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					An Introduction to Word
        Classes
  Words are fundamental units in
         every sentence

• my brother drives a big car

• instinctively - brother and car are the same
  type of word
• and also that brother and drives are
  different types of words.
brother and car belong to the same word class
brother and drives are different types, they belong to
  different word classes

• We recognise seven MAJOR word classes:

Verb            be, drive, grow, sing, think
Noun            brother, car, David, house, London
Determiner      a, an, my, some, the
Adjective       big, foolish, happy, talented, tidy
Adverb          happily, recently, soon, then, there
Preposition     at, in, of, over, with
Conjunction     and, because, but, if, or
             Additional categories

• articles < determiners

• numerals

• Types of verbs?

• Types of conjunctions?
   The term parts of speech refers to an
    approach to classification of words


• Words are analyzed on the basis of their
  formation
• and their use in sentences (ex. noun?)

• what are the forms like?
• how are they used in sentences?
We use a combination of three criteria for
 determining the word class of a word:


1. The meaning of the word
2. The form or ‘shape' of the word
3. The position or ‘environment' of the word
   in a sentence
             1. Meaning

   brother        car              house


         David            London




people           places              things
It can also be applied to verbs



               action




cook, drive, eat, run, shout, walk
   This approach has certain merits

• It allows us to determine word classes by
  replacing words in a sentence with words
  of "similar" meaning.

My son cooks dinner every Sunday
My son prepares dinner every Sunday
My son eats dinner every Sunday
My son misses dinner every Sunday
 However, this approach also has
    some serious limitations
• The definition of a noun as a word
  denoting a person, place, or thing,
  excludes abstract nouns

• Similarly, to say that verbs are "action"
  words excludes a verb like be, as in I want
  to be happy.
    2. The form or ‘shape’ of a word

• Some words can be assigned to a word
  class on the basis of their form or ‘shape’.

• -tion ending (ex.)
• -able or –ible (ex.)

• Many words also take what are called
  INFLECTIONS = regular changes in their
  form under certain conditions.
  3. The position or ‘environment’ of a
          word in a sentence

• This criterion refers to where words
  typically occur in a sentence, and the
  kinds of words which typically occur near
  to them.

 [1] I cook dinner every Sunday
 [2] The cook is on holiday
  Cook can be a verb or a noun -- it all
   depends on how the word is used.
• She looks very pale
  She's very proud of her looks

• He drives a fast car
  He drives very fast on the motorway


• Turn on the light
  I'm trying to light the fire
  I usually have a light lunch
Of the three criteria for word classes that we
   have discussed here, the Grammar will
 emphasize the second and third - the form
  of words, and how they are positioned or
      how they function in sentences.
    Open and Closed Word Classes

• Words are divided into grammatical
  classes, which are discriminated on the
  basis of three criteria:
• semantic,
• formal and
• functional.
• The semantic criterion deals with the most
  generalized meaning characterizing all the
  words in a class.

• The formal criterion shows the specific
  word-building patterns and the
  grammatical forms of the words in a given
  grammatical class.

• The functional criterion relates to the
  syntactic positions of words belonging to a
  particular class.
   On the basis of these criteria, words are
                 divided into

• lexical classes
• functional series of words

• To the lexical classes belong the noun, the
  verb, the adjective, the adverb and the
  numeral.
• To the functional series of words belong the
  article, the preposition, the particle, the
  pronoun and the conjunction.
           Lexical classes

• words of full nominative value with self-
  dependent syntactic functions

• they are morphologically changeable units
  of language

• these classes are OPEN
            The class of nouns

• It is potentially infinite.

• Example: Internet, website, CD-ROM, email,
  newsgroup, modem, multimedia
New verbs have also been introduced:

download, upload, reboot, right-click, double-
  click

• The adjective and adverb classes can also
  be expanded by the addition of new words,
  though less prolifically.
         Functional words

• They are of incomplete nominative value
  and non-self-dependent functions in the
  structure of the phrase or the sentence.

• They constitute CLOSED systems.

• They are made up of finite sets of words
  which are never expanded.
   Word Classes Based on Meaning



• For example,
generic vs. specific
stative vs. dynamic
assertive vs. nonassertive
            Generic & Specific

• Generic vs. Specific is a way of explaining
  the meanings of nouns.

• A noun has "generic" meaning when it
  refers to things, people, ideas, etc.,
  generally as types rather than as specific
  individuals.
• A computer is a machine.
• The computer has changed modern life.
• Computers are found just about
  everywhere.
• Computation of grades is a process that
  computers handle efficiently.
• Music can be played on computers.


          Generic Examples
• I got a new computer for Christmas.
• I installed the new computer early in the
  morning of December 24.
• I now own 3 computers.
• Without Microsoft Excel on my computer, I
  would find the process of doing my grades
  really frustrating.
• I play the music of Beethoven on my
  computers.


           Specific Examples
   The distinction between generic and specific
    meaning is a terrifically important concept


• selection of the articles a/an and the and
  the decision not to use an article at all

• a/an, the, and 0 articles are used for both
  generic meanings and for specific meaning
    In the above examples

• The generic set is about
  computers in general--not about
  any particular computer owned by
  any particular person.

• The specific set is about me and
  my computers in my home.
If we approach teaching articles based on
 how they are used with different types of
   nouns, we would say something like:



a/an with singular nouns
the with singular or plural or noncount nouns
zero-article with plural or noncount nouns
            Stative vs. Dynamic

• a way of classifying different types of
  verbs--or at least different meanings that
  verbs can have
• Stative refers to "state of being" rather
  than "action."

She is a teacher. He is a sociologist.

(states of being rather than of activities)
Dynamic refers to "actions" and "activity" in
             verb meanings:
• He walks to class.
• They eat lunch in the cafeteria.

• The contrast is often used in ESL/EFL to
  help students understand why they can or
  cannot use a progressive verb form.

That is, progressive verbs refer to actions
 rather than states of being.
   That's why this sentence is wrong:

*They are knowing English very well.

• The verb know generally is used for a
  "state of being" rather than an action, and
  so it can't be used in the progressive form
  (most of the time).
In ESL/EFL materials we have lists of verbs
  divided into groups of Stative Verbs and
              Dynamic Verbs.

• Actually:
  some verbs are just about always used for
  stative meanings;
  other verbs are just about always used for
  dynamic meanings;
  but...verbs can be switched from one class
  to the other for special purposes.
 For example, verbs like taste or smell can
    be either actions or states of being:



• He was tasting the soup for salt when he
  dropped the box of salt in the pan.

• The soup tastes pretty salty now.
       Assertive vs. Nonassertive

• a way of talking about the difference
  between positive sentences and related
  negative sentences and questions.

• positive sentences "assert" something
• negative sentences and questions do not
          Assertive Examples


• They have been to France already.

• They had some French bread for dinner.

• They saw somebody running out of the
  restaurant.
        Nonassertive Examples

• They haven't been to Egypt yet.

• They haven't had any Egyptian bread yet.

• Did they have any French wine?

• Did they see anybody they recognized?

• They didn't see anyone that they knew.

				
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