ua/handle/123456789/21961. – Название с экрана.

Bloomfield 1964: Bloomfield, L. Language [Text] / L. Bloomfield. – New York : Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1964. – 592 pp.

Braine 1963: Braine, M.D.S. The ontogeny of English phrase structure : The first phase [Text] / M. D. S. Braine // Language. – 1963. – V. 39, № 2. – Pp. 1-13.

Chomsky 1957: Chomsky, N. Syntactic structures [Text] / N. Chomsky. – The Hague : Mouton, 1957. – 117 pp.

Filatova 2012: Filatova, E.V. Syntagmatics of the English sentence as the main way of its adequate perception [Text] / E. V. Filatova // Вісник ДІТБ. – 2012. – № 14. – С. 335-338.

Fodor, Bever 1965: Fodor, J.A., Bever, T.G. The psychological reality of linguistic segments [Text] / J. A. Fodor, T. G. Bever // Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior. – 1965. – № 4. – Pp. 414-420.

Lashley 1961: Lashley, K.S. The problem of serial order in behavior [Text] / K. S. Lashley // Saporta S. (Ed.) Psycholinguistics : A book of readings. – N. Y., 1961. – Pp. 180-198.

Slobin 1971: Slobin, D.I. Psycholinguistics [Text] / D. I. Slobin. – L.A. : University of California, Berkeley, 1971. – 189 pp.

 

Рассматривается роль синтагмы в английской речи. Развиваются мысли академика Л.В. Щербы о синтагме. Уделяется внимание роли слова, предложения и синтагмы в процессе формирования, структурирования и восприятия текста.

Ключевые слова: язык, речь, единица языка, единица речи, единица порождения речи, слово, синтагма, предложение, синтагматическая структура речи.


The question of the role of a syntagma in the English speech is under consideration. The ideas of a syntagma of the academician L.V. Shcherba are developed. The roles of a word, a sentence and a syntagma in the process of the text formation, its structuring and perception are defined.

Keywords: language, speech, language unit, speech unit, speech creation unit, word, syntagma, sentence, syntagmatic structure of the speech.

Надійшла до редакції 9 вересня 2012 року.