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Principles of classification of words into parts of speech. Functional and notional parts of speech. The problems of parts of speech (interjection, statives, pronouns)

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Parts of speech are lexical-grammatical word classes characterized by a general abstract grammatical meaning expressed in certain grammatical markers. It means that within certain classes of words certain grammatical features are common to all words of the class.

■ Functionally all parts of speech fall into two large groups: notional words and functional (form) words.

1. Notional.There are 6 notional parts of speech, 4 are the main ones: noun, verb, adjective, adverb.

They cover 93% of the English lexicon. They fill all the main positions in the sentence. These words are very often called autonomous, autosemantic, content words - means they possess an independent notional meaning. Plus usually grammarians refer pronouns and numerals to notional ps of sp.

Notional words are characterized by a clear-cut lexical meaning plus they also have a distinct gr meaning. They can perform various syntactic functions.

2.Functional.Other parts of sp serve as connectors between the main ones. They are often called syn-semantic, syntagmatic words. These dependent words are prepositions and conjunctions. Prepositions act within one clause, conjunctions may connect words, clauses, separate sentences.

So function words express relations but they never denote objects and notions. However, the relations they denote are not purely formal, because each preposition and conjunction has a definite lexical meaning.

- Their use is sometimes obligatory: depend on.

- They are never used alone in the sentence (without notional words). Sentences containing only notional words are possible: Mary came home late last night.

- The number of FWs is limited (150). They occur quite frequently.

٧The interjectionclearly falls out of the system. Semantically they express emotions, the attitude of the speaker to the special situation. They are unpredictable and difficult to define. Functionally it's difficult to distinguish them from Ws and WCs.

Interjections are imitation of sounds, of nature, reflections of surprise, indignation. Sometimes

interjections draw from notional words: well, my.

The number of these elements is limited. Grammarians suggest terming them as emotional

elements, discourse particles, without specifying which part of speech they belong to.

٧ In general now there is a tendency to enlarge the traditional number of parts of speech by including some new items, for example: Words of the category of state:alive, ajar, asleep. These words are similar to adjectives which can express states and function as predicatives. Grammarians say that this is a subclass of adjectives limited to the predicative function.

٧Pronouns- are they a different part of speech?

NO: - Sweet, Sherba

classical school

but - Jesperson: can't be applied to all WCs

YES: Are they notional of functional?

Notional: classical school, functional: present day.Barhudarov: structural Ws.

Principles of classification.The modern classification is traced back to ancient Greece.

Though criticized, it's natural and easy to remember. Principles:

1.Semantic. Has been criticized a lot. Jesperson: Traditional grammar says that by means of the verb something is said about sth/sb. But! "You 're a scoundret" - it's the words scoundrel that says sth about sb. Using this principle we should treat this word as a verb!

Nouns denote things, objects.

Verbs - action, state

Adjectives- qualities, properties

But! Words as 'action', 'flight' denote actions. Whiteness denotes quality.

So this principle alone is not reliable.

2. Formal approach.The form of a word. In this case the noun should be defined as a word which has a plural -s or in the possessive case 's. But then the invariable parts of sp should be classed together in a strange group: must, for, sheep.

One of the famous classifications was worked out within this approach (H. Sweet). He was the 1st grammarian who represented the facts of English beyond the framework of Latin grammar.

1) Declinable:

- noun-words: infinitives& gerunds, noun numerals, nouns proper, noun pronouns adjective-words: adjectives proper, adjective pronouns, adjective numerals, participles

- verbs: verbs proper, verbals.

2) Indeclinable: adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections.

The principles of Sweet's classification are not unified. This happened because Sweet worked under the strong influence of the rules of classical grammar. He starts from form, taking into consideration the ability of words to have inflexions. That's the origin of his division, but it's easy to notice that adverbs and numerals are indeclinable and pronouns have few formal exponents. So Sweet declares his own basic principle.

٧ Russian Soviet Linguistic School.Originally the classification developed by this school aimed at describing the Russian language. But it turned out that the principles of this classification appeared universal - can be applied to all European languages.

1.Semantic. The general meaning of a part of speech doesn't coincide with individual lexical and grammatical meanings of words which belong to it but the general meaning is closely connected with these meanings.

The general meaning of a part of speech is called lexical-grammatical.

# The general meaning of a noun is that of substantivity. Verbs denote actions or states and taken together denote processes.

2. Morphologicala)Morphological categories. Each part of speech possesses some morphological categories which are not to be found in any other part of speech.

# Nouns have number and case. Verb is characterized by several grammatical categories. This principle can be applied to the parts of speech which have certain grammatical categories and which have special form-building means of expressing such categories.

b) Word-building affixes. Certain word-building affixes are typical of this or that part of speech only. # Nouns: -dom-, -ness, -ion.

But! Only few English words contain derivational affixes which help to list them as this or that aprt of speech. Most word-building affixes in modern English are ambiguous. They can be found in several parts of speech at a time. # ly -friendly - adj, daily - noun, kindly - adverb, etc


a) We are to consider the syntactic role of a word in a sentence. Different functions of a sentence are typical of different parts of speech.

b) The combinability of words. # Nouns can combine with articles, prepositions, adjectives.

4. Functional A part of speech is described as a lexical-grammatical field which has a core and a periphery.


4. Princpls of the part of speech classsification. Notional & funct-l Ws. proN, interject, statives.

POS – lexico-grammatical word classes which are characterized by a general abstract lexical meaning as well as general abstract grammatical meaning expressed by certain grammatical markers. Within one and the same class there are certain grammatical features common to all the words of this class. POS present a mixed lex-l & Gr-l phenomena (words of one part of speech have the same grammatical features).

Principles of classification are very unspecified.

Different amounts of words represent this or that part of speech. The greatest amount – nouns and verbs – because in speech they become the subject and predicate, and the structure of a sentence represents the peculiarity of human thinking.

The noun is subjected to inflections (изменение формы слова; окончание, флексия).

The verb is subjected to conjugation (спряжение).

In the sentence they seem to be opposed. The subject represents the known information; the verb introduses new information.

Functionally, all parts of speech fall onto two groups:

Notional (6) and Structural (Functional).

Notional parts of speech: 4 main:

Noun, verb, adj, adv – 93 % of the Eng vocabulary.

They possess an independentvnotional meaning of their own.

+numarals, pronouns.

Structural (Functional) parts of speech:

Connections between the main ones. Syntagmatic. They don’t have their own sense. They perform the function of linkage.

Prepositions (act within one clause), conjunctions (unite words, clauses, separate sentences).

Express relations but never denote objects or notions.

Dividing parts of speech into notional and functional, we can say that notional words are characterized by distinct, clear cut lexical meaning. They can perform different syntactic functions in sentences. Functional words have a less distinct lexical meaning, they don’t perform any syntactic functions.They only help express relations. Their use is someties obligatory. Functional words are not used in sentences independently. The number of functional words in sentences is highly limited (150).

The ninths part of speech is injection. The injection falls out of the system of parts of speech. It represents a peculiar phenomenon because:

1) injections express emotions

2) the form of injections is unpredictable

3) some of injections are similar to word combinations (My God!)

4) phonetically, they are sounds of surprise etc. Some of them are pause-fillers

5) many injections draw from notional words which usually accuire a different meaning in the emotive function (“well” – used to be a n adv.; “my” – a pronoun).

6) some injections are absolutely indistinct.

There are some debatable questions:

1) words of category of state (awake, ajar)

Semantically they express state, but some grammatitians argue that they should be grouped separately. Adj-s always express state.

2) some grammatitians suggest that we should treat modal words as a separate part of speech (certainly, possibly). In fact, they appear to be functionally and structurally close to adverbs; though they have certain peculiar positional characteristis.

3) particles (only, merely).

By nature, they seem to be modifiers. If we analize their use in actual speech, we will see that they are a subclass of limiting adv-s.

4) articles (см. про существительные)

Princilpes of classification of words into parts of speech remain unspecified. Many grammatitians try to present the system of parts of speech in which they tried not to imitate the Greek classification. These attempts were productive with languages which were different from Greek. These attempts can be distributed among known approaches of language description.

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