• “A linguistic description, and consequently a language, is often regarded as being composed of three parts: phonetics/phonology, grammar and semantics. And there is a sense in which grammar links phonology and semantics: phonemes combine into words (phonology), words combine into sentences (grammar), and sentences refer to events, actions and states in the world (semantics)” (Jackson 1982:55).

• Syntax is “the study of how words combine to form sentences and the rules which govern the formation of sentences” (Richards et al 1999:370).

According to Howard Jackson, • The major classes of lexical morphemes, which are the basis of words, are traditionally known as the parts of speech. • The notion of “parts of speech” is still a useful one, though the term of word class is usually preferred these days. • The definition of the word classes looked more to the internal structure of language, rather than to the relation between language and the external world.

• Words classes are groups of words which function similarly. In other words, “words are grouped into classes according to how they combine with other words and how they change their forms” (Richard et al., 1993: 407) to create well-formed structures. E.g.: the words boy, toy, and song are all defined as nouns because they can inflect for plural number (boy → boys, toy → toys, song → songs), function as head of a noun phrase (e.g. a very naughty boy, a safe toy, an everlasting song),

or typically function as subject or object of a clause or sentence (e.g. The boy threw his toy at the window where the boy and his toy function as subject and object respectively).

A necessary distinction is often made between lexical words and grammar words. This distinction also appears sometimes as content words vs. function words, or full words vs. empty words. The distinction is a useful one in that it enables us to separate the words which belong to major class from those that belong to the minor one.

• Major class contains lexical words that have a meaning outside the context in which they are used. • Major classes are receptive to new members also called open classes (Jackson:1980,7) • Minor classes are not receptive to new members; they are closed.


• Membership in the class is determined by the form of a word. • These classes are large and open classes, admitting new members. • English four form classes are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

NOUNS • Morphologically, or in terms of form, an English noun can be realized by word final noun-forming bound bases (e.g. onym, scope, and sphere in synonym, telescope, and biosphere), inflectional suffixes including plural suffix and possessive suffix (e.g. flowers, spring’s flowers), and nounforming derivational suffixes added to verbs, adjectives, nouns, adverbs, & bound forms

such as –age, -ad, -ade, -ance, -ancy,-ant, -ar, -ce, -cian, -dom, -ee, -ence, -ency, -er, -esis, -ess, -ion, -ism, -ist, -ity, -ment, -ness, ology, -or, -osis, -sia, -sion, -sis, -sy, -tian, tion, -tude, -ty, -ure, and –y E.g.: blockage, monad, blockade, assistance, hesitancy, attendant, beggar, musician, freedom, employee, difference, fluency, writer, thesis, stewardess, prediction, realism, dentist, establishment, carefulness, theology, doctor, tuberculosis amnesia, suspension, ecdysis, fantasy, dietitian, communication, solitude, liberty, structure, honesty.


• Proper nouns – which are names of particular persons, places and things – usually can not be used with a determiner, however, they can assume the functions which are typical of nouns. E.g.: Paris is always in my heart, next stop we’ll visit Paris. • Common nouns are not names of particular persons, places and things, & do not refer to unique things.

Count Nouns & Noncount (Mass) Nouns Common nouns can be further divided into count nouns and noncount (mass) nouns. • Count nouns must occur with a determiner in their singular form, but noncount nouns are not required to. • Count nouns have plural form. • Non-count nouns do not have plural form and usually cannot be used with an indefinite article. • Some nouns can be both countable and uncountable, depending on how we use them.

E.g.: in a supermarket we buy milk, not a milk, because milk is a non-count noun, but in a restaurant we can order two milks because here it is a count noun.

• Count and non-count nouns can be further divided into concrete and abstract, collective and general.

Concrete & Abstract Nouns
• Concrete is descriptive of nouns which refer to physical entities, or perceivable objects, e.g.: table, chair, mother, father. • Abstract applies to nouns lacking physical reference, e.g.: thought, idea, uncertainty, morality.

Collective and General Nouns
• A collective noun denotes a group of entities, e.g. committee, family, staff, jury • It has a distinctive three-way pattern of number contrast: -can be used as a singular noun with a singular verb (e.g. My family has five persons) and a plural verb (e.g. My family have five persons) -as a plural noun with a plural verb (e.g. The families in my neighborhood get along with one another).

• Verbs generally refer to actions, events and processes, & have a maximum of five inflectional forms. E.g.: (to) walk-infinitive, walks-3rd person singular present tense, walked-past tense, walking-present participle, walked-past participle.

An English verb can be identified via its form: • word final verb-forming bound base (e.g. cede, ceed, cept, cess, cise, fect, ject, and tain in precede, proceed, accept, process, circumcise, affect, inject, and obtain respectively)

• inflectional suffixes consisting of third-person singular presenttense, past tense and past participle suffixes (e.g. drives, cooked, walking), • verb-forming derivational
affixes (e.g.-e, -en, -ize, -fy, en-, ive added to nouns & adjectives in bathe, ripen, solemnize, satisfy, enlarge, strive)

Lexical (Main) Verbs & Auxiliary Verbs

• Auxiliary verbs, having a mainly grammatical function, consist of two subclasses: primary auxiliary verbs (be, have, do) and modal auxiliary verbs (can, could, may, might,..).

• Lexical verbs can be further divided into 3 subgroups: intensive (copula/linking) verbs , intransitive verbs that do not take an object, and transitive verbs that require an object and include monotransitive verbs, ditransitive verbs, complex transitive verbs & prepositional transitive verbs.

• She seems tired. (intens) • The child slept well last night. (intrans) • I like fish. (monotrans) • My mother makes me a new dress. (ditrans.) • We call him Mr. Late.(complex) • She looks at the newspaper. (prepV)

Dynamic Verbs & Stative Verbs
Lexical verbs can be grouped into dynamic verbs and stative verbs. • A dynamic verb typically occurs in the progressive form and in the imperative, and expresses meanings such as activity, process, bodily sensation, transitional event, and momentary action, e.g.: work, grow, ache, die, hit.

• a stative verb usually neither occurs in the progressive nor in the imperative, and expresses a state of affair rather than an action, including verbs of emotion, knowledge, & belief (love, hate, know, believe), & of relationships (belong to, equal, own, matter)

• Note: -Some Eng. Verbs such as have & think, can be used statively, describing a state, or dynamically, describing an action or activity. E.g.: Statively: I have a really bad headache (state) Dynamically: We are having a party tonight (activity) Statively: I think it’s going to rain (opinion, mental state) Dynamically: I’m thinking hard about how to solve this problem (mental activity)

• can be recognized by two aspects of form: inflectional suffixes made up of adjective comparative suffix –er and adjective superlative suffix –est, and adjectiveforming derivational suffixes added to nouns, verbs, adjectives & bound forms (– able, -al, -ible, -ful, -ic, -ish, -ive, -less, -like, ly, -ous, and –some) E.g.: lazier, tallest; doable, national, responsible, careful, dramatic, childish, active, careless, childlike, friendly, cautious, troublesome, deadly, & local.

Dynamic & Stative Adjectives
• dynamic adjectives, e.g. careless, cautious, fast • stative adjectives, e.g. angry, lazy, tired, tall.

Attributive & Predicative Adjectives • An attributive adjective characteristically occurs within a noun phrase,& pre-modifies a head noun, e.g. an interesting play, a beautiful girl • A predicative adjective occurs “in a post verbal”, i.e. after a „copula‟ verb such as be, seem, sound, feel, & may contain a complement (postmodification), e.g. Students are confused about his explaining. pred.adj. complement

• The adjectives which can occur in both of these positions are referred to as central, e.g. A beautiful girl, she’s beautiful.

Gradable & Non-gradable Adjectives • Gradable adjectives can be premodified by adverbs, particularly adverbs of degree or intensifying adverbs (e.g. surprisingly intelligent, extremely difficult, too busy) • can be used in comparative and superlative sense (e.g. less interesting, more confusing, the least informative, the prettiest). • can also be used in questions with how to ask about degrees (e.g. How long does the test takes?).

• non-gradable adjectives are not characterized by these features. E.g.: dead is non-gradable. It will be semantically odd to say very dead, more dead or how dead.

Inherent & Non-inherent Adjectives
• Inherent adjectives are the ones that “characterize the referent of the noun directly” , e.g. a woolen scarf, an old coffee grinder. • Non-inherent adjectives “do not exhibit a direct characterization of the noun” (Jackson, 1999: 9), e.g. a new staff member. In this example, new is a noninherent adjective, the staff member is not invented or produced.

• Adverbs can be identified by inflectional suffixes: adverb comparative -er and adverb superlative est, and adverb-forming derivational suffixes: -ly, -wise, -wards, -s, & the free form like • E.g.: earlier, earliest; casually, likewise, forwards, days & nights, studentlike

English adverbs are of two kinds: • adverbs of degree or intensifying adverbs which modify an adjective or another adverb (e.g. very as in very fast, extremely as in extremely fascinating) • circumstantial adverbs which provide circumstantial information such as time, place and manner (e.g. now, here, cleverly).

III> EXERCISES: Classify italicized words as N (noun), V (verb), Adj (adjective), Avd (adverb)
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. Sue likes to play golf on Sunday mornings. Only the dregs are left. There will be a meeting at 4 tomorrow afternoon. Which nation colonized Tierra del Fuego? Every social class has its own snobbery. May you be healthy and prosperous. Be careful not to run aground. She smiled cheerfully. The quickest way is to use your pocket calculator. We counted the tickets in haste. Jim was distressed by his failure. The judge personifies justice itself. It is a collective noun. He works days. She turned the hands clockwise.

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