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LECTURE 5: THE NOUN

 

1.General characteristics.

 

The noun is the central lexical unit of language. It is the main nominative unit of speech. As any other part of speech, the noun can be characterised by three criteria: semantic (the meaning), morphological (the form and grammatical catrgories) and syntactical (functions, distribution).

Semantic features of the noun. The noun possesses the grammatical meaning of thingness, substantiality. According to different principles of classification nouns fall into several subclasses:

1. According to the type of nomination they may be proper and common;

2. According to the form of existence they may be animateand inanimate. Animate nouns in their turn fall into human and non-human.

3. According to their quantitative structure nouns can be countableand uncountable.

This set of subclasses cannot be put together into one table because of the different principles of classification.

Morphologicalfeatures of the noun. In accordance with the morphological structure of the stems all nouns can be classified into: simple,derived ( stem + affix, affix + stem thingness); compound ( stem+ stem armchair ) and composite ( the Hague ). The noun has morphological categories of number and case. Some scholars admit the existence of the category of gender.

Syntacticfeatures of the noun. The noun can be used un the sentence in all syntacticfunctions but predicate. Speaking about noun combinability, we can say that it can go into right-hand and left-hand connections with practically all parts of speech. That is why practically all parts of speech but the verb can act as noun determiners. However, the most common noun determiners are considered to be articles, pronouns, numerals, adjectives and nouns themselves in the common and genitive case.

 

2. The category of number

 

The grammatical category of number is the linguistic representation of the objective category of quantity. The number category is realized through the opposition of two form-classes: the plural form :: the singular form. The category of number in English is restricted in its realization because of the dependent implicit grammatical meaning of countableness/uncountableness. The number category is realized only within subclass of countable nouns.

The grammatical meaning of number may not coincide with the notional quantity: the noun in the singular does not necessarily denote one object while the plural form may be used to denote one object consisting of several parts. The singular form may denote:

a) oneness (individual separate object a cat);

b) generalization (the meaning of the whole class The cat is a domestic animal);

c) indiscreteness ( or uncountableness - money, milk).

The plural form may denote:

a) the existence of several objects (cats);

b) the inner discreteness ( , pluralia tantum, jeans).

To sum it up, all nouns may be subdivided into three groups:

1. The nouns in which the opposition of explicit discreteness/indiscreteness is expressed : cat::cats;



2. The nouns in which this opposition is not expressed explicitly but is revealed by syntactical and lexical correlation in the context. There are two groups here:

A. Singularia tantum. It covers different groups of nouns: proper names, abstract nouns, material nouns, collective nouns;

B. Pluralia tantum. It covers the names of objects consisting of several parts (jeans), names of sciences (mathematics), names of diseases, games, etc.

3. The nouns with homogenous number forms. The number opposition here is not expressed formally but is revealed only lexically and syntactically in the context: e.g. Look! A sheep is eating grass. Look! The sheep are eating grass.

3. The category of case.

Case expresses the relation of a word to another word in the word-group or sentence (my sisters coat). The category of case correlates with the objective category of possession. The case category in English is realized through the opposition: The Common Case :: The Possessive Case (sister :: sisters). However, in modern linguistics the term genitive case is used instead of the possessive case because the meanings rendered by the `s sign are not only those of possession. The scope of meanings rendered by the Genitive Case is the following :

a) Possessive Genitive : Marys father Mary has a father,

b) Subjective Genitive: The doctors arrival The doctor has arrived,

c) Objective Genitive : The mans release The man was released,

d) Adverbial Genitive : Two hours work X worked for two hours,

e) Equation Genitive : a miles distance the distance is a mile,

f) Genitive of destination: childrens books books for children,

g) Mixed Group: yesterdays paper

Nicks school cannot be reduced to one nucleus

Johns word

To avoid confusion with the plural, the marker of the genitive case is represented in written form with an apostrophe. This fact makes possible disengagement of `s form from the noun to which it properly belongs. E.g.: The man I saw yesterdays son, where -`s is appended to the whole group (the so-called group genitive). It may even follow a word which normally does not possess such a formant, as in somebody elses book.

 

There is no universal point of view as to the case system in English. Different scholars stick to a different number of cases.

1. There are two cases. The Common one and The Genitive;

2. There are no cases at all, the form `s is optional because the same relations may be expressed by the of-phrase: the doctors arrival the arrival of the doctor;

3. There are three cases: the Nominative, the Genitive, the Objective due to the existence of objective pronouns me, him, whom;

4. Case Grammar. Ch.Fillmore introduced syntactic-semantic classification of cases. They show relations in the so-called deep structure of the sentence. According to him, verbs may stand to different relations to nouns. There are 6 cases:

1) Agentive Case (A) John opened the door;

2) Instrumental case (I) The key opened the door; John used the key to open the door;

3) Dative Case (D) John believed that he would win (the case of the animate being affected by the state of action identified by the verb);

4) Factitive Case (F) The key was damaged ( the result of the action or state identified by the verb);

5) Locative Case (L) Chicago is windy;

6) Objective case (O) John stole the book.

 

4. The Problem of Gender in English

 

Gender plays a relatively minor part in the grammar of English by comparison with its role in many other languages. There is no gender concord, and the reference of the pronouns he, she, it is very largely determined by what is sometimes referred to as natural gender for English, it depends upon the classification of persons and objects as male, female or inanimate. Thus, the recognition of gender as a grammatical category is logically independent of any particular semantic association.

According to some language analysts (B.Ilyish, F.Palmer, and E.Morokhovskaya), nouns have no category of gender in Modern English. Prof.Ilyish states that not a single word in Modern English shows any peculiarities in its morphology due to its denoting male or female being. Thus, the words husband and wife do not show any difference in their forms due to peculiarities of their lexical meaning. The difference between such nouns as actor and actress is a purely lexical one. In other words, the category of sex should not be confused with the category of sex, because sex is an objective biological category. It correlates with gender only when sex differences of living beings are manifested in the language grammatically (e.g. tiger tigress). Still, other scholars (M.Blokh, John Lyons) admit the existence of the category of gender. Prof.Blokh states that the existence of the category of gender in Modern English can be proved by the correlation of nouns with personal pronouns of the third person (he, she, it). Accordingly, there are three genders in English: the neuter (non-person) gender, the masculine gender, the feminine gender.

LECTURE 6: THE VERB. 1.General characteristics

Grammatically the verb is the most complex part of speech. First of all it performs the central role in realizing predication - connection between situation in the utterance and reality. That is why the verb is of primary informative significance in an utterance. Besides, the verb possesses quite a lot of grammatical categories. Furthermore, within the class of verb various subclass divisions based on different principles of classification can befound.

Semantic features of the verb. The verb possesses the grammatical meaning of verbiality - the ability to denote a process developing in time. This meaning is inherent not only in the verbs denoting processes, but also in those denoting states, forms of existence, evaluations, etc.

Morphological features of the verb. The verb possesses the following grammatical categories: tense, aspect, voice, mood, person, number, finitude and phase. The common categories for finite and non-finite forms are voice, aspect, phase and finitude. The grammatical categories of the English verb find their expression in synthetical and analytical forms. The formative elements expressing these categories are grammatical affixes, inner inflexion and function words. Some categories have only synthetical forms (person, number), others - only analytical (voice). There are also categories expressed by both synthetical and analytical forms (mood, tense, aspect).

Syntacticfeatures. The most universal syntactic feature of verbs is their ability to be modified by adverbs. The second important syntactic criterion is the ability of the verb to perform the syntactic function of the predicate. However, this criterion is not absolute because only finite forms can perform this function while non-finite forms can be used in any function but predicate. And finally, any verb in the form of the infinitive can be combined with a modal verb.

 

2. Classifications of English verbs

According to different principles of classification, classifications can be morphological, lexical-morphological, syntactical and functional.

A.Morphological classifications..

I. According to their stem-types all verbs fall into: simple (to go), sound-replacive (food - to feed, blood - to bleed), stress-replacive (import - to im port, transport - to transport, expanded (with the help of suffixes and prefixes): cultivate, justify, overcome, composite (correspond to composite nouns): to blackmail), phrasal: to have a smoke, to give a smile (they always have an ordinary verb as an equivalent). 2.According to the way of forming past tenses and Participle II verbs can be regular and irregular.

B.Lexical-morphological classification is based on the implicit grammatical meanings of the verb. According to the implicit grammatical meaning of transitivity/intransitivity verbs fall into transitive and intransitive. According to the implicit grammatical meaning of stativeness/non-stativeness verbs fall into stative and dynamic. According to the implicit grammatical meaning of terminativeness/non-terminativeness verbs fall into terminative and durative. This classification is closely connected with the categories of Aspect and Phase.

C. Syntactic classifications. According to the nature of predication (primary and secondary) all verbs fall into finite and non-finite. According to syntagmatic properties (valency) verbs can be of obligatory and optional valency, and thus they may have some directionality or be devoid of any directionality. In this way, verbs fall into the verbs of directed (to see, to take, etc.) and non-directed action (to arrive, to drizzle, etc.):

 

Syntagmatic classification of English verbs

(according to prof.G.Pocheptsov)

V Vobj. She shook her head

Vaddr. He phoned me

V2 V10 Vobj.-addr. She gave me

her pen

V11 V15 Vadv. She behaved well


V1 V2 V24 V16 V24 Vobj.-adv. He put his hat

on the table


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 2431


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