The traditional term “parts of speech” was developed in Ancient Greek linguistics and reflects the fact that at that time there was no distinction between language as a system and speech, between the word as a part of an utterance and the word as a part Of lexis. The term “parts Of speech” is accepted by modern linguistics as a conventional, or “non-explanatory” term (“name-term’; to denoted lexical-grammatical classes Of words correlating With each Other in the general system of language on the basis of their grammatically relevant properties.
There are three types of grammatically relevant properties f words that differentiate classes of words called “parts of speech”: semantic, formal antinational properties. They traditionally make the criteria for the classification of parts of speech. The semantic criterion refers to the generalized semantic properties common to the whole class of words, e. G. : the generalized (or, categorical) meaning of nouns is ‘thinness”, of verbs process, to adjectives substantive property, to adverbs non-substantive property.
The formal criterion embraces the formal features (word-building and word changing) that are characteristic for a particular part of speech, e. . : the noun is characterized by a specific set afford-building affixes, CB. : property, bitterness, worker, etc. , and is changed according to the categories of number, case and article determination: boy-boys, boy – boy’s, boy – the boy -?a boy, etc.
Commutability is also a relevant formal feature for each particular part of speech; for example, verbs can be modified by adverbs, While nouns cannot (except in specific contexts). The functional criterion is based on the functions that the words Of a particular class fulfill in the sentence, e. G. : the most characteristic unction’s of the noun are those of a subject and an object; the only function of the finite form Of the verb is that Of a predicate; the adjective functions in most contexts as an attribute; the adverb as an adverbial modifier.
Classifications in general may be based either on one criterion (such classifications are called homogeneous, or internationally), or on a combination of several criteria (such classifications are called heterogeneous, representational). The traditional classification of parts of speech is plenipotentiary (heterogeneous); it is based on the combination of all the three arterial mentioned above: ‘meaning – form – donation’. Traditionally, all parts of speech are subdivided on the upper level of classification into notional words and functional ‘Words.
Notional words, which traditionally include nylons, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns and numerals, have complete nominative meanings, are in most cases changeable and fulfill self-dependent syntactic functions in the sentence. The noun, for example, as a part of speech, is traditionally characterized by I) the categorical meaning of substance (“thinness”), 2) a specific set of word-building affixes, the grammatical disgorges Of number, case and article determination, prepositional connections and modification by an adjective, and 3) the substantive functions objects, Object or predicative in the sentence.
In the same way, all the Other notional parts of speech are described. Functional words, which include conjunctions, prepositions, articles, interjections, particles, and modal words, have incomplete nominative value, are unchangeable and fulfill mediatory, constructional syntactic functions. The employment of the three criteria combined, in present. Day mainstream linguistics, was developed mainly by V. V. Vindicator, L. V. Scherzo, A. L. Similarity, B. A. Lily’s and others.
There are certain limitations and controversial points in the traditional classification of parts of speech, which make some linguists doubt its scientific credibility. First of all, the three criteria turn out to he relevant only for the subdivision of notional words. As for functional words – prepositions, conjunctions, particles, interjections, etc. – these classes of words do not distinguish either common semantic, or formal, or functional properties, they are rather characterized by the absence of all three criteria in any generalized form.
Second, the status of pronouns and the numerals, which in the traditional classification are listed as notional, is also questionable, since they do not have any syntactic functions of their own, but rather different groups inside these two classes resemble in their formal and functional properties different notional parts of speech: egg_, cardinal numerals function as substantives, while ordinal numerals function as adjectives; the same can be said about personal pronouns and possessive pronouns, Third, it is very difficult to draw rigorous borderlines between different classes of words, cause there are always phenomena that are indistinguishable in their status. E. G. , non-finite forms of verbs, such as the infinitive, the gerund, participles and II are actually verbal forms, but lack some of the characteristics Of the verb: they have no person or number forms, no tense or mood forms, and what is even more important, they never perform the characteristic verbal function, that off predicate. Equally dubious is the part-of-speech characterization of auxiliary verbs, intensifying adverbs, conjunctive adverbs and pronouns, and of many other groups of words which have the morphological characteristics f notional words, but play mediatory constructional functions in a sentence, like functional words.
There are even words that defy any classification at all; for example, many linguists doubt whether the words of agreement and disagreement, yes and no, can occupy any position in the classification of parts of speech. These, and a number of other problems, made linguists search tort alternative ways to classify lexical units. Some of them thought that the contradictions could be settled if parts of speech were classified tolling what was seen as a strictly scientific approach, a unified basis of subdivision; in other words, f a homogeneous, or internationally classification of parts of speech were undertaken. It must be noted that the idea was not entirely new.
The first classification of parts of speech was homogeneous: in ancient Greek grammar the words were subdivided mainly on the basis of their formal properties into changeable and unchangeable; nouns, adjectives and numerals were treated jointly as a big class of “names” because they shared the same morphological forms. This classical linguistic tradition was followed by the first English grammars: Henry Sweet divided all the words in English into “designable” and Wineglasses”. But the approach which worked well for the description of highly inflectional languages turned out to be less efficient for the description Of Other languages. The syntactic approach, which establishes the word classes in accord with their functional characteristics, is more universal and applicable to languages of different morphological types.
The principles of a internationally syntactic- distributional classification of words in English were developed by the representatives of American Descriptive Linguistics, L. Bloomfield, Z, Harris and Chi. Fries. Chi. Fries selected the most widely used grammatical constructions and used hem as substitution frames: the frames were parsed into parts, or positions, each of them got a separate number, and then Chi. Fries conducted a series of substitution tests to find out what words can be used in each of the positions, Some of the frames were as follows: The concert avgas good (always). The clerk remembered the tax (suddenly The team went there. All the words that can be used in place of the article made one group, the ones that could be used instead of the word”clerk” another, etc.
The results of his experiments were surprisingly similar to the traditional classification of parts of speech: four main positions ere distinguished in the sentences; the words which can be used in these positions without affecting the meaning of the structures were united in four big classes Of words, and generally speaking coincide with the four major notional parts of speech in the traditional classification: nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs. Besides these “positional words” (“form-words’), Chi. Fries distinguished 15 limited groups of words, which cannot fill in the positions in the frames. These “function words” are practically the same as the functional words in the traditional classification. The syntactic-distributional classification of words distinguished on a consistently syntactic basis testifies to the objective nature of the classification of parts of speech.
More than that, in some respects the results of this approach turn out to be even more confusing than the allegedly “non-scientific” traditional classification: for example, Group A, embracing words that can substitute for the article “the” in the above given traces, includes words as diverse as “the, no, your, their, both, few, much, John’s, twenty’, or one word might he found in different distributional classes. Thus, the syntactic-distributional classification Anton replace the traditional classification of parts of speech, but the major features of different classes affords revealed in syntactic-distributional classification can be used as an important supplement to traditional classification.
The combination of syntactic-distributional and traditional classifications strongly suggests the unconditional subdivision of the lexicon into two big supra-classes: notional and functional words. The major formal grammatical feature of this subdivision is their open or closed character. The notional parts of speech are open classes Of words, With established basic semantic, formal and notional characteristics. There are only four notional classes of words, which correlate With the four main syntactic positions in the sentence: nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. They are interconnected by the four stages of the lexical paradigmatic series of derivation, e. G. : to decide – decision – decisive – decisively. The functional words are closed classes of words: they cannot be further enlarged and are given by lists.
The closed character of the functional words is determined by their role in the structure of the sentence: the functional words expose various constructional functions of syntactic units, and this makes them loser to grammatical rather than to lexical means of the language. As for pronouns and the numerals, according to the functional approach they tort a separate supra-class of substitution parts to speech, since they have no function of their own in the sentence, but substitute for notional parts of speech and perform their characteristic functions. The difference between the tour notional parts of speech and substitution parts of speech is also supported by the fact that the latter are closed groups of words like functional parts of speech.