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Theme: Grammar in the system of language. Morphology. Parts of speech.


10. Language and Speech.

11. Linguistic levels.

12. Practical and theoretical grammar.

13. The main features of an analytical language.

14. Morphology and Syntax.

15. Word.

16. Morpheme.

17. Different approaches to the classification of words.

18. Scerba's classification of words.
lO.Notional and functional parts of speech.

Recommended Literature:

5. M.Y.Blokh. A Course in the Theoretical English Grammar. - M., 1983, pp.6-

6. B.Ilyish. The Structure of Modern English. -L., 1971, pp. 5-10, 12-13, 22-26,

7. N.M.Rayevska. Modern English Grammar. - K., 1976, pp. 11-36, 60-66, 67-71.

8. И.П.Иванова, В.В .Бур лакова, Г.Г.Почепцов. Теоретическая граматика
английского языка. М., 1981, с. 4-6, 11-14, 14-20.

1. Language and Speech

Language is a means of forming and storing ideas as reflections of reality and exchanging them in the process of human intercourse. It is social by nature.

Language is a system of signs - meaningful units. The sign in language has only potential meaning. It is a system of means of expression:

c) material units (sounds, morphemes, words, word-groups);

d) regularities (rules) of the use of these units.

Language gives expression to human thoughts. Speech is the manifestation of the system of language in the process of communication, the use of signs, the act of producing utterances and the utterances themselves. In Speech the potential meaning is made situationally significant as part of the grammatically organized text. Grammar connects Language and Speech as it categorially determines the process of utterance production.

2. Linguistic levels

4. Phonological (determines the material appearance of its significative units);

5. Lexical (the whole set of naming means of language: words, word-groups);

6. Grammatical (the whole set of regularities, determining the combination of
naming means in the formation of utterances).

Only the unity of the 3 levels forms a language.

Lingual hierarchy of levels:

I. Morphological

4. phonemic

5. morphemic

6. lexemic

II. Syntactic

7. phrasemic

8. proposemic

9. supra-proposemic

The basic units of the lingual levels:

1. Phoneme - the smallest distinctive unit, has no meaning, is not a sign (big -


7. Morpheme - a minimal meaningful unit (fault-s);

8. Word - the smallest naming unit, a sign;

9. Phrase - a combination of 2 or more syntactically connected words;

10. Sentence - a predicative unit, a sign of a situational event;

11. Textual unity - a combination of separate sentences.

3. Practical and theoretical grammar

Practical grammar provides with a manual of practical mastery of the grammatical rules.

Theoretical grammar - description of the grammatical system, it scientifically analyses and defines the grammatical categories, the ways the words are combined.

The "strict" rule: to see isn't used in the Continuous form, but: "For the first time Bobby felt, he was really seeing the man" (A.Christie).

In theoretical grammar we state some facts, analyze them from different angles, and try to explain them. We deal with many theories, many approaches to one and the same phenomenon.

The are 2 plans of language: context (comprises the purely semantic elements);

expression (comprises the material, formed units). Each formal unit has a meaning. No meaning can be realized without some material means of expression. Each grammatical element presents a unity of content and expression, but the correspondence is very complex:


habitual action

Present Indefinite form action at the present moment

action taken as a general truth

3rd person, singular

morphemes – s/ es the plural of the noun

the possessive form


Grammatical meaning is an abstract meaning of large meanings of words expressed by the formal grammatical market: "-s" marks plurality (lawyers). Grammatical meaning is typical of grammatical form. Grammatical form is typical of grammatical meaning. One and the same form may express different grammatical meaning: "The Negroes were getting to their feet" The Negroes evokes the idea of black human beings, the doers of the action, the conception of plurality.

Grammatical category - common feature of a linguistic phenomenon of a certain class, having their grammatical form and grammatical meaning, a complicated unity of grammatical form and grammatical content (the category of number, mood, ect).

Grammatical category is a system of expressing a generalized meaning by means of paradigmatic correlation of grammatical forms (marked: .unmarked). Every grammatical category is characterized by the opposition, the categorial meaning and the function. For example, the category of number:

plurality : : singularity

faults: : fault

plurality: : non-plurality

ashes :: foliage

Grammatical forms may be synthetical and analytical. Synthetical:

3. inflection (morphemic changes without changing their lexical meaning:
sentence, sentences, sentenced);

4. suppletivity (combining different roots: be, am, is/are, was/were).

English inflection has been gradually simplified. It has developed analytical tendencies.

4. The features of an analytical language:

5. few grammatical inflections (case, degrees of comparison, 3rd person, singular,
Present Tense, ect);

6. a sparing use of sound alternations (foot-feet, get-got);

7. a wide use of prepositions to connect words, to denote relations between object
(a man of wealth);

8. a prominent use of word order (rather fixed: S+Pr+DO+IO+Adv.Mod. "The
woman accused the boy of stealing books from the library ").

An analytical form consists of two (or more) words but constitutes one sense unit. One element has lexical meaning, the other - grammatical meaning (/ shall exchange it: shall — 1st person, futurity, exchange — обмінювати).

5. Morphology and Syntax.

Morphology studies grammatical classes and groups of words, grammatical categories and the system of forms in which these categories actually exist.

Syntax studies phrases and sentences, the ways in which words may be combined and the relations between the words in combination.

6. Word.

The central element of morphology is word.

Word is a grammatical unit that has its form and meaning. Word is a minimal unit of language, that has its positional independence (Maslov); a minimum free form (Bloomfield); a minimal unit that is characterized by its ability to functioning, the largest unit of morpholody (Ivanova).

Word is a sign, a naming unit, a unit of information in the communication process, the articulate sound-symbol, the grammatically arranged combination of sound with meaning; is formed by morphemes, the uninterrupted string of morphemes, an indivisible elementary component of the lexicon of language, the

elementary component of the sentence. Word is an autonomous unit of language, in which a particular meaning is associated with a particular sound complex and which is capable of a particular grammar employment and able to form a sentence by itself (Arnold).

7. Morpheme.

The constituent parts of the word are morphemes. Morpheme is a minimal meaningful unit of language without positional independence: un-law-ful (un - the negative prefix, law - the lexical meaning, ful - the adjectival suffix). Morpheme is a minimal lineal meaningful unit with its sound pattern (Smirnitzky). Morpheme is an association of a given meaning with a given sound pattern, a constituent part of a word (Arnold).

Morphemes are classified into roots and affixes. According to their porition affixes are divided into prefixes (im-polite) and suffixes (teach-er-s). According to their functional meaning the suffixes may be subdivided into derivational (acquit+tal) and functional or grammatical (judge+s). The lexical meaning is expressed by the stem (the part of the word without derivational and functional affixes). The stem also expresses the part of speech meaning (Soboleva): Friend friends, friendly, friendship have the stem friend-.

Functional affixes convey grammatical meaning (build different forms of one and the same word, i.e. a paradigm of the word). Paradigm is the system of all grammatical forms characteristic of the word:

testify - ies - ied - ing;

lawyer - lawyers; nice - nicer - nicest.

"Zero" morpheme (Smirnitzky) or "zero exponent" (Maslov): стіл-, стол-а, стол-ом, стол-у; teach-er, teach-er-s.

As the word teacher may have the suffix -s in the plural form, Smirnitzky finds 3 morphemes in it (teach+er+zero morpheme). But there is no sound image, no graphical representation of the zero morpheme, it can't be separated from the word, the "meaningful absence of the morpheme" is derived from the context but the latter can't express the meaning of the "zero exponent". As there is no graphical representation, no sound image, no meaning of its own, we can't distinguish any "zero morpheme or exponent".

8. Different approaches to the classification of words

All the words of a language fall into some lexico-grammatical classes traditionally called parts of speech. But in Chinese there are no parts of speech. Any monosyllable may be any part of speech. Strict word order helps to solve the problem of parts of speech.

The attitude of different linguists with regard to parts of speech and the basis for their classification varies a great deal:

I. The only criterion of their classification should be the morphological form of words.


Sweet (the author of the first scientific grammar of English) divided the parts of speech into 2 main groups:

3. declinables (noun, adjective, verb);

4. indeclinables (adverb, preposition, conjunction, interjection);

But: acquittals_ - milk^ bigger, biggest, lexemic^ defended, cut_. One and the same part of speech belongs to different classes (acquittals ~ to declinables, milk — to indeclinables, etc.).

II. The classification is based upon the syntactical functioning of the words

Noun-words include nouns, noun-pronouns, noun-numerals, infinitive, gerund;

Adjective-words: adjectives, adjective-pronouns, adjective-numerals, participles;

Verb-words: finite forms of the verb, verbals.

Infinitive and gerund belong both to noun-words and to verb-words. Adverbs are parts of the sentence and they are united with conjunctions, prepositions and interjections (but they are not parts of the sentence) into one group.

III. The classification is based on relations among words. Yespersen (the author
of Essentials of English Grammar. L., 1933; "The Philosophy of Grammar", L.,
1968) put forward the theory of three ranks: a furiously barking dog: "dog" - a
primary, head word; "barking" - a secondary word, immediately determining the
primary; "furiously" - a tertiary word, dependent on the secondary.

But this classification is based on the relations among words in units larger than a word, i.e. in a phrase (phrase is a syntactic unit).

IV. The system of classes is based on the position of words in the sentence
(Ch.Fries "The Structure of English"):


Group A Class I Class II Class III Class IV
The concert was good there
Their walking seemed to start from the beginning
John's to have breakfast   in the hall for her
This she/it   over  
One others   at 2 o'clock  

There were 4 classes and 15 groups in his system. Different words belonging to different lexico-grammatical classes may be used in one the same position in the sentence. One and the same word may be in different classes and in different groups.

V. The classification is based on form and word order (G.Gleason, the author of "An Introduction to Descriptive Linguistics, 1965):

3. With form markers (nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs);

4. Without them.

According to this theory "beautiful" belongs to the second class as it has no inflexions -er, -est, and "easy" - to the first class (easier, easiest). Thus, one and

the same part of speech may belong to different lexico-grammatical classes. G.Sledd ("A Short Introduction to English Grammar", 1956) defines inflexional and positional classes (nominals, verbals, adjectivals, adverbials, auxiliary verbs, prepositions, conjunctions, pronouns, etc.) Interrogative pronouns are united into one separate class (due to their lexical meaning). Both Gleason and Sledd draw much attention to word building suffixes as markers of parts of speech and the heterogeneity of features of some members in the lexico-grammatical class.

All attempts of establishing the classification based on one principal ended in failure.

9. Scerba's classification of words.

VI. The classification based on lexical meaning, morphological form and syntactic function (L.Scerba).

The term "parts of speech" was introduced in the grammatical teaching of ancient Greece when language and speech were not differentiated and there was no concept of sentence yet.

The semantic criterion: the generalized meaning of the words belonging to a given part of speech, i.e. the categorial meaning of the part of speech.

The formal criterion: the specific inflexional and derivational features of the words belonging to a given part of speech.

The functional criterion: the syntactic role of words in the sentence typical of a given part of speech.

10. Notional and functional parts of speech.

Parts of speech may be divided into notional (fully lexical, self-dependent functions in the sentence): Noun, Adjective, Numeral, Pronoun, Verb, Adverb; and functional (incomplete nominative meaning, non-self-dependent functions in the sentence): Article, Preposition, Conjunction, Particle, Modal Word, Interjection.

Why is it so difficult to classify parts of speech? Each part of speech has some typical characteristics - the highly organized nucleus, but there may be some peripheral features different from the typical ones. Sledd and Gleason pointed to rather complex relations between the words of one part of speech. Admony of Leningrad puts forward the theory of grammatical field (1974). Every part of speech has the nucleus and the periphery.

The theory of semantic fields has been worked out by Trier, Vicegerber and some other linguists; and the theory of lexico-grammatical field - by the Soviet grammarians Guliga, Shendels, Bondarko, Guhman.

The boundaries between different parts of speech are not clear out:

notional - I have a ticket to the theatre, have

auxiliary - I have quitted my studies.

The most typical features of the part of speech are introduced by the categorial meaning, form, function, combinability with other parts of speech:

Noun - the catagorial meaning of substance or thingness (lawyer, milk)\

- the changeable forms of number and case;

- specific derivational suffixes;

- the substantive functions in the sentence: the subject, an object, a
substantival predicative;

- prepositional connections;

- modified by an adjective;

- determined by an article;

- combinability with a verb.

Lecture 5

Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1834

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