- All Best Essays, Term Papers and Book Report

Palmer's Concept of Ic Analysis

Essay by   •  October 13, 2011  •  Case Study  •  1,080 Words (5 Pages)  •  4,146 Views

Essay Preview: Palmer's Concept of Ic Analysis

1 rating(s)
Report this essay
Page 1 of 5


IC or Immediate Constituent Analysis is a type of sentence analysis which attempts to separate and relate various morphemes and grammatical units. It can be defined as "a system of grammatical analysis that divides sentences into successive layers, or constituents, until, in the final layer, each constituent consists of only a word or meaningful part of a word".


It was American linguist Leonard Bloomfield who had used the term for the first time in 1933, though the concept was in practice even in the traditional grammars. The need of this particular sort of analysis raised from the difficulty that traditional structural linguists were facing in the syntax or sentence analysis.

* Traditional and structural linguists had succeeded in solving morphological problems,

* The definition and highlighting of a morpheme does not explain other grammatical units and their distribution.


The various features of this newly proposed analysis are as follows:

1. It approached the problem characteristically.

2. Its aim was to discover the relevant linguistic elements

3. It explored to solve the issue of finding other definable units beyond the morpheme, apart from the sentence

4. Its initial emphasis was on the simple division of the sentence into its constituent elements unknowing of their actual existence

5. Its principle is to "cut those parts into two and to continue with the segmentation until the smallest indivisible units, the morphemes, are reached".

6. Though its general principle defines it as binary division, yet sometimes segmentation into three or more elements is also permissible in certain cases

The end result of IC analysis is often presented in a visual diagrammatic form that reveals the hierarchical immediate constituent structure of a sentence. For sentences whose structures are unusual, this diagramming may become excessively complex; in such cases verbal description is used.


There are three basic tools or methods which are used for IC Analysis:


It is the tool of IC analysis in which the segmentation is done by putting upright line between various morphemes and grammatical units. The order of segmentation is shown by using one line for the first cut, two for the second, and so on. This process continues till the final product is achieved with the minute possible division. For example, the labelling of the following sentence can be done in this way:

The young man followed a girl

The young man | followed a girl

The || young man | followed || a girl

Final Product: The || young ||| man | follow ||| -ed || a ||| girl


This is another way of doing IC analysis in which brackets instead of upright lines are used to show segments. Palmer suggests that "This is more difficult to read unless the brackets are numbered". However, he says that one can lessen this ambiguity by counting the opening and ending brackets. This analysis can be done in the following way:

(The young man followed a girl)

(The (young man) (followed a girl))

(The ((young) (man)) ((followed) (a girl)))

Final Product: (The ((young) (man)) ((followed) ((a) (girl))))


It is regarded as the best method of display that makes use of 'a tree' to show relations. This is just like a family tree where the 'branching' shows the divisions. For example:

The tree-diagramming is the tool with which we can analyse more complex sentences quite easily. For example:





Download as:   txt (6.7 Kb)   pdf (99.6 Kb)   docx (12 Kb)  
Continue for 4 more pages »
Only available on