How does syntactic and semantic knowledge contribute to our understanding of a piece of text
The Little Oxford dictionary (1986) defines syntactic knowledge as "the grammatical arrangement of words/rules or analysis of this", while semantic knowledge is described as knowledge "of the meaning in language."
But what is comprehension? Anderson claims "comprehension involves a perceptual stage, followed by a parsing stage, followed by a utilisation stage." Parsing is the process by which the words in the message are transformed into a mental representation of the combined meaning of the words. While the utilisation is the stage in which the comprehenders actually use the mental representation of the sentence. It is also important to look at the syntactic clues in relation to comprehension for example: Inflection: An alternation of the form of a word by adding affixes, as in English dogs from dogs, or by changing the form of a base, as in English spoke from speak, that indicates grammatical features such as a number, person, mood, or tense.
"Him kicked the girl. Who got kicked?"
Comprehenders\readers use the syntactic cues of word order and inflection to help interpret a sentence. "Sometimes people rely on the plausible semantic interpretation of words in a sentence." People however integrate both semantic and syntactic cues to come up with an interpretation of a sentence.
According to Ashcraft (1994) language is meaning while phonology and syntax seem to be two necessary vehicles by which meaning is communicated. Syntax is however more than just word and phrase order rules. As you read, syntax is sensitive to the accessibility of words: for example the more accessible the words are, the more they tend to appear earlier in the sentence. Likewise semantic factors refer to more than just word and phrase meanings; depending on the phrasing the focus...