The grammar of contemporary English

The history of parts of speech in English grammar: verb, noun, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection. Parts of speech and different opinions of American and British scientists. The analysis of the story of Eric Segal "Love Story".

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
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Язык английский
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Introduction

There is an important problem in English language. How many parts of speech are there in English language?

There are 8 parts of speech: verb, noun, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction and interjection. But some grammar sources categorize English in to 9 or 10 parts of speech.

However some scholars question the validity of considering pronouns and numerals separate parts of speech in most languages, since words of these classes ordinarily vary in their syntactic functions and from this point of view belong to different word classes.

For this reason they are often considered sub classed of others parts of speech. Such a remark is often heard on this question. The topic of our research paper is parts of speech classification problem in Modern English. The relevance of the topic is comprehensive theoretical review of parts of speech, their means of expression, ordering of parts of speech.

A subject of the investigation is parts of speech classification problem in Modern English. An object of the investigation is students of IBA.

Scientific and practical value of the term paper is comprehensive theoretical treatment of the parts of speech, how they are expressed in different kinds of texts, ordering of parts of speech, and the status of parts of speech.

The purpose of the study is to identify the most common essential categories of parts of speech in English grammar. In accordance with the purpose of the study we had the following objectives in this research paper. There are:

· to study the history of parts of speech

· to select the criteria on which parts of speech are assigned

· to review the work of scientists in the field of grammar

· to know the problems of the parts of speech

The problem of parts of speech is one that causes great controversies between different scholars. A problem arose, however, because scholars could not agree on exactly what the parts of speech are. During this research paper we will try to figure out what are parts of speech, how to classify them, and what problems arise in this.

1. Parts of speech in English language

In grammar, a part of speech (also a word class, a lexical class, or a lexical category) is a linguistic category of words (or more precisely lexical items), which is generally defined by the syntactic or morphological behavior of the lexical item in question. Common linguistic categories include noun and verb, among others. There are open word classes, which constantly acquire new members, and closed word classes, which acquire new members infrequently if at all.

Almost all languages have the lexical categories noun and verb, but beyond these there are significant variations in different languages. For example, Japanese has as many as three classes of adjectives where English has one; Chinese, Korean and Japanese have nominal classifiers whereas European languages do not; many languages do not have a distinction between adjectives and adverbs, adjectives and verbs (see stative verbs) or adjectives and nouns[citation needed], etc. This variation in the number of categories and their identifying properties entails that analysis is done for each individual language. Nevertheless the labels for each category are assigned on the basis of universal criteria. [1]

1.1 Historical overview of the parts of speech problem and controversies

The classification of words into lexical categories is found from the earliest moments in the history of linguistics. In the Nirukta, written in the 5th or 6th century BCE, the Sanskrit grammarian Yвska defined four main categories of words:

· nвma - nouns or substantives

· вkhyвta - verbs

· upasarga - pre-verbs or prefixes

· nipвta - particles, invariant words (perhaps prepositions)

These four were grouped into two large classes: inflected (nouns and verbs) and uninflected (pre-verbs and particles).

The ancient work on the grammar of the Tamil language, Tolkappiyam, dated variously between 1st and 10th centuries CE, classifies wordsnin Tamil as

· peyar (noun),

· vinai (verb),

· idai (part of speech which modifies the relationships between verbs and nouns) and

· uri (word that further qualifies a noun or verb)

A century or two after the work of Nirukta, the Greek scholar Plato wrote in the Cratylus dialog that "... sentences are, I conceive, a combination of verbs [rhзma] and nouns [уnoma]". Another class, "conjunctions" (covering conjunctions, pronouns, and the article), was later added by Aristotle. By the end of the 2nd century BCE, the classification scheme had been expanded into eight categories, seen in the Art of Grammar (ФЭчнз ГсбммбфйкЮ) :

Noun: a part of speech inflected for case, signifying a concrete or abstract entity

Verb: a part of speech without case inflection, but inflected for tense, person and number, signifying an activity or process performed or undergone

Participle: a part of speech sharing the features of the verb and the noun

Interjection: a part of speech expressing emotion alone

Pronoun: a part of speech substitutable for a noun and marked for person

Preposition: a part of speech placed before other words in composition and in syntax

Adverb: a part of speech without inflection, in modification of or in addition to a verb

Conjunction: a part of speech binding together the discourse and filling gaps in its interpretation

The Latin grammarian Priscian (fl. 500 CE) modified the above eightfold system, substituting "interjection" for "article". It was not until 1767 that the adjective was taken as a separate class. [1]

Traditional English grammar is patterned after the European tradition above, and is still taught in schools and used in dictionaries. It names eight parts of speech: noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction, and interjection (sometimes called an exclamation). Since the Greek grammarians of 2nd century BCE, parts of speech have been defined by morphological, syntactic and semantic criteria. However, there is currently no generally agreed-upon classification scheme that can apply to all languages, or even a set of criteria upon which such a scheme should be based. Linguists recognize that the above list of eight word classes is drastically simplified and artificial. For example, "adverb" is to some extent a catch-all class that includes words with many different functions. Some have even argued that the most basic of category distinctions, that of nouns and verbs, is unfounded, or not applicable to certain languages.[1]

1.2 Parts of speech and different opinions of American and British scientists

In modern English and American linguistics, there are 2 approaches to the separation of vocabulary. The first involves the allocation of parts of speech (parts of speech), and the second - word classes (word classes). "Parts of Speech" are the traditional term to describe different types of words that form a sentence, such as a noun, pronouns, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, the union, interjection. The criteria for their selection are considered to be the value, form and function. This approach is not flawless, native speakers have some difficulty in classifying individual words to the parts of speech.

Words are combined in these groups in their combinatorial functions, morphological features, etc. The most common groups of words are a part of speech: noun, verb, adjective, pronoun, preposition, article, conjunction, interjection, demonstrative, etc.

But in the scientific literature of Great Britain and the United States is sometimes the case indistinguishable terminological word classes and parts of speech. It has been suggested that the term "part of speech" is outdated and does not reflect its essence, ie, association of individual words in the classes, taking into account their common morphology, semantics and role in the structure of the sentence. This view is based on the views of L. Bloomfield for a broader understanding of word classes, which include the traditional parts of speech, as well as various structural design (complex forms such as infinitives, participles, gerunds).

The English grammar of the XIX century. Most authors prefer English grammar parts of speech, the three systems, which are in Latin. In the first half of the XIX century, the most frequently encountered two of them, including: a) 9 parts of speech: article, noun, adjective, pronoun, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, interjection b) 10 parts of speech (article, noun, adjective, pronoun, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, interjection, and participle). Toward the end of the XIX century was popular Latin system of eight parts of speech: noun, adjective, pronoun, verb, adverb, preposition, conjunction, interjection. The absence of an article in this classification, some scientists explain the lack of an article in the Latin language. These scholars consider the type of article adjective.

Traditional Diagrams. These schemes differ from traditional to their desire to take into account the various factors of grammatical (morphological and syntactic) character. The development of innovative schemes promoted a better understanding of the problems of parts of speechHere are some, in my opinion, the most interesting examples of non-traditional classifications of lexical structure of English.

H. Dougherty takes into account only two criteria: the significance and place in a sentence. He considers all of the words the ideas and the ideas of the name refers to the names. There are three types of ideas (and, hence, the name):

* Ideas about things (words rank nominal) (nominal rank);

* Ideas about the properties of things (adnominal rank);

* Ideas to modify things (subadnominal rank)

Under the ideas of things are understood nouns by ideas about the properties of ideas - articles, adjectives, pronouns, verb forms, which define the nouns. Under the ideas of the modifications of the things implied adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, serving adnouns.

H. Dougherty ideas were developed in the XX century (the theory of "three ranks" the Danish linguist Otto Espersona, which I'll discuss later).

JM Hewitt, J. Beach, part of speech is also distinguished by two criteria. But they consider them separately from each other, creating two classifications.

The first classification according to the syntactic criterion: the parts of speech are divided into 3 groups.

* The group noun (noun-group). It includes nouns, adjectives (also include articles), pronouns and prepositions.

* A group of verbs (verb-group). Includes verbs, adverbs, prepositions.

* Mixed group (miscellaneous group). Includes conjunctions, pronouns.

The authors explain the presence of a preposition in two groups so that it can bind both things and actions and things.

The second classification according to morphological criteria. Parts of speech are divided into variable (inflected) and immutable (uninflected).

Finally, Mr. Sweet assumed that it is necessary to allocate part of the speech, according to three criteria - form, function and value. The first criterion is applied to the English language he sees as the lead. He identifies modifiable (declinable) part of speech: nouns, adjectives, verbs, and immutable (indeclinable) part of speech: adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections. Interjections, he also called particles.

It also distinguishes Sweet words on syntactic grounds:

* Named the word (noun-words): nouns, pronouns nominal (noun-pronouns) (I, they), numerals (noun-numerals) (three of us), the infinitive and the gerund;

* Adjective word (adjective-words): adjectives, adjectival pronoun (adjective-pronouns) (my book, that book), adjectival numeral (adjective-numerals) (three men), the sacrament;

* A group of verbs: personal and impersonal (infinitive, gerund, participle) verb forms.

The English grammar of the XIX century. Traditional Diagrams

In the English grammatical tradition of the XX century the most common is the Latin classification, consisting of 8 parts of speech: noun, pronoun, adjective name, verb, adverb, conjunction, preposition and interjection.

Much less common are classification 7 (noun, verb, pronoun, adjective, adverb, preposition, Union) and 9 (a noun, article, verb, pronoun, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, interjection).

The number of parts of speech depends largely on the ratio of benefits to the authors of grammatical articles and interjections. In many works, the article does not constitute a separate part of speech, and is regarded as a sort of adjective. Interjection, because it is used either as a word-sentence, either in isolation, often completely taken out of the scope of this classification.

Grammarians of classic, based on the principle of a unified classification of parts of speech, however, have made some improvements to it. As J. Kerma, his theory of classification of the vocabulary of the language is the most conservative. Kerma highlights the traditional eight parts of speech, and the article considers the composition of adjectives.

Non-traditional parts of speech circuits. A. Ashton, recognizing the division of words into eight parts of speech, all of them subdivided into 2 major groups: primary (primary) and secondary (secondary). It proceeds from the syntactic criterion. First group: part of speech that are used in a sentence as a function of subject and predicate, ie, substantiv (noun and pronoun) and a verb. Second group: an adjective (limits or defines substantiv) and adverb (limits or defines the verb). Ashton believes that the dialect was the basis for the formation of prepositions and conjunctions. At the same time, adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions, and originally consisted of Cases of nouns and pronouns, and then turned into a separate part of speech. In his grammar (1915), it is based on logical and semantic criteria, divides all the words of another two types: conceptual (notional) and relational (relational). Conceptual word 'give the mind a clear understanding of a thing or an act or attribute of things. " To them the author includes nouns, quality adjectives and verbs. Relational expression is not known and do not describe things, but only indicate their relationship with other things (substantivized pronouns, pronominal adjectives and quantitative). Speech by the author are considered as part of the conceptual (wisely, brightly) and partly relational (now, thus) of the word. [6]

R. Pence and D. Emery, according to the semantic-syntactic criteria are divided into 4 groups of words:

* Substantive (nouns and pronouns), "which referred to";

* Adjectives and adverbs, "which determine";

* Verbs, "claiming"

* Prepositions, conjunctions, "which connect."

L. Rorabeyker distributes traditional eight parts of speech into 4 groups according to their functions in a sentence:

* Approving the word (statement words): nouns, verbs, pronouns;

* Defining (modifying) word (modifying words): adjectives, adverbs;

* Joining words (connecting words): prepositions, conjunctions;

* Independent of speech (independent words): interjections.

J. Grattan and P. Perry, divide words into two classes, taking into account the values and functions of the words: full words (full words), having an independent lexical meaning out of context, and formal speech (form-words). Recent virtually no independent lexical meaning. [3]

2. Part of speech classifications

The fundamental word classes in a language, distinguished according to the similarity of the words' syntactic, morphological, logical, and semantic properties. Autonomous parts of speech include the noun, verb, adjective, and adverb; functional parts of speech include the conjunction, preposition, particle, and article. Numerals, pronouns, and interjections are also traditionally considered parts of speech.

Words can be classified according to the positions they occupy in a sentence. A part of speech will then include all words that can occupy identical syntactic positions in a sentence or that can perform identical syntactic functions. Of importance here is not only the set of syntactic functions, but also the degree to which each of the functions is characteristic of the particular part of speech. The functions are divided into primary and secondary according to specific morphological or syntactic restrictions. Thus, in Russian both the noun and the verb can function as subject (chelovek liubit, "man loves"; kurit'--zdorov'iu vredil', "to smoke is to harm one's health") or as predicate (Ivanov-- uchitel', "Ivanov is a teacher"; derevo gorit, "the wood burns"). However, for the verb the predicate function is primary and the subject function is secondary, but for the noun the subject function is primary and the predicate function is secondary. For example, a verb can only be the subject with a nominal predicate, but a noun can be the subject with any predicate. A sentence with a verb subject can be transformed into a sentence with a noun subject (kurenie vredno dlia zdorov'ia, "smoking is harmful to one's health"), but the reverse is not true. A noun predicate requires a copulative verb in order to express tense and mood (Ivanov byll-byl by uchitelem, "Ivanov was/would .have been a teacher"), which is not true of a verb predicate. In Chinese both verb and adjective can function as an attributive, but in doing so the verb, unlike the adjective, requires the special adjectival suffix -te.

Some scholars question the validity of considering pronouns and numerals separate parts of speech in most languages, since words of these classes ordinarily vary in their syntactic functions and from this point of view belong to different word classes. For this reason they are often considered subclasses of other parts of speech. (In Russian, for example, compare the noun numerals tri, "three," and chetyre, "four," with the adjectival numerals pervyi, "first," and vtoroi, "second.")

Each part of speech has its own set of characteristic grammatical categories; trie set of categories embraces an absolute majority of the words of the particular part of speech. This serves as a morphological criterion for distinguishing parts of speech in inflected languages. In Russian, for example, number, case, and gender (as a word-classifying category) are characteristic of the noun, and degrees of comparison, number, case, and gender (as an inflectional category) are characteristic of the adjective. In Burmese, however, the adjective and verb are not contrasted in this way, since words corresponding to both adjectives and verbs in other languages have degrees of comparison.

The distribution of words by parts of speech is governed in all languages by certain semantic regularities that serve to differentiate the parts of speech semantically. In Russian the class of nouns includes words denoting objects (stol, "table"), qualities (krasnota, "redness"), and actions (khozhdenie, "walking"); however, the majority of nouns not denoting objects are derived, and the majority of nonderived nouns denote objects. This regularity imparts, to the class of nouns the general meaning of objectness. In the same way, the general meaning of action or state is established for the verb, of quality for the adjective, and of action or quality attribute for the adverb.

The system of parts of speech taught in modern school grammars stems from the works of the Alexandrian philologists, such as Dionysius Thrax and Apollonius Dyscolus, who distinguished nominais, verbs, participles, adverbs, articles, pronouns, prepositions, and conjunctions according to mixed morphological, semantic, and syntactic criteria. In this system nominais included nouns, adjectives, and numerals. (In contrast, Plato combined the adjective and verb on the basis of logical syntactic relations.) The system of the Alexandrian philologists also influenced the Arab grammatical tradition. The Middle Ages and the Renaissance, during which logical-semantic criteria were stressed as the basis for the existence of parts of speech, introduced no significant changes into the system. The development of comparative-historical linguistics placed morphological characteristics in the forefront and was responsible for a purely morphological approach to the problem of parts of speech (with the additional influence of the Indian grammatical tradition). The new approach, as reflected in the works of F. F. Fortunatov, denied the existence of parts of speech in isolating languages. In the 20th century linguistics refused, to recognize that word classes analogous to the parts of speech of inflected languages can be distinguished in isolating languages, a fact previously demonstrated by H. C. von der Gabelentz (the syntactic criterion establishes word classes in inflected languages that essentially coincide with morphological parts of speech). With the syntactic approach all languages have parts of speech, and difficulties arising from the morphological approach are avoided (such as the lack of morphological marking in the classification of indeclinable Russian nouns, such as pal'to, "overcoat").

Parts of speech differ from language to language. The differences concern not only which parts of speech a language has, but also what words are subsumed under each part of speech. Thus, Russian, French, and Latin distinguish nouns, adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. Several North American and African languages do not differentiate adverbs from adjectives. Chinese distinguishes nominais, predicatives (verbs and adjectives), and adverbs. In some languages, such as the American Indian language Yuma, only nominais and verbs are distinguished. Differences as to what words are subsumed under particular parts of speech can be observed by comparing Hausa, in which words corresponding to the adjectives of other languages are in the same class as nouns, with Burmese, in which this type of word is in the same class as verbs. The most consistent contrast in different languages is between the nominal and the verb, although such a contrast has not been demonstrated as universal. [21]

The parts of speech are classes of words, all the members of these classes having certain characteristics in common which distinguish them fr om 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 their classification varied a good deal at different times. Only in English grammarians have been vacillating between 3 and 13 parts of speech. There are four approaches to the problem:

v Classical (logical-inflectional)

v Functional

v Distributional

v Complex

The classical parts of speech theory goes back to ancient times. It is based on Latin grammar. According to the Latin classification of the parts of speech all words were divided dichotomically into declinable and indeclinable parts of speech. This system was reproduced in the earliest English grammars. The first of these groups, declinable words, included nouns, pronouns, verbs and participles, the second - indeclinable words - adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections. The logical-inflectional classification is quite successful for Latin or other languages with developed morphology and synthetic paradigms but it cannot be applied to the English language because the principle of declinability/indeclinability is not relevant for analytical languages.

A new approach to the problem was introduced in the XIX century by Henry Sweet. He took into account the peculiarities of the English language. This approach may be defined as functional. He resorted to the functional features of words and singled out nominative units and particles. To nominative parts of speech belonged noun-words (noun, noun-pronoun, noun-numeral, infinitive, gerund), adjective-words (adjective, adjective-pronoun, adjective-numeral, participles), verb (finite verb, verbals - gerund, infinitive, participles), while adverb, preposition, conjunction and interjection belonged to the group of particles. However, though the criterion for classification was functional, Henry Sweet failed to break the tradition and classified words into those having morphological forms and lacking morphological forms, in other words, declinable and indeclinable. [14]

A distributional approach 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; and 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 15 form-classes. Let us see how it worked. Three test frames formed the basis for his analysis:

Frame A - The concert was good (always);

Frame B - The clerk remembered the tax (suddenly);

Frame C - The team went there.

It turned out that his four classes of words were practically the same as traditional nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. What is really valuable in Charles Fries' classification is his investigation of 15 groups of function words (form-classes) because he was the first linguist to pay attention to some of their peculiarities.

All the classifications mentioned above appear to be one-sided because parts of speech are discriminated on the basis of only one aspect of the word: either its meaning or its form, or its function.

In modern linguistics, parts of speech are discriminated according to three criteria: semantic, formal and functional. This approach may be defined as complex. The semantic criterion presupposes the grammatical meaning of the whole class of words (general grammatical meaning). The formal criterion reveals paradigmatic properties: relevant grammatical categories, the form of the words, their specific inflectional and derivational features. The functional criterion concerns the syntactic function of words in the sentence and their combinability. Thus, when characterizing any part of speech we are to describe: a) its semantics; b) its morphological features; c) its syntactic peculiarities. [14]

The linguistic evidence drawn fr om our grammatical study makes it possible to divide all the words of the language into:

those denoting things, objects, notions, qualities, etc. - words with the corresponding references in the objective reality - notional words;

those having no references of their own in the objective reality; most of them are used only as grammatical means to form up and frame utterances - function words, or grammatical words.

It is commonly recognized that the notional parts of speech are nouns, pronouns, numerals, verbs, adjectives, adverbs; the functional parts of speech are articles, particles, prepositions, conjunctions and modal words.

The division of language units into notion and function words reveals the interrelation of lexical and grammatical types of meaning. In notional words the lexical meaning is predominant. In function words the grammatical meaning dominates over the lexical one. However, in actual speech the border line between notional and function words is not always clear cut. Some notional words develop the meanings peculiar to function words - e.g. seminotional words - to turn, to get, etc.

Generally speaking, the problem of words' classification into parts of speech is far from being solved. Some words cannot find their proper place. The most striking example here is the class of adverbs. Some language analysts call it a ragbag, a dustbin (Frank Palmer), Russian academician V.V.Vinogradov defined the class of adverbs in the Russian language as мусорная куча. It can be explained by the fact that to the class of adverbs belong those words that cannot find their place anywhere else. At the same time, there are no grounds for grouping them together either. Compare: perfectly (She speaks English perfectly) and again (He is here again). Examples are numerous (all temporals). There are some words that do not belong anywhere - e.g. after all. Speaking about after all it should be mentioned that this unit is quite often used by native speakers, and practically never by our students. Some more striking examples: anyway, actually, in fact. The problem is that if these words belong nowhere, there is no place for them in the system of words, then how can we use them correctly? What makes things worse is the fact that these words are devoid of nominative power, and they have no direct equivalents in the Ukrainian or Russian languages. Meanwhile, native speakers use these words subconsciously, without realizing how they work.

3. The problems of the parts of speech

The words of language, depending on various formal and semantic features, are divided into grammatically relevant classes. The traditional grammatical classes of words are called "parts of speech."

The problem of parts of speech caused much difficulty both in general linguistics and in the analysis of separate languages. Though it has been studied for more than 200 years, the criteria for defining parts of speech have not been worked out yet. Traditionally grammar gave a semantic definition of parts of speech, taking into account only meaning. However, only meaning cannot be a reliable criterion for defining parts of speech because different parts of speech may have the same meaning and vice versa. E.g. the nouns "books", "tables", "students", denote objects and there are nouns as flight", "movement", "arrival", which do not denote objects but belong to nouns. We see that meaning cannot be the only criterion for defining parts of speech. The structural school of linguistics does not take into account meaning only but only form. Form alone cannot be a reliable criterion either because many parts of speech especially in English may have the same form, e.g. water-to water, silk (adj.) - to silk. Moreover, if we take into account only form, then such unchangeable words as article, particle should be referred to only part of speech.

We see that the criterion of form is not sufficient. The grammatical criterion should be taken into account to give an adequate definition of any part of speech. By grammatical features we mean:

a) morphological

b) syntactical

By morphological features different categories are meant. The morphological categories of noun are the categories of number and case. By morphological categories of adjectives we mean the category of quality (degrees of comparison). By syntactical features of the part of speech the syntactical functions of it are meant. The syntactical function is the most reliable criterion. Thus, the modern conception and amended definition of part of speech should take into account all the above mentioned criteria in complex. [4]

The notion of dividing words into discrete parts of speech is generally credited to the ancient Greek grammarian Dionysius Thrax. For a long time, the idea was pretty much universally accepted. Eventually, grand claims were made for it. The anonymous author of the 1733 book "The English Accidence" called the parts of speech "the foundation upon which the beautiful fabrick of the language stands." John Stuart Mill felt they represented universal categories of human thought.

One problem with such reverence is that different languages are set up differently. For example, Latin, Russian and Japanese all lack articles. Even in our own tradition, the roster keeps shifting. Thrax counted eight parts: adverbs, articles, conjunctions, nouns, participles, prepositions, pronouns and verbs. The Latin-speaking Romans obviously had to drop articles. Perhaps to keep the eight-part scheme, they added -- golly! -- interjections. Early formulations of English grammar adopted the Latin list. This presented problems, since English does have articles. There was a lot of shuffling around, until Joseph Priestley's 1761 "Rudiments of English Grammar" finally established the baseball-size lineup that included adjectives and booted out participles. This slate has been generally accepted for the last quarter-millennium and is familiar to the population at large from "Schoolhouse Rock" and the italicized abbreviations (adj., etc.) after words in the dictionary. But for some time there have been rumblings of discontent in the higher reaches of the linguistics community. In the 1920's, Edward Sapir wrote that "no logical scheme of the parts of speech -- their number, nature and necessary confines -- is of the slightest interest to the linguist." The fact is, any parts-of-speech scheme leaves gaping holes. In the term baseball player, is the word baseball a noun or an adjective? Reasonable people differ on this point. What about the word to in an infinitive like to see? What about the there in there are?

Current-day grammarians don't even like to use "parts of speech," preferring "word classes" or "lexical categories." A recent trend has been to accept some fuzziness. Nouns, for example, are often defined by having some or all of a list of capabilities, including being the subject of a sentence or clause, having a plural form or displaying a suffix like "-tion" or "-hood." A word like mother, which does all three, is a very "nouny" noun. Paris, which satisfies only the first, is on the fringes.

Linguists have also done some major fiddling. Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey Pullum's magisterial 2002 "Cambridge Grammar of the English Language" counts pronouns as a subset of nouns, replaces articles with a new category called "determinatives" (which also includes words like this, some and every) and divides conjunctions into "coordinators" (and, but and or) and "subordinators" (like whether).

But regardless of name, lexical categories are quite useful. They make possible not only Mad Libs but also the rhetorical device anthimeria -- using a word as a noncustomary part of speech -- which is the reigning figure of speech of the present moment.

That's not to say it's a new thing. In Middle English, the nouns duke and lord started to be used as verbs, and the verbs cut and rule shifted to nouns. Shakespeare was a pro at this; his characters coined verbs -- "season your admiration," "dog them at the heels" -- and such nouns as design, scuffle and shudder. Less common shifts are noun to adjective (S.J. Perelman's "Beauty Part"), adjective to noun (the Wicked Witch's "I'll get you, my pretty") and adverb to verb (to down a drink).

This "functional shifting," as grammarians call it, is a favorite target of language mavens, whose eyebrows rise several inches when nouns like impact and access are verbed. Nor do companies like it when their trade names get shifted. In his book "Word Spy," Paul McFedries writes that Google's attorneys send journalists who use google as a verb a stern letter that cites examples of appropriate ("I used Google to check out that guy I met at the party") and inappropriate ("I googled that hottie") uses.

It's beyond obvious that Google's lawyers are fighting a losing battle. And they should relax. Not only is "I googled that hottie" great publicity for the company, but it's fresh and funny and an excellent example of how anthimeria gives English an invigorating slap upside the head. At this very moment, the language is being regenerated with phrases like my bad, verbs like dumb down and weird out and guilt ("Don't guilt me") and even the doubly anthimeric "Pimp My Ride," an MTV series in which a posse of artisans take a run-down jalopy and sleek it up into a studly vehicle containing many square yards of plush velvet and an astonishing number of LCD screens.

The word chill showed up more than 500 years ago as a noun meaning "cold" -- as in "winter's chill." In short order, it turned into a verb referring to the process of making someone or something cold and then into an adjective. (Eventually chilly became more common.) Fast-forward to 1979, when the song "Rapper's Delight" worked a variation on Ecclesiastes, explaining that "There's. . .a time to break and a time to chill/To act civilized or act real ill." That intransitive verb, meaning roughly "to relax," was expanded to chill out in 1983, according to The Oxford English Dictionary. The most recent variation in chill can be seen in the basketball player Chamique Holdsclaw's comment about her adoptive city of Los Angeles: "Everything is pretty chill."

Some more rococo anthimerian endeavors have clear meanings, but are more or less im-parse-able. Thus a line from the novel "Afterburn," by Zane: "No matter how hoochie I tried to be, she out-hoochied me every single time." The truly terrifying thing is that one of Zane's other novels has been published in Tokyo, and if "Afterburn" follows suit, someone will have to translate that sentence into Japanese.

4. The analysis of the story of Eric Segal "Love Story

In our practical part we took the story of Eric Segal "Love Story", compared English and Russian translations. And found out that, when we translated from English into Russian languages some of the part of speech are converted into other parts of speech or lost at all. Below you can see these facts.

The noun

"What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? "/1.chapter.p1/. - "Что можно сказать о двадцатипятилетней девушке, которая умерла?" /1.chapter.p1/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see no changes in the parts of speech.

"We went to the Midget Restaurant, a nearby sandwich joint which, despite its name, is not restricted to people of small stature. " /21.chapter.p12/. - Мы решили посидеть в "Лилипуте" - это одно местечко поблизости, где можно съесть пару сандвичей, и ходят туда, вопреки названию, люди нормального роста./22.chapter.p2/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see the loss of the word Restaurant.

"If I were a sentimentalist, and cared enough about Harvard to hang a photograph on the wall, it would not be of Winthrop House, or Mem Church, but of Dillon. " /21.chapter2.p21/. - Будь я сентиментален и люби Гарвард достаточно горячо, чтобы вешать на стенки какие-нибудь фотографии, то на снимках был бы запечатлен Диллон. Стадион Диллон... /22.chapter2.p4/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see a word sentimentalist (a sentimental person) is a noun was transformed to the adverb.

"That ridiculous no conversation after the Cornell game. " /21.chapter4.р44/. Рассказал о нашем странном "недоразговоре" после того матча. /22.chapter4.р10/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see no changes in the parts of speech.

The verb

"The fans threw programs onto the ice. This really broke Dartmouth's back. (That's a metaphor; the defenseman got up when he caught his breath.) We creamed them 7-0. " 22.chapter.р4/. - "Болельщики швыряли программки на лед. Это окончательно сломало хребет Дартмуту!.. Мы уделали их со счетом 7:0. " 22.chapter2.р5/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation languages we can see no changes in the parts of speech.

" That is, Davey Johnston and I were about to perforate their nets. "/22.chapter2.р3/. "Иными словами, Дейви Джонстон и я уже несколько раз были готовы продырявить сетку их ворот. " /22.chapter2.р4/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see no changes in the parts of speech.

"The crowd expects a protest, no matter how flagrant the offence. The ref waved me off." /21.chapter2.р18/. - Зрители неодобрительно зароптали; некоторые гарвардцы выразили сомнение по поводу остроты зрения и неподкупности судей. /22.chapter2.р3/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see verb + noun, but this construction was transformed to the verb.

"One a tall tennis-anyone type, the other a bespectacled mouse type. I opted for Minnie Four-Eyes. " 1.chapter.p1/. - "Одна из них -- здоровенное теннисное нечто, а вторая -- из породы очкастых мышей. Я остановил свой выбор на Минни - Четырехглазке." chapter1.p1/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see verb, but this construction was transformed to the verb + pronoun + noun, it show us how can changes one part of speech into difficult construction (three parts of speech).

"I took three or four steps away from the fans, searching desperately." /21.chapter2.р24/. - Отойдя на несколько шагов в сторону от болельщиков, я принялся отчаянно высматривать Дженни. /22.chapter2.p5/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see no changes in the parts of speech.

"We were pretty much all alone out there, and it was dark and cold and late." /21.hapter2.р24/. - Почти все уже разошлись, было темно, холодно и очень поздно. /22.chapter2.р5/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see a verb, but this verb was transformed to other verb, has different translation. The meaning of the sentence loses.

"I was ashamed to look onto the ice, where my worst fears were quickly realized; Cornell scored." /21.chapter3.р28/. - Мне было стыдно смотреть на лед, где уже начали оправдываться мои самые худшие опасения: шайба влетела в наши ворота. /22.chapter3.р6/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see no changes in the parts of speech.

"I supposed no one wanted to see me or speak to me." /21.chapter3.р30/. - Я решил, что они просто не хотели видеть меня. /22.chapter3.р7/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see that a verb very rarely changes into another part of speech in the sentences. We met a lot of facts when a verb can changes into an adverb.

The adjective

"In the fall of my senior year, I got into the habit of studying at the Radcliffe library. " /21.chapter1.p1/. - "Той осенью, когда я учился на последнем курсе, у меня вошло в привычку ходить в библиотеку Рэдклиффа. " /21.chapter1.p1/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see the loss of the word Senior (the student, who graduated the University), but Russian languages is a very rich, and an author show us another translations and change this word into another part of speech, into noun.

"That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me." /21.chapter1.p1/. - " Что она была красивой. И умной. Что любила Моцарта и Баха. И "Битлз". И меня. " /21.chapter1.p1/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see no changes in the parts of speech, but translated from English into Russian languages we see some changes in the translations, but the meaning of the sentence was not lost.

"You can stuff any crazy kind of toy into it, but when the holiday's over, they shake you out." /21.chapter6.р56/. - Он набит всякими сумасшедшими игрушками. Но когда праздник заканчивается, тебя вытряхивают.../22.chapter6.р13/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see no changes in the parts of speech.

"Only the very nonspecific nature of the talk was glaringly conspicuous." /21.chapter8.р74/. - Было совершенно очевидно, что главной темы мы упорно избегаем. /22.chapter8.р18/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see the loss of the word nonspecific, but the meaning of the sentence was not lost.

"Jenny lived on a street called Hamilton Avenue, a long line of wooden houses with many children in front of them, and a few scraggly trees. " /21.chapter9.p82/. - Дженни жила на улице под названием Гамильтон авеню, представлявшей собой ряд деревянных домов, перед которыми можно было видеть множество играющих детей и несколько чахлых деревьев. /22.chapter9.р20/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see no changes in the parts of speech.

"I informed Jenny in the simplest possible terms that there would never be reconciliation and would she please let me continue my studying. " /21.chapter13.р112/. - Я проинформировал Дженни в примитивнейших выражениях, что примирение никогда не произойдет, и попросил ее любезно разрешить мне продолжать мои занятия. /22.chapter13.р29/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see the loss of the word the simplest, but the meaning of the sentence was not lost.

The numeral

"Either way I don't come first, which for some stupid reason bothers hell out of me, having grown up with the notion that I always had to be number one. " /21.chapter1.р1/- Но в любом случае я не первый, и это, неизвестно почему, чертовски угнетает меня. С самого детства я привык во всем быть первым." /21.chapter1.р1/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see no changes in the parts of speech.

"By the middle of the second period, we were beating Dartmouth 0-0. That is, Davey Johnston and I were about to perforate their nets." /21.chapter2.р17/. - В середине второго периода мы побеждали Дартмут со счетом 0:0. Иными словами, Дейви Джонстон и я уже несколько раз были готовы продырявить сетку их ворот. /22.chapter2.р3/.

"I have been away only forty-eight hours, and some bastard named Phil had crawled into bed with Jenny." /21.chapter4.р40/. - Я отсутствовал всего сорок восемь часов, и уже какой-то ублюдок по имени Фил завалился с Дженни в постель! /22.chapter4.р9/.

"His photo suggested sensitivity, intelligence and about fifty pound less than me." /21.chapter4.р40/. - Судя по фотографии, он тонко чувствовал, глубоко мыслил и весил на пятьдесят фунтов меньше меня. /22.chapter4.р9/.

"Such as perhaps the subtle suggestion that although Soldiers Field holds 45.000 people." /21.chapter12.р110/. - Ну, например, легкий намек на то, что, хотя стадион и вмещает сорок пять тысяч человек. /22.chapter12.р28/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see no changes in the parts of speech. And we think that numerals almost cannot change their parts of speech. Having analyzed this book, we have found that only numerals didn't change their parts of speech.

The pronoun

"Tonight I could think of a goal, an assist and virtually locking up my third consecutive All-Ivy." /21.chapter2.р22/. - В тот вечер я думал о забитой мной шайбе и еще об одной, заброшенной с моей подачи. /21.chapter2.р5/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see no changes in the parts of speech.

"The place was quiet, nobody knew me, and the reserve books were less in demand. "/21.chapter.р1/.- " К тому же в этом тихом местечке можно было получить любую книгу. " /21.chapter.р1/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation can see the loss of the word nobody, but the meaning of the sentence was not lost.

"There was nobody in the locker room." /chapter3.р30/. - В раздевалке было пусто. /22.chapter3.р36/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see the loss of the word nobody, but the meaning of the sentence was not lost.

"Our first physical encounter was the polar opposite of our first verbal one." /21.chapter5.р48/. - Наша первая близость была совершенно не похожа на нашу первую встречу и наш первый разговор. /22.chapter5.р11/.

"Not just to eye the cheese, although I admit that I liked to look. "21. сhapter1.р1/.- " И не только для того, чтобы поглазеть на сексапильных студенточек, хотя надо сознаться, что и для этого тоже. " 21. сhapter1.р1/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see the loss of the word I, but the meaning of the sentence did not lose. We can see this phenomenon not often, because pronouns show us who is a speaker.

The adverb

"I touched the little cross and inquired what her priest might have to say about our being in bed together." /21.chapter5.р48/. - я дотронулся до маленького крестика и спросил, как отнесся бы ее духовный отец к тому, что мы лежим в постели вместе. /22.chapter5.р11/.

"At the end of the long row of portraits, and just before one turns into the library, stands a glass case. " /21.chapter7.р62/. - Длинный ряд портретов заканчивался стеклянной витриной. /22.chapter7.р15/.

If we compare English variant and Russian translation we can see the loss of the word just before, but the meaning of the sentence was not lost.

We think that parts of speech in English language sometimes can change their meaning. We found that nouns and verbs often change their meaning. Sometimes nouns can disappear when translated from English into Russian, and the verb becomes an adverb. But numerals never change their meaning. They are staying the same.

5. The analysis of student's knowledge according to the topic " parts of speech" and the mistakes commonly made by students

We investigated 2 groups of students. The investigation was focused on mistakes made by students on the topic "parts of speech". The investigation presented the following results.

In our questionnaire students had to write the correct answer. The first question is " How many parts of speech are there in English language? " 4 students consider that in English language there are 9 parts of speech, 3 students consider that in English language there are 8 parts of speech, 2 students could give no answer to this question, and only 1 considers that in English language there are more than 10 parts of speech. There were only 10 students, but they had so different variants.

Then we gave 9 sentences which comprise the words of different parts of speech and students had to identify the parts of speech and write the correct answer. The second question is " I bought a beautiful dress at the mall. ". Nobody was mistaken. Students gave the correct answer to this question. They consider that the word " beautiful" is an adjective.

The third question is " What did she ask you to do? ". There was one mistake. 9 students gave the correct answer to this question, only one made a mistake, 9 students consider that the word "she" is a pronoun and one student thinks that the word "she" is an adverb.


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