The Parts Of Speech. Word Classes

1510 words - 7 pages

Lecture 4.
The Parts of Speech. Word Classes.

On the basis of various formal and semantic features words can be divided into grammatical classes which are called ‘parts of speech’. Some scholars refer to parts of speech as ‘lexico-grammatical’ series of words, or as ‘lexico-grammatical categories’.
The parts of speech can be defined as classes of words the members of which have certain characteristics in common distinguishing them from the members of other classes.
The problem of word classification into parts of speech still remains one of the most controversial problems in modern linguistics. The attitude of grammarians with regard to parts of speech and the basis of ...view middle of the document...

However, Henry Sweet failed to break the tradition and still classified words into those having morphological forms (i.e. declinable) and lacking morphological forms (i.e. indeclinable).
3) The distributional approach (L. Bloomfield, Z. Harris, esp. Ch. Fries) to the parts to the parts of speech classification can be illustrated by the classification introduced by Charles Fries. He wanted to avoid the traditional terminology and establish a classification of words based on distributive analysis, that is, the ability of words to combine with other words of different types. At the same time, the lexical meaning of words was not taken into account. According to Charles Fries, the words in such sentences as
1. Woggles ugged diggles;
2. Uggs woggled diggs;
3. Woggs diggled uggles
are quite evident structural signals, their position and combinability are enough to classify them into three word-classes. In this way, he introduced four major classes of words and several form-classes.
For his materials he chooses tape-recorded spontaneous conversations comprising about 250,000 word entries (50 hours of talk). The words isolated from this corpus are tested on the three typical sentences (substitution test-frames):
Frame A – The concert was good (always);
Frame B – The clerk remembered the tax (suddenly); the italicised positions are optional from the point of view of the structural completion of sentences.
Frame C – The team went there.
As a result of this substitution (positional) analysis the following lists of words are established:
Class 1
(A) concert, coffee, taste, container, difference, etc.
(B) clerk, husband, supervisor, etc.; tax, food, coffee, etc.
(C) team, husband, woman, etc.
Class 2
(A) was, seemed, became, etc.
(B) remembered, wanted, saw, suggested, etc.
(C) went, came, ran, lived, worked, etc.
Class 3
(A) good, large, necessary, foreign, new, empty, etc.
Class 4.
(A) there, here, always, then, sometimes, etc.
(B) clearly, sufficiently, especially, repeatedly, soon, etc.
(C) there, back, out, etc.; rapidly, eagerly, confidently, etc.
All these words can fill in the positions of the frames without affecting their general structural meaning:
Frame 1: thing and its quality at a given time
Frame 2: actor — action — thing acted upon — characteristic of the action
Frame 3: actor — action — direction of the action
Functional words (function words) are defined by him as being unable to fill in the positions of the frames without destroying their structural meaning. Functional words can be distributed among the three main sets:
Set 1: specifiers of notional words (determiners of nouns, modal verbs as specifiers of notional verbs, functional modifiers and intensifiers of adjectives and adverbs)
Set 2: determiners of the relations of notional words to one another (prepositions and conjunctions)
Set 3: words referring to the sentence as a whole (question-words, inducement-words (lets, please, etc.),...

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