Grammatical categories in modern English

Problems of part of speech classification in modern English. Notional parts of speech in English. Grammatical categories denoting time and character of the action. Main notions of grammar. Grammatical meaning, form. Theoretical grammar and its subject.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 27.05.2009
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Problems of part of speech classification in modern English

Identification of parts of speech. The words of l-ge, depending on various formal & semantic features, are divided into grammatically relevant sets or classes. Traditionally they are called parts of speech (“lexico-gram.” series of words or categories). Today they are discriminated ac. to 3 criteria: semantic, formal & functional. Semantic (meaning): presupposes the evaluation of the generalized meaning, characteristic of all words of a given part of speech. The meaning is understood as “categorical meaning of the p.of sp.”. Formal (form): provides for the exposition of the specific inflexional & derivational (word-building) features of all the lexemic subsets of a part of speech. Functional (function): concerns the syntactic role of words in the s-ce typical of a part of speech.

Notional parts of speech in English. these criteria words on the upper level are div.into notional (the noun, adj., numeral, pronoun, verb, adverb), words of complete nominative mean.characterized by self-dependent f-tions, & functional (the article, prepos., conj., particle, modal verb, interjection). Noun: 1) meaning-substance (thinfness), 2) the changeable forms of number & case; specific suff.forms of derivation, 3) the substantive f-tions in the s-ce (subj., obj., substantival predicate); prepositional connections; modiication by an adj. Adjective: 1) the categorical mean. of property (qualitative & relative), 2) forms of degrees of comparison (for qualitative adj.), spec.suff.forms of deriv., 3) adj.f-tions (attribute to a noun, adjectival predicate). Numeral: 1) number (cardinal-порядк. & ordinal-колич.), 2) narrow set of simple numerals, sp.forms of composition for compound num., sp.forms of deriv.for ordinal num., 3)f-tions of numerical attr. & numer. substantive. Pronoun: 1)indication (deixis), 2)narrow sets of various status with the corresponding formal properties of categ.changeability & w-building, 3)the subst. & adjectival f-tions for dif.sets. Verb: 1)process (finite process & non-finite pr.), 2)of verbal categories of person, number, tense, aspect, voice, mood; opposition of finite & non-finite forms, 3)f-tion of the finite predicate for the finite verb; mixed verbal-other than verbal f-tions for the non-f.verb. Adverb: 1) secondary property (i.e. of process or another property), 2)of degrees of comparison for qualitative adverbs; sp.suffixal forms of derivation; 3) f-tions of various adv. modifiers. Functional parts of speech.-Words of incomplete nominative meaning & non-self-dependent, mediary f-tions in the s-ce. Their number is limited. Article: expresses the specific limitation of the substantive f-tions. Preposition: expr.the dependencies and interdependencies of substantive referents. Conjunction: expr. connections of phenomena. Particle: unites the funct.words of specifying&limiting meaning. Modal verbs: expr.the attitude of the the situation. Here belong words of probability (probably, perhaps), of qualitative evaluation (un/fortunately, luckily), of affirm. & negation. Interjection: is a signal of emotions.

Grammatical categories denoting time & character of the action. (Tense, prospect, aspect, order)

Cat. of Tense.

The cat. of tense is considered to be an immanent gr. Cat. which means that the finite V form alw expresses time distinctions. The cat. of tense finds diff. interpretations with diff. scholars. Thus, in trad. linguistics gr. time is often repres.ed as a 3-form cat. consisting of the "linear" past, pres., & future forms. The future-in-the-past does not find its place in the scheme based on the linear principle, hence, this system is considered to be deficient, not covering all lingual data. At the same time linguists build up new systems of tenses in order to find a suitable place in them for future-in-the past. Nevertheless, many of such schemes are open to criticism for their inconsistency which finds its expression in the fact that some of them deny the independent status of future tenses while others exclude from the analysis future-in-the-past forms. The said inconsistency can be overcome if we accept the idea that in Eng there exist 2 tense cat..

The 1st cat. - the cat. of primary time - expresses a direct retrospective evaluation of the time of the process denoted, due to which the process receives an absolutive time characteristic. This cat. is based upon the opp. of "the past tense" & "the pres. tense", the past tense being its strong member. The 2nd tense cat. is the cat. of "prospective time", it is based upon the opp. of "after-action" & "non-after-action", the marked member being the future tense. The cat. of prospect is relat. by nature which means that it characterizes the action from the point of view of its correlation with some other action. As the future Val form may be relat. either to the pres. time, or to the past time incl.d in non-future, the Eng V acquires 2 diff. future forms: the future of the pres. & the future of the past. It means that the future of the past is doubly strong expressing the strong members of the cat. of primary time & the cat. of prospect. The cat. of primary time is subjected to neutralization & transposition, transposition being more typical. The vivid cases of transposition are the "historical pres." & the "Preterite of Modesty". As for the cat. of prospect, it is often neutralized; neutralization can be of 2 types: syntactically optional & syntactically obligatory. Cat. of Aspect. Gr. aspective meanings form a variable gr. cat. which is associated with the opp. of continuous & non-continuous forms of the V. Yet, 1 can find a great divergence of opinions on the probl. of the Eng aspect. The main difference lies in the interpretation of the categorial semantics of the members - continuous & indefinite forms: the categorial meaning of the continuous form is usually defined as the meaning of duration, while the interpretation of the categorial semantics of the Indefinite form causes controversy (the indefinite form may be interpreted as having no aspective meaning (I.P. Ivanova), as a form having a vague content (G.N. Vorontsova), as a form stressing the fact of the performance of the action (A.I. Smirnitsky). In Modern Linguistics A.I. Smirnitsky's interpretation of the categorial semantics of the indefinite form is widely accepted. In theoretical gr-ar the interpretation of perf. / non-perf. V-forms also refers to disputable ?s. Some linguists interpret the opp. of perf. / non-perf. forms as aspective (O. Jespersen, I.P. Ivanova, G.N. Vorontsova), others - as the opp. of tense forms (H. Sweet, G.O. Curme, A. Korsakov). A.I. Smirnitsky was the 1st to prove that perf. & non-perf. make up a special, self-sufficient, cat. which he called the "cat. of time correlation"; this viewpoint is shared now by a vast majority of linguists.

Developing A.I. Smirnitsky's views on the categorial semantics of perf. / non-perf. forms, we can come to the conclusion that in Eng there exist 2 aspective cat.: the cat. of development (based on the opp. of continuous & non-continuous forms) & the cat. of retrospective coordination (based on the opp. of perf. & non-perf. forms).

The perf. form has a mixed categorial meaning: it expresses both retrospective time coordination of the process & the connexion of the prior action with a time-limit reflected in a subsequent event. The recognition of the 2 aspect cat. also enables 1 to give a sound interpretation to the perf. continuous forms: they must be treated as forms having marks in both the aspect cat..

The opp. of continuous & non-continuous forms can be neutralized & transponized. Besides, in the cat. of development Vs which are usually not used in continuous forms can be subjected to the process of reverse transposition, e.g.: Were you wanting my help?

As for the opp. of perf. & non-perf. forms, it can undergo only the process of neutralization, transposition being alien to it.

Main notions of grammar. Grammatical meaning, form. Grammatical category

1. Theoretical grammar and its subject

Man is not well defined as "Homo sapiens" ("man with wisdom"). For what do we mean by wisdom? ft has no been proved so far that animals do not possess it. Those of you who have pets can easily prove the contrary Most recently anthropologists have started defining human beings as "man the toolmaker". However apes can also make primitive tools. What sets man apart from the rest of animal kingdom is his ability to speak; he "can easily object by saying that animals can also speak Homo loquens" "man the speaking animal again, you, naturally, in their own way. But their sounds are meaningless, and there is no link between sound and meaning (or if there is, it is of a very primitive kind) and the link for man is grammar. Only with the help of grammar we can combine words to form sentences and texts. Man is not merely Homo loquens. he is Homo Grammaticus.

The term "'grammar" goes back to a Greek word that may be translated as the "art of writing". But later this word acquired a much wider sense and came to embrace the whole study of language. Now it is often use as the synonym of linguistics. A question comes immediately to mind: what does this study involve.'

Grammar may be practical and theoretical, fhe aim of practical grammar is the description of grammar rules that are necessary to understand and formulate sentences. The aim of theoretical grammar is to offer explanation for these rules. Generally speaking, theoretical grammar deals with the language as a functional system.

2. General principles of grammatical analysis.

According to the Bible: "In the beginning was the Word4. In fact, the word is considered to be the central (but not the only) linguistic unit of language. Linguistic units (or in other words signs) can go into three types of relations:

a) The relation between a unit and an object in the world around us (objective reality). E.g. the word "table" refers to a definite piece of furniture. It may be not only an object but a process, state, quality, etc.

This type of meaning is called referential meaning of a unit. It is semantics that studies the referential meaning of units.

b) The relation between a unit and other units (inner relations between units). No unit can be used independently: it serves as an element in the system of other units. This kind of meaning is called syntactic Formal relation of units to one another is studied by syntactics (or syntax).

c) The relation between a unit and a person who uses it. As we know too well, when we arc saying something, we usually have some purpose in mind. We use the language as an instrument for our purpose (e.g.). One and the same word or sentence may acquire different meanings in communication. This type of meaning is called pragmatic. The study of the relationship between linguistic units and the users of those units is done by pragmatics.

thus there are three models of linguistic description: semantic, syntactic and pragmatic. To illustrate the difference between these different ways of linguistic analysis, let us consider the following sentence: Students are students.

The first part of the XXth century can be characterized by a formal approach to the language study. Only inner (syntactic) relations between linguistic units served the basis for linguistic analysis while the reference of words.

The structure of gram. Cat.

It's a gr. concept proper. Gr. Cat. Is a whole system of gr. Forms expressing a generalized gr. Func.. 1. gr. Feture - гр. признак (ex. suffix). 2. gr. Form. 3. Gr. Paradigm. 4. Gr. Opp.

Synthetiacal, analytical - the feat.s expressing the form are gr. Morphemes. Synth. Form is one-single word including the gr. Feat.. Ex. Tables. Analyt. Form consists of 2 parts (word expressing the material meaning & word exp. The feat.). Ex. Will go. 3 types of synth.forms:

1. built up by the change of root morpheme, vowel-interchange (man-men) inner inflexion.

2. outer inflexion - table - tables.

3. suppletivity - I am, you are, bad-worse

Syntactic relations of words. Phrases (word groups)

The phrase is the object of minor syntax. The phrase is usually understood as a combination of 2 or more words which is a gr. unit but is not an analytical form of a word. Nominal phrase - a compound signemic unit made up of words & denoting a complex phenomenon of reality analyzable into its component elements together with various relations btw them. The trad. class-tion of phrases is based on the part of spee4 status of the phrase constituents. In accordance with this criterion, the following types of phrases can be identified: "noun + noun", "adjective + noun", "V + noun", "V + adV", "adV + adjective", "adV + adV", etc. Phrases are made up not only by notional words but also by words, e.g.: "in accordance with", "due to", "apart from", "as soon as" - such phrases perform in a sent. preposition-like & conjunction-like func.s. Syntactic relations of the phrase constituents are divided into 2 main types: agreement & government. Agreement takes place when the subord. word assumes a form similar to that of the word to which it is subord.. In English agreement is typical only of the category of number in demonstrative pronouns. Government takes place when the subord. word is used in a certain form required by its head word, the form of the subord. word not coinciding with the form of the head word. The expression of government is the use of the objective case of personal pronouns & of the pronoun "who" when they are used in a Val phrase or follow a preposition. Phrases can also be classified according to the nominative value of their constituents. As a result three major types of phrases are identified: notional (consisting of grammatically connected notional words), formative (made up by notional & words), & (consisting of words alone). Notional phrases are subdivided into 2 groups on the principle of the constituent rank: equipotent phrases (the phrase constituents are of an equal rank) & dominational phrases (the syntactic ranks of the constituents are not equal as they refer to one another as the modifier & the modified). Further subdivision of equipotent notional word groupings into coordinative & cumulative is carried out on the principle of the character of nomination realized by the phrase constituents: coordinative phrases are based on the logically consecutive connexions, cumulative phrases are characterized by the constituent inequality in the character of nomination realized & the presence of a coordinative conjunction. In their turn, dominational notional phrases are subdivided into consecutive & cumulative: the class-tion principle of the character of nomination realized by the phrase constituents remains valid. Dominational consecutive phrases fall into minor groupings according to the specific features of dominational connexion.

Syntactically bound morphological categories of 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 i i classification can be found.

Semantic features of the verb. The verb possesses the grammatical meaning of verbiality the ability ю denote a process developing in time. This meaning is inherent not only in the verbs denoting processes, but also in those denoting slates, 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 m 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), other;; only analytical (voice). There are also categories expressed by both synthetical and analytical forms (mood, tense, aspect.

Syntactic features. 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

Relations of actions

The category of voice

The category of voice is realized through the opposition Active voice::Passive voice. The realization of the vоice category is restricted because of the implicit grammatical meaning of transitivity/intransitivity. In

accordance with this meaning, all English verbs should fall into transitive and intransitive. However, the classification turns out to be more complex and comprises 6 groups:

1. Verbs used only transitively: to mark, to raise:

2.Verbs with the main transitive meaning: to see, to make, to build;

3. Verbs of intransitive meaning and secondary transitive meaning. Л lot of intransitive verbs may develop a secondary transitive meaning: They laughed me into agreement; He danced the girl out of the room;

4. Verbs of a double nature, neither of the meanings are the leading one, the verbs can be used both transitively and intransitively: to drive home - to drive a car;

5. Verbs that are never used in the Passive Voice: to seem, to become;

6. Verbs that realize their passive meaning only in special contexts: to live, to sleep, to sit, to walk to jump.

Some scholars admit the existence of Middle, Reflexive and Reciprocal voices. "Middle Voice" - the verbs primarily transitive may develop an intransitive middle meaning: That adds a lot; The door opened; The book sells easily; The dress washes well. "Reflexive Voice": He dressed; He washed - the subject is both the agent and the recipient of the action at the same time. It is always possible to use a reflexive pronoun in this case: He washed himself. "Reciprocal voice": They met; They kissed - it is always possible to use a reciprocal pronoun here: They kissed each other

We cannot, however, speak of different voices, because all these meanings are not expressed morphologically The category of tense

The category of tense is a verbal category that reflects the objective category of time. The essential characteristic of the category of tense is that it relates the time of the action, event or state of affairs referred to in the sentence to the time of the utterance (the time of the utterance being 'now ' or the present moment). The tense category is realized through the oppositions. The binary principle of oppositions remains the basic one in the correlation of the forms that represent the grammatical category of tense. The present moment is the main temporal plane of verbal actions. Therefore, the temporal dichotomy may be illustrated by the following graphic representation (the arrows show the binary opposition): Present Past Future Future II

Generally speaking, the major tense-distinction in English is undoubtedly that which is traditionally described as an opposition of past::present. But this is best regarded as a contrast of past:: non-past Quite a loi of scholars do not recognize the existence of future tenses, because what is described as the 'future' tense in English is realized by means of auxiliary verbs will and shall. Although it is undeniable that will and shall occur in many sentences that refer to the future, they also occur in sentences that do not. And they do not necessarily occur in sentences with a future time reference. That is why future tenses are often treated as partly modal.

5. The Category of Aspect

The category of aspect is a linguistic representation of the objective category of Manner of Action. It is realized through the opposition Continuous::Non-Continuous (Progressive::Non-Progressive)..

Sentence as the main unit of Syntax. Predicativity. Classes of sentences

The sent. as a syntactic unit.

The sent. is the immediate integral unit of spee4 built up of words acc. to a definite syntactic pattern & distinguished by contextually relevant comm-tive purpose. Any coherent connexion of words having an informative destination is effected within the frame work of sent.. Therefore the sent. idis the main object of syntax. The sent., being composed of word, may in certain cases include one word of various lexico-gram. st&ings. Ex. Congratulations! The actual existence of one-word sent.s does not contradict the general idea of a sent. as a special syntactic combination of words. The sent. is a predicative utterance unit. It means that the sent. not only names some referents with the help of its word-constituents, but also, 1st presents these referents as making up a certain situation (a situational event) & 2nd reflects the connexion btw the nominal denotation of the event & objective reality showing the time of the event, its being real or unreal, desirable or undes., etc. There is a diff. btw the sent. & the word. Unlike the word, the sent. does not exist in the system of the lang. as a ready-made unit. It is created by the speaker in the course of commun-tion. Trad. gr. has never regarded the sent. as part of the system of means of expression; It has alw interpreted the sent. not as an implement for constructing spee4, but as spee4 itself. Being a unit of spee4, the sent is intonationally delimited. Intonation separates one sent. from another in the continual flow of uttered segments. The sent. is characterized by its specific category of predication which establishes the relation of the named phenomena to actual life. As for predication proper, it embodies syntactic modality as the fundamental feature of the sent. It is the feature of predication that identifies the sent. as opposed to any other combination of words having a situational referent. The centre of predication in a sent. of Val type is a finite V. The finite V expresses essential predicative meanings by its categorical forms. The sent as a lingual unit performs 2 essential signemic (meaningful) func.s: 1st substance-naming (nomin-ve func.), 2nd - reality-evaluating (predicative func.).

Grammatical characteristics of the noun

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 categories) and syntactical (functions, distribution).

Semantic features of the noun. The noun possesses the grammatical meaning of thingness, substantial it According to different principles of classification nouns fall into several subclasses: 1. According to the type of nomination they may be proper and common;

According to the form of existence they may be animate and inanimate. Animate nouns in their turn-fall into human and non-human. 3. According to their quantitative structure nouns can be countable and uncountable. This set of subclasses cannot be put together into one table because of the different principles of classification

Morphological features 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.

Syntactic features of the noun. The noun can be used un the sentence in all syntactic functions but predicate Speaking about noun combinability, we can say that it can go into right-hand and left-hand connections wit practically all parts of speech. That is why practically all parts of speech but the verb can act as noun

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

3. There are three eases: the Nominative, the (lenitive, the Objective due to the existence о Г 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 resull 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.llyish, 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 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 arc manifested in the language grammatically (e.g. tiger tigress). Still, other scholars (M.lilokh. 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.

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