CHAPTER IV GRAMMATICAL CLASSES OF WORDS

§ 1.The words of language, depending on various formal and semantic features, are divided into grammatically relevant sets or classes. The traditional grammatical classes of words are called "parts of speech". Since the word is distinguished not only by grammatical, but also by semantico-lexemic properties, some scholars refer to parts of speech


as "lexico-grammatical" series of words, or as "lexico-grammatical categories" [Смирницкий, (1), 33; (2), 100].

It should be noted that the term "part of speech" is purely traditional and conventional, it can't be taken as in any way defining or explanatory. This name was introduced in the grammatical teaching of Ancient Greece, where the concept of the sentence was not yet explicitly identified in distinction to the general idea of speech, and where, consequently, no strict differentiation was drawn between the word as a vocabulary unit and the word as a functional element of the sentence.

In modern linguistics, parts of speech are discriminated on the basis of the three criteria: "semantic", "formal", and "functional". The semantic criterion presupposes the evaluation of the generalised meaning, which is characteristic of all the subsets of words constituting a given part of speech. This meaning is understood as the "categorial meaning of the part of speech". The formal criterion provides for the exposition of the specific inflexional and derivational (word-building) features of all the lexemic subsets of a part of speech. The functional criterion concerns the syntactic role of words in the sentence typical of a part of speech. The said three factors of categorial characterisation of words are conventionally referred to as, respectively, "meaning", "form", and "function".

§ 2. In accord with the described criteria, words on the upper level of classification are divided into notional and functional, which reflects their division in the earlier grammatical tradition into changeable and unchangeable.

To the notional parts of speech of the English language belong the noun, the adjective, the numeral, the pronoun, the verb, the adverb.

The features of the noun within the identificational triad "meaning — form — function" are, correspondingly, the following: 1) the categorial meaning of substance ("thingness"); 2) the changeable forms of number and case; the specific suffixal forms of derivation (prefixes in English do not discriminate parts of speech as such); 3) the substantive functions in the sentence (subject, object, substantival predicative); prepositional connections; modification by an adjective.

The features of the adjective: 1) the categorial meaning of property (qualitative and relative); 2) the forms of the


degrees of comparison (for qualitative adjectives); the specific suffixal forms of derivation; 3) adjectival functions in the sentence (attribute to a noun, adjectival predicative).

The features of the numeral: 1) the categorial meaning of number (cardinal and ordinal); 2) the narrow set of simple numerals; the specific forms of composition for compound numerals; the specific suffixal forms of derivation for ordinal numerals; 3) the functions of numerical attribute and numerical substantive.

The features of the pronoun: 1) the categorial meaning of indication (deixis); 2) the narrow sets of various status with the corresponding formal properties of categorial changeability and word-building; 3) the substantival and adjectival functions for different sets.

The features of the verb: 1) the categorial meaning of process (presented in the two upper series of forms, respectively, as finite process and non-finite process); 2) the forms of the verbal categories of person, number, tense, aspect, voice, mood; the opposition of the finite and non-finite forms; 3) the function of the finite predicate for the finite verb; the mixed verbal — other than verbal functions for the non-finite verb.

The features of the adverb: 1) the categorial meaning of the secondary property, i.e. the property of process or another property; 2) the forms of the degrees of comparison for qualitative adverbs; the specific suffixal forms of derivation; 3) the functions of various adverbial modifiers.

We have surveyed the identifying properties of the notional parts of speech that unite the words of complete nominative meaning characterised by self-dependent functions in the sentence.

Contrasted against the notional parts of speech are words of incomplete nominative meaning and non-self-dependent, mediatory functions in the sentence. These are functional parts of speech.

On the principle of "generalised form" only unchangeable words are traditionally treated under the heading of functional parts of speech. As for their individual forms as such, they are simply presented by the list, since the number of these words is limited, so that they needn't be identified on any general, operational scheme.

To the basic functional series of words in English belong the article, the preposition, the conjunction, the particle, the modal word, the interjection.


The article expresses the specific limitation of the substantive functions.

The preposition expresses the dependencies and interdependences of substantive referents.

The conjunction expresses connections of phenomena.

The particle unites the functional words of specifying and limiting meaning. To this series, alongside of other specifying words, should be referred verbal postpositions as functional modifiers of verbs, etc.

The modal word, occupying in the sentence a more pronounced or less pronounced detached position, expresses the attitude of the speaker to the reflected situation and its parts. Here belong the functional words of probability (probably, perhaps, etc.), of qualitative evaluation (fortunately, unfortunately, luckily, etc.), and also of affirmation and negation.

The interjection, occupying a detached position in the sentence, is a signal of emotions.

§ 3. Each part of speech after its identification is further subdivided into subseries in accord with various particular semantico-functional and formal features of the constituent words. This subdivision is sometimes called "subcategorisation" of parts of speech.

Thus, nouns are subcategorised into proper and common, animate and inanimate, countable and uncountable, concrete and abstract, etc. Cf.:

Mary, Robinson, London, the Mississippi, Lake Erie — girl, person, city, river, lake;

man, scholar, leopard, butterfly — earth, field, rose, machine;

coin/coins, floor/floors, kind/kinds — news, growth, water, furniture;

stone, grain, mist, leaf — honesty, love, slavery, darkness.

Verbs are subcategorised into fully predicative and partially predicative, transitive and intransitive, actional and statal, factive and evaluative, etc. Cf.:

walk, sail, prepare, shine, blow — can, may, shall, be, become;

take, put, speak, listen, see, give — live, float, stay, ache, ripen, rain;


write, play, strike, boil, receive, ride — exist, sleep, rest, thrive, revel, suffer;

roll, tire, begin, ensnare, build, tremble — consider, approve, mind, desire, hate, incline.

Adjectives are subcategorised into qualitative and relative, of constant feature and temporary feature (the latter are referred to as "statives" and identified by some scholars as a separate part of speech under the heading of "category of state"), factive and evaluative, etc. Cf.:

long, red, lovely, noble, comfortable — wooden, rural, daily, subterranean, orthographical;

healthy, sickly, joyful, grievous, wry, blazing — well, ill, glad, sorry, awry, ablaze;

tall, heavy, smooth, mental, native — kind, brave, wonderful, wise, stupid.

The adverb, the numeral, the pronoun are also subject to the corresponding subcategorisations.

§ 4. We have drawn a general outline of the division of the lexicon into part of speech classes developed by modern linguists on the lines of traditional morphology.

It is known that the distribution of words between different parts of speech may to a certain extent differ with different authors. This fact gives cause to some linguists for calling in question the rational character of the part of speech classification as a whole, gives them cause for accusing it of being subjective or "prescientific" in essence. Such nihilistic criticism, however, should be rejected as utterly ungrounded.

Indeed, considering the part of speech classification on its merits, one must clearly realise that what is above all important about it is the fundamental principles of word-class identification, and not occasional enlargements or diminutions of the established groups, or re-distributions of individual words due to re-considerations of their subcategorial features. The very idea of subcategorisation as the obligatory second stage of the undertaken classification testifies to the objective nature of this kind of analysis.

For instance, prepositions and conjunctions can be combined into one united series of "connectives", since the function of both is just to connect notional components of the sentence. In this case, on the second stage of classification, the enlarged word-class of connectives will be


subdivided into two main subclasses, namely, prepositional connectives and conjunctional connectives. Likewise, the articles can be included as a subset into the more general set of particles-specifiers. As is known, nouns and adjectives, as well as numerals, are treated in due contexts of description under one common class-term "names": originally, in the Ancient Greek grammatical teaching they were not differentiated because they had the same forms of morphological change (declension). On the other hand, in various descriptions of English grammar such narrow lexemic sets as the two words yes and no, the pronominal determiners of nouns, even the one anticipating pronoun it are given a separate class-item status — though in no way challenging or distorting the functional character of the treated units.

It should be remembered that modern principles of part of speech identification have been formulated as a result of painstaking research conducted on the vast materials of numerous languages; and it is in Soviet linguistics that the three-criteria characterisation of parts of speech has been developed and applied to practice with the utmost consistency. The three celebrated names are especially notable for the elaboration of these criteria, namely, V. V. Vinogradov in connection with his study of Russian grammar, A. I. Smirnitsky and B. A. Ilyish in connection with their study of English grammar.

§ 5. Alongside of the three-criteria principle of dividing the words into grammatical (lexico-grammatical) classes modern linguistics has developed another, narrower principle of word-class identification based on syntactic featuring of words only.

The fact is, that the three-criteria principle faces a special difficulty in determining the part of speech status of such lexemes as have morphological characteristics of notional words, but are essentially distinguished from notional words by their playing the role of grammatical mediators in phrases and sentences. Here belong, for instance, modal verbs together with their equivalents — suppletive fillers, auxiliary verbs, aspective verbs, intensifying adverbs, determiner pronouns. This difficulty, consisting in the intersection of heterogeneous properties in the established word-classes, can evidently be overcome by recognising only one criterion of the three as decisive.

Worthy of note is that in the original Ancient Greek


grammatical teaching which put forward the first outline of the part of speech theory, the division of words into grammatical classes was also based on one determining criterion only, namely, on the formal-morphological featuring. It means that any given word under analysis was turned into a classified lexeme on the principle of its relation to grammatical change. In conditions of the primary acquisition of linguistic knowledge, and in connection with the study of a highly inflexional language this characteristic proved quite efficient.

Still, at the present stage of the development of linguistic science, syntactic characterisation of words that has been made possible after the exposition of their fundamental morphological properties, is far more important and universal from the point of view of the general classificational requirements.

This characterisation is more important, because it shows the distribution of words between different sets in accord with their functional destination. The role of morphology by this presentation is not underrated, rather it is further clarified from the point of view of exposing connections between the categorial composition of the word and its sentence-forming relevance.

This characterisation is more universal, because it is not specially destined for the inflexional aspect of language and hence is equally applicable to languages of various morphological types.

On the material of Russian, the principles of syntactic approach to the classification of word stock were outlined in the works of A. M. Peshkovsky. The principles of syntactic (syntactico-distributional) classification of English words were worked out by L. Bloomfield and his followers Z. Harris and especially Ch. Fries.

§ 6. The syntactico-distributional classification of words is based on the study of their combinability by means of substitution testing. The testing results in developing the standard model of four main "positions" of notional words in the English sentence: those of the noun (N), verb (V), adjective (A), adverb (D). Pronouns are included into the corresponding positional classes as their substitutes. Words standing outside the "positions" in the sentence are treated as function words of various syntactic values.


Here is how Ch. Fries presents his scheme of English word-classes [Fries].

For his materials he chooses tape-recorded spontaneous conversations comprising about 250,000 word entries (50 hours of talk). The words isolated from this corpus are tested on the three typical sentences (that are isolated from the records, too), and used as substitution test-frames:

Frame A. The concert was good (always).

Frame B. The clerk remembered the tax (suddenly).

Frame C. The team went there.

The parenthesised positions are optional from the point of view of the structural completion of sentences.

As a result of successive substitution tests on the cited "frames" the following lists of positional words ("form-words", or "parts of speech") are established:

Class 1. (A) concert, coffee, taste, container, difference, etc. (B) clerk, husband, supervisor, etc.; tax, food, coffee, etc. (C) team, husband, woman, etc.

Class 2. (A) was, seemed, became, etc. (B) remembered, wanted, saw, suggested, etc. (C) went, came, ran,... lived, worked, etc.

Class 3. (A) good, large, necessary, foreign, new, empty, etc.Class 4. (A) there, here, always, then, sometimes, etc.

(B) clearly, sufficiently, especially, repeatedly, soon, etc.

(C) there, back, out, etc.; rapidly, eagerly, confidently, etc. All these words can fill in the positions of the frames

without affecting their general structural meaning (such as "thing and its quality at a given time" — the first frame; "actor — action — thing acted upon — characteristic of the action" — the second frame; "actor — action — direction of the action" — the third frame). Repeated interchanges in the substitutions of the primarily identified positional (i.e. notional) words in different collocations determine their morphological characteristics, i.e. characteristics referring them to various subclasses of the identified lexemic classes.

Functional words (function words) are exposed in the cited process of testing as being unable to fill in the positions of the frames without destroying their structural meaning. These words form limited groups totalling 154 units.

The identified groups of functional words can be distributed among the three main sets. The words of the first set are used as specifiers of notional words. Here belong determiners of nouns, modal verbs serving as specifiers of notional


verbs, functional modifiers and intensifiers of adjectives and adverbs. The words of the second set play the role of inter-positional elements, determining the relations of notional words to one another. Here belong prepositions and conjunctions. The words of the third set refer to the sentence as a whole. Such are question-words {what, how, etc.), inducement-words (lets, please, etc.), attention-getting words, words of affirmation and negation, sentence introducers (it, there) and some others.

§ 7. Comparing the syntactico-distributional classification of words with the traditional part of speech division of words, one cannot but see the similarity of the general schemes of the two: the opposition of notional and functional words, the four absolutely cardinal classes of notional words (since numerals and pronouns have no positional functions of their own and serve as pro-nounal and pro-adjectival elements), the interpretation of functional words as syntactic mediators and their formal representation by the list.

However, under these unquestionable traits of similarity are distinctly revealed essential features of difference, the proper evaluation of which allows us to make some important generalisations about the structure of the lexemic system of language.

§ 8. One of the major truths as regards the linguistic mechanism arising from the comparison of the two classifications is the explicit and unconditional division of the lexicon into the notional and functional parts. The open character of the notional part of the lexicon and the closed character of the functional part of it (not excluding the intermediary field between the two) receives the strict status of a formal grammatical feature.

The unity of notional lexemes finds its essential demonstration in an inter-class system of derivation that can be presented as a formal four-stage series permeating the lexicon and reflected in regular phrase correlations. Cf.:

a recognising note — a notable recognition — to note recognisingly — to recognise notably; silent disapproval — disapproving silence — to disapprove silently — to silence disapprovingly; etc.

This series can symbolically be designated by the formula St (n.v.a.d.)where St represents the morphemic stem of


the series, while the small letters in parentheses stand for the derivational features of the notional word-classes (parts of speech). Each stage of the series can in principle be filled in by a number of lexemes of the same stem with possible hierarchical relations between them. The primary presentation of the series, however, may be realised in a four-unit version as follows:

strength — to strengthen — strong — strongly peace — to appease — peaceful — peacefully nation — to nationalise — national — nationally friend — to befriend — friendly — friendly, etc.

This derivational series that unites the notional word-classes can be named the "lexical paradigm of nomination". The general order of classes in the series evidently corresponds to the logic of mental perception of reality, by which a person discriminates, first, objects and their actions, then the properties of the former and the latter. Still, as the actual initial form of a particular nomination paradigm within the general paradigmatic scheme of nomination can prove a lexeme of any word-class, we are enabled to speak about the concrete "derivational perspective" of this or that series, i. e. to identify nomination paradigms with a nounal (N-V), verbal (V→), adjectival (A→), and adverbial (D→) derivational perspectives. Cf.:

N→ power — to empower — powerful — powerfully

V→to suppose —supposition — supposed — supposedly

A→ clear — clarity — to clarify — clearly

D→ out — outing — to out — outer

The nomination paradigm with the identical form of the stem for all the four stages is not represented on the whole of the lexicon; in this sense it is possible to speak of lexemes with a complete paradigm of nomination and lexemes with an incomplete paradigm of nomination. Some words may even stand apart from this paradigm, i.e. be nominatively isolated (here belong, for instance, some simple adverbs).

On the other hand, the universal character of the nomination paradigm is sustained by suppletive completion, both lexemic and phrasemic. Cf.:

an end — to end------ final — finally

good — goodness--- well — to better

evidence — evident — evidently--- to make evident

wise — wisely — wisdom--- to grow wise, etc.


The role of suppletivity within the framework of the lexical paradigm of nomination (hence, within the lexicon as a whole) is extremely important, indeed. It is this type of suppletivity, i.e. lexemic suppletivity, that serves as an essential factor of the open character of the notional lexicon of language.

§ 9. Functional words re-interpreted by syntactic approach also reveal some important traits that remained undiscovered in earlier descriptions.

The essence of their paradigmatic status in the light of syntactic interpretation consists in the fact that the lists of functional words may be regarded as paradigmatic series themselves — which, in their turn, are grammatical constituents of higher paradigmatic series on the level of phrases and especially sentences.

As a matter of fact, functional words, considered by their role in the structure of the sentence, are proved to be exposers of various syntactic categories, i.e. they render structural meanings referring to phrases and sentences in constructional forms similar to derivational (word-building) and relational (grammatical) morphemes in the composition of separate words. Cf.:

The words were obscure, but she understood the uneasiness that produced them.→ The words were obscure, weren't they? How then could she understand the uneasiness that produced them?→ Or perhaps the words were not too obscure, after all? Or, conversely, she didn't understand the uneasiness that produced them?→ But the words were obscure. How obscure they were! Still she did understand the uneasiness that produced them. Etc.

This role of functional words which are identified not by their morphemic composition, but by their semantico-syntactic features in reference to the embedding constructions, is exposed on a broad linguistic basis within the framework of the theory of paradigmatic syntax (see further).

§ 10. Pronouns considered in the light of the syntactic principles receive a special systemic status that characteristically stamps the general presentation of the structure of the lexicon as a whole.

Pronouns are traditionally recognised on the basis of indicatory (deictic) and substitutional semantic functions.


The two types of meanings form a unity, in which the deictic semantics is primary. As a matter of fact, indication is the semantic foundation of substitution.

As for the syntactic principle of the word stock division, while recognising their deictic aspect, it lays a special stress on the substitutive features of pronouns. Indeed, it is the substitutional function that immediately isolates all the heterogeneous groups of pronouns into a special set of the lexicon.

The generalising substitutional function of pronouns makes them into syntactic representatives of all the notional classes of words, so that a pronominal positional part of the sentence serves as a categorial projection of the corresponding notional subclass identified as the filler set of the position in question. It should be clearly understood that even personal pronouns of the first and second persons play the cited representative role, which is unambiguously exposed by examples with direct addresses and appositions. Cf.:

I, Little Foot, go away making noises and tramplings. Are you happy, Lil?

Included into the system of pronouns are pronominal adverbs and verb-substitutes, in due accord with their substitutional functions. Besides, notional words of broad meaning are identified as forming an intermediary layer between the pronouns and notional words proper. Broad meaning words adjoin the pronouns by their substitutional function. Cf.:

I wish at her age she'd learn to sit quiet and not do things. Flora's suggestion is making sense. I will therefore briefly set down the circumstances which led to my being connected with the affair. Etc.

As a result of these generalisations, the lexical paradigm of nomination receives a complete substitutive representation. Cf.: one, it, they... — do, make, act... — such, similar, same... — thus, so, there...

Symbolically the correlation of the nominal and pronominal paradigmatic schemes is stated as follows:

N — V — A — D — Npro — Vpro — Apro — Dpro.

§ 11. As a result of the undertaken analysis we have obtained a foundation for dividing the whole of the lexicon on the upper level of classification into three unequal parts.

The first part of the lexicon forming an open set includes


an indefinitely large number of notional words which have a complete nominative function. In accord with the said function, these words can be referred to as "names": nouns as substance names, verbs as process names, adjectives as primary property names and adverbs as secondary property names. The whole notional set is represented by the four-stage derivational paradigm of nomination.

The second part of the lexicon forming a closed set includes substitutes of names (pro-names). Here belong pronouns, and also broad-meaning notional words which constitute various marginal subsets.

The third part of the lexicon also forming a closed set includes specifiers of names. These are function-categorial words of various servo-status.

Substitutes of names (pro-names) and specifiers of names, while standing with the names in nominative correlation as elements of the lexicon, at the same time serve as connecting links between the names within the lexicon and their actual uses in the sentences of living speech.

CHAPTER V NOUN: GENERAL

§ 1. The noun as a part of speech has the categorial meaning of "substance" or "thingness". It follows from this that the noun is the main nominative part of speech, effecting nomination of the fullest value within the framework of the notional division of the lexicon.

The noun has the power, by way of nomination, to isolate different properties of substances (i.e. direct and oblique qualities, and also actions and states as processual characteristics of substantive phenomena) and present them as corresponding self-dependent substances. E.g.:

Her words were unexpectedly bitter.— We were struck bythe unexpected bitterness of her words. At that time he was down in his career, but we knew well that very soon he would be up again.— His career had its ups and downs. The cable arrived when John was preoccupied with the arrangements for the party.— The arrival of the cable interrupted his preoccupation with the arrangements for the party.

This natural and practically unlimited substantivisation

4-1499 49


force establishes the noun as the central nominative lexemic unit of language.

§ 2. The categorial functional properties of the noun are determined by its semantic properties.

The most characteristic substantive function of the noun is that of the subject in the sentence, since the referent of the subject is the person or thing immediately named. The function of the object in the sentence is also typical of the noun as the substance word. Other syntactic functions, i.e. attributive, adverbial, and even predicative, although performed by the noun with equal ease, are not immediately characteristic of its substantive quality as such. It should be noted that, while performing these non-substantive functions, the noun essentially differs from the other parts of speech used in similar sentence positions. This may be clearly shown by transformations shifting the noun from various non-subject syntactic positions into subject syntactic positions of the same general semantic value, which is impossible with other parts of speech. E.g.:

Mary is a flower-girl.→ The flower-girl (you are speaking of) is Mary. He lives in Glasgow.→ Glasgow is his place of residence. This happened three years ago.→ Three years have elapsed since it happened.

Apart from the cited sentence-part functions, the noun is characterised by some special types of combinability.

In particular, typical of the noun is the prepositional combinability with another noun, a verb, an adjective, an adverb. E.g.: an entrance to the house; to turn round the corner; red in the face; far from its destination.

The casal (possessive) combinability characterises the noun alongside of its prepositional combinability with another noun. E.g.: the speech of the President — the President's speech; the cover of the book — the book's cover.

English nouns can also easily combine with one another by sheer contact, unmediated by any special lexemic or morphemic means. In the contact group the noun in preposition plays the role of a semantic qualifier to the noun in post-position. E.g.: a cannon ball; a log cabin; a sports event; film festivals.

The lexico-grammatical status of such combinations has presented a big problem for many scholars, who were uncertain as to the linguistic heading under which to treat them:


either as one separate word, or a word-group.* In the history of linguistics the controversy about the lexico-grammatical status of the constructions in question has received the half-facetious name "The cannon ball problem".

Taking into account the results of the comprehensive analysis undertaken in this field by Soviet linguists, we may define the combination as a specific word-group with intermediary features. Crucial for this decision is the isolability test (separation shift of the qualifying noun) which is performed for the contact noun combinations by an easy, productive type of transformation. Cf.: a cannon ball→ a ball for cannon; the court regulation→ the regulation of the court; progress report →report about progress; the funds distribution →the distribution of the funds.

The corresponding compound nouns (formed from substantive stems), as a rule, cannot undergo the isolability test with an equal ease. The transformations with the nounal compounds are in fact reduced to sheer explanations of their etymological motivation. The comparatively closer connection between the stems in compound nouns is reflected by the spelling (contact or hyphenated presentation). E.g.: fireplace→place where fire is made; starlight → light coming from stars; story-teller → teller (writer, composer) of stories; theatre-goer → a person who goes to (frequents) theatres.

Contact noun attributes forming a string of several words are very characteristic of professional language. E.g.:

A number of Space Shuttle trajectory optimisation problems were simulated in the development of the algorithm, including three ascent problems and a re-entry problem (From a scientific paper on spacecraft). The accuracy of offshore tanker unloading operations is becoming more important as the cost of petroleum products increases (From a scientific paper on control systems).

§ 3. As a part of speech, the noun is also characterised by a set of formal features determining its specific status in the lexical paradigm of nomination. It has its word-building distinctions, including typical suffixes, compound stem models, conversion patterns. It discriminates the grammatical categories of gender, number, case, article determination, which will be analysed below.

* See: Смирницкий А. И. Лексикология английского языка. М., 1956, § 133; [Жигадло В. Н., Иванова И. П., Иофик Л. Л. § 255].


The cited formal features taken together are relevant for the division of nouns into several subclasses, which are identified by means of explicit classificational criteria. The most general and rigorously delimited subclasses of nouns are grouped into four oppositional pairs.

The first nounal subclass opposition differentiates proper and common nouns. The foundation of this division is "type of nomination". The second subclass opposition differentiates animate and inanimate nouns on the basis of "form of existence". The third subclass opposition differentiates human and non-human nouns on the basis of "personal quality". The fourth subclass opposition differentiates countable and uncountable nouns on the basis of "quantitative structure".

Somewhat less explicitly and rigorously realised is the division of English nouns into concrete and abstract.

The order in which the subclasses are presented is chosen by convention, not by categorially relevant features: each subclass correlation is reflected on the whole of the noun system; this means that the given set of eight subclasses cannot be structured hierarchically in any linguistically consistent sense (some sort of hierarchical relations can be observed only between animate — inanimate and human — non-human groupings). Consider the following examples: There were three Marys in our company. The cattle have been driven out into the pastures.

The noun Mary used in the first of the above sentences is at one and the same time "proper" (first subclass division), "animate" (second subclass division), "human" (third subclass division), "countable" (fourth subclass division). The noun cattle used in the second sentence is at one and the same time "common" (first subclass division), "animate" (second subclass division), "non-human" (third subclass division), "uncountable" (fourth subclass division).

The subclass differentiation of nouns constitutes a foundation for their selectional syntagmatic combinability both among themselves and with other parts of speech. In the selectional aspect of combinability, the subclass features form the corresponding selectional bases.

In particular, the inanimate selectional base of combinability can be pointed out between the noun subject and the verb predicate in the following sentence: The sandstone was crumbling. (Not: *The horse was crumbling.)

The animate selectional base is revealed between the noun


subject and the verb in the following sentence: The poor creature was laming. (Not: *The tree was laming.)

The human selectional base underlies the connection between the nouns in the following combination: John's love of music (not: *the cat's love of music).

The phenomenon of subclass selection is intensely analysed as part of current linguistic research work.

CHAPTER VI NOUN: ENDER

§ 1.There is a peculiarly regular contradiction between the presentation of gender in English by theoretical treatises and practical manuals. Whereas theoretical treatises define the gender subcategorisation of English nouns as purely lexical or "semantic", practical manuals of English grammar do invariably include the description of the English gender in their subject matter of immediate instruction.

In particular, a whole ten pages of A. I. Smirnitsky's theoretical "Morphology of English" are devoted to proving the non-existence of gender in English either in the grammatical, or even in the strictly lexico-grammatical sense [Смирницкий, (2), 139-148]. On the other hand, the well-known practical "English grammar" by M. A. Ganshina and N. M. Vasilevskaya, after denying the existence of grammatical gender in English by way of an introduction to the topic, still presents a pretty comprehensive description of the would-be non-existent gender distinctions of the English noun as a part of speech [Ganshina, Vasilevskaya, 40 ff.].

That the gender division of nouns in English is expressed not as variable forms of words, but as nounal classification (which is not in the least different from the expression of substantive gender in other languages, including Russian), admits of no argument. However, the question remains, whether this classification has any serious grammatical relevance. Closer observation of the corresponding lingual data cannot but show that the English gender does have such a relevance.

§ 2. The category of gender is expressed in English by the obligatory correlation of nouns with the personal pronouns of the third person. These serve as specific gender classifiers


of nouns, being potentially reflected on each entry of the noun in speech.

The category of gender is strictly oppositional. It is formed by two oppositions related to each other on a hierarchical basis.

One opposition functions in the whole set of nouns, dividing them into person (human) nouns and non-person (non-human) nouns. The other opposition functions in the subset of person nouns only, dividing them into masculine nouns and feminine nouns. Thus, the first, general opposition can be referred to as the upper opposition in the category of gender, while the second, partial opposition can be referred to as the lower opposition in this category.

As a result of the double oppositional correlation, a specific system of three genders arises, which is somewhat misleadingly represented by the traditional terminology: the neuter (i.e. non-person) gender, the masculine (i.e. masculine person) gender, the feminine (i.e. feminine person) gender.

The strong member of the upper opposition is the human subclass of nouns, its sememic mark being "person", or "personality". The weak member of the opposition comprises both inanimate and animate non-person nouns. Here belong such nouns as tree, mountain, love, etc.; cat, swallow, ant, etc.; society, crowd, association, etc.; bull and cow, cock and hen, horse and mare, etc.

In cases of oppositional reduction, non-person nouns and their substitute (it) are naturally used in the position of neutralisation. E.g.:

Suddenly something moved in the darkness ahead of us. Could it be a man, in this desolate place, at this time of night? The object of her maternal affection was nowhere to be found. It had disappeared, leaving the mother and nurse desperate.

The strong member of the lower opposition is the feminine subclass of person nouns, its sememic mark being "female sex". Here belong such nouns as woman, girl, mother, bride, etc. The masculine subclass of person nouns comprising such words as man, boy, father, bridegroom, etc. makes up the weak member of the opposition.

The oppositional structure of the category of gender can be shown schematically on the following diagram (see Fig. I).


GENDER

Feminine Nouns Masculine Nouns

Fig. 1

A great many person nouns in English are capable of expressing both feminine and masculine person genders by way of the pronominal correlation in question. These are referred to as nouns of the "common gender". Here belong such words as person, parent, friend, cousin, doctor, president, etc. E.g.:

The President of our Medical Society isn't going to be happy about the suggested way of cure. In general she insists on quite another kind of treatment in cases like that.

The capability of expressing both genders makes the gender distinctions in the nouns of the common gender into a variable category. On the other hand, when there is no special need to indicate the sex of the person referents of these nouns, they are used neutrally as masculine, i.e. they correlate with the masculine third person pronoun.

In the plural, all the gender distinctions are neutralised in the immediate explicit expression, though they are rendered obliquely through the correlation with the singular.

§ 3. Alongside of the demonstrated grammatical (or lexico-grammatical, for that matter) gender distinctions, English nouns can show the sex of their referents lexically, either by means of being combined with certain notional words used as sex indicators, or else by suffixal derivation. Cf.: boy-friend, girl-friend; man-producer, woman-producer; washer-man, washer-woman; landlord, landlady; bull-calf, cow-calf; cock-sparrow, hen-sparrow; he-bear, she-bear; master, mistress; actor, actress; executor, executrix; lion, lioness; sultan, sultana; etc.

One might think that this kind of the expression of sex runs contrary to the presented gender system of nouns, since the sex distinctions inherent in the cited pairs of words refer not only to human beings (persons), but also to all the other animate beings. On closer observation, however, we see that this is not at all so. In fact, the referents of such nouns as


jenny-ass, or pea-hen, or the like will in the common use quite naturally be represented as it, the same as the referents of the corresponding masculine nouns jack-ass, pea-cock, and the like. This kind of representation is different in principle from the corresponding representation of such nounal pairs as woman man, sister brother, etc.

On the other hand, when the pronominal relation of the non-person animate nouns is turned, respectively, into he and she, we can speak of a grammatical personifying transposition, very typical of English. This kind of transposition affects not only animate nouns, but also a wide range of inanimate nouns, being regulated in every-day language by cultural-historical traditions. Compare the reference of she with the names of countries, vehicles, weaker animals, etc.; the reference of he with the names of stronger animals, the names of phenomena suggesting crude strength and fierceness, etc.

§ 4. As we see, the category of gender in English is inherently semantic, i.e. meaningful in so far as it reflects the actual features of the named objects. But the semantic nature of the category does not in the least make it into "non-grammatical", which follows from the whole content of what has been said in the present work.

In Russian, German, and many other languages characterised by the gender division of nouns, the gender has purely formal features that may even "run contrary" to semantics. Suffice it to compare such Russian words as стакан он, чашкаона, блюдце оно, as well as their German correspondences das Glas es, die Tasse sie, der Teller er, etc. But this phenomenon is rather an exception than the rule in terms of grammatical categories in general.

Moreover, alongside of the "formal" gender, there exists in Russian, German and other "formal gender" languages meaningful gender, featuring, within the respective idiomatic systems, the natural sex distinctions of the noun referents.

In particular, the Russian gender differs idiomatically from the English gender in so far as it divides the nouns by the higher opposition not into "person — non-person" ("human— non human"), but into "animate —inanimate", discriminating within the former (the animate nounal set) between masculine, feminine, and a limited number of neuter nouns. Thus, the Russian category of gender essentially divides the noun into the inanimate set having no


meaningful gender, and the animate set having a meaningful gender. In distinction to this, the English category of gender is only meaningful, and as such it is represented in the nounal system as a whole.

CHAPTER VII NOUN: NUMBER

§ 1. The category of number is expressed by the opposition of the plural form of the noun to the singular form of the noun. The strong member of this binary opposition is the plural, its productive formal mark being the suffix -(e)s [-z, -s, -iz ] as presented in the forms dog dogs, clock clocks, box boxes. The productive formal mark correlates with the absence of the number suffix in the singular form of the noun. The semantic content of the unmarked form, as has been shown above, enables the grammarians to speak of the zero-suffix of the singular in English.

The other, non-productive ways of expressing the number opposition are vowel interchange in several relict forms (man men, woman women, tooth teeth, etc.), the archaic suffix -(e)n supported by phonemic interchange in a couple of other relict forms (ox oxen, child children, cow kine, brother brethren), the correlation of individual singular and plural suffixes in a limited number of borrowed nouns (formula formulae, phenomenon phenomena, alumnusalumni, etc.). In some cases the plural form of the noun is homonymous with the singular form (sheep, deer, fish, etc.).

§ 2. The semantic nature of the difference between singular and plural may present some difficulties of interpretation.

On the surface of semantic relations, the meaning of the singular will be understood as simply "one", as opposed to the meaning of the plural as "many" in the sense of "more than one". This is apparently obvious for such correlations as book books, lake lakes and the like. However, alongside of these semantically unequivocal correlations, there exist plurals and singulars that cannot be fully accounted for by the above ready-made approach. This becomes clear when we take for comparison such forms as tear (one drop falling from the eye) and tears (treacles on the cheeks as


tokens of grief or joy), potato (one item of the vegetables) and potatoes (food), paper (material) and papers (notes or documents), sky (the vault of heaven) and skies (the same sky taken as a direct or figurative background), etc. As a result of the comparison we conclude that the broader sememic mark of the plural, or "plurality" in the grammatical sense, should be described as the potentially dismembering reflection of the structure of the referent, while the sememic mark of the singular will be understood as the non-dismembering reflection of the structure of the referent, i.e. the presentation of the referent in its indivisible entireness.

It is sometimes stated that the plural form indiscriminately presents both multiplicity of separate objects ("discrete" plural, e.g. three houses) and multiplicity of units of measure for an indivisible object ("plural of measure", e.g. three hours) [Ilyish, 36 ff.]. However, the difference here lies not in the content of the plural as such, but in the quality of the objects themselves. Actually, the singulars of the respective nouns differ from one another exactly on the same lines as the plurals do {cf. one house one hour).

On the other hand, there are semantic varieties of the plural forms that differ from one another in their plural quality as such. Some distinctions of this kind were shown above. Some further distinctions may be seen in a variety of other cases. Here belong, for example, cases where the plural form expresses a definite set of objects {eyes of the face, wheels of the vehicle, etc.), various types of the referent {wines, tees, steels), intensity of the presentation of the idea {years and years, thousands upon thousands), picturesqueness {sands, waters, snows). The extreme point of this semantic scale is marked by the lexicalisation of the plural form, i.e. by its serving as a means of rendering not specificational, but purely notional difference in meaning. Cf. colours as a "flag", attentions as "wooing", pains as "effort", quarters as "abode", etc.

The scope of the semantic differences of the plural forms might pose before the observer a question whether the category of number is a variable grammatical category at all.

The answer to the question, though, doesn't leave space or any uncertainty: the category of number is one of the regular variable categories in the grammatical system of he English language. The variability of the category is simply given in its form, i.e. in the forms of the bulk of English nouns which do distinguish it by means of the described


binary paradigm. As for the differences in meaning, these arise from the interaction between the underlying oppositional sememic marks of the category and the more concrete lexical differences in the semantics of individual words.

§ 3. The most general quantitative characteristics of individual words constitute the lexico-grammatical base for dividing the nounal vocabulary as a whole into countable nouns and uncountable nouns. The constant categorial feature "quantitative structure" (see Ch. V, §3) is directly connected with the variable feature "number", since uncountable nouns are treated grammatically as either singular or plural. Namely, the singular uncountable nouns are modified by the non-discrete quantifiers much or little, and they take the finite verb in the singular, while the plural uncountable nouns take the finite verb in the plural.

The two subclasses of uncountable nouns are usually referred to, respectively, as singularia tantum (only singular) and pluralia tantum (only plural). In terms of oppositions we may say that in the formation of the two subclasses of uncountable nouns the number opposition is "constantly" (lexically) reduced either to the weak member (singularia tantum) or to the strong member (pluralia tantum).

Since the grammatical form of the uncountable nouns of the singularia tantum subclass is not excluded from the category of number, it stands to reason to speak of it as the "absolute" singular, as different from the "correlative" or "common" singular of the countable nouns. The absolute singular excludes the use of the modifying numeral one, as well as the indefinite article.

The absolute singular is characteristic of the names of abstract notions {peace, love, joy, courage, friendship, etc.), the names of the branches of professional activity {chemistry, architecture, mathematics, linguistics, etc.), the names of mass-materials {water, snow, steel, hair, etc.), the names of collective inanimate objects {foliage, fruit, furniture, machinery, etc.). Some of these words can be used in the form of the common singular with the common plural counterpart, but in this case they come to mean either different sorts of materials, or separate concrete manifestations of the qualities denoted by abstract nouns, or concrete objects exhibiting the respective qualities. Cf.:

Joy is absolutely necessary for normal human life.— It was a joy to see her among us. Helmets for motor-cycling are


nowadays made of plastics instead of steel.— Using different modifications of the described method, super-strong steels are produced for various purposes. Etc.

The lexicalising effect of the correlative number forms (both singular and plural) in such cases is evident, since the categorial component of the referential meaning in each of them is changed from uncountability to countability. Thus, the oppositional reduction is here nullified in a peculiarly lexicalising way, and the full oppositional force of the category of number is rehabilitated.

Common number with uncountable singular nouns can also be expressed by means of combining them with words showing discreteness, such as bit, piece, item, sort. Cf.:

The last two items of news were quite sensational. Now I'd like to add one more bit of information. You might as well dispense with one or two pieces of furniture in the hall.

This kind of rendering the grammatical meaning of common number with uncountable nouns is, in due situational conditions, so regular that it can be regarded as special suppletivity in the categorial system of number (see Ch. III, §4).

On the other hand, the absolute singular, by way of functional oppositional reduction, can be used with countable nouns. In such cases the nouns are taken to express either the corresponding abstract ideas, or else the meaning of some mass-material correlated with its countable referent. Cf.:

Waltz is a lovely dance. There was dead desert all around them. The refugees needed shelter. Have we got chicken for the second course?

Under this heading (namely, the first of the above two subpoints) comes also the generic use of the singular. Cf.:

Man's immortality lies in his deeds. Wild elephant in the Jungle can be very dangerous.

In the sphere of the plural, likewise, we must recognise the common plural form as the regular feature of countability, and the absolute plural form peculiar to the uncountable subclass of pluralia tantum nouns. The absolute plural, as different from the common plural, cannot directly combine with numerals, and only occasionally does it combine with discrete quantifiers (many, few, etc.).

The absolute plural is characteristic of the uncountable


nouns which denote objects consisting of two halves (trousers, scissors, tongs, spectacles, etc.), the nouns expressing some sort of collective meaning, i.e. rendering the idea of indefinite plurality, both concrete and abstract (supplies, outskirts, clothes, parings; tidings, earnings, contents, politics; police, cattle, poultry, etc.), the nouns denoting some diseases as well as some abnormal states of the body and mind (measles, rickets, mumps, creeps, hysterics, etc.). As is seen from the examples, from the point of view of number as such, the absolute plural forms can be divided into set absolute plural (objects of two halves) and non-set absolute plural (the rest).

The set plural can also be distinguished among the common plural forms, namely, with nouns denoting fixed sets of objects, such as eyes of the face, legs of the body, legs of the table, wheels of the vehicle, funnels of the steamboat, windows of the room, etc.

The necessity of expressing definite numbers in cases of uncountable pluralia tantum nouns, as well as in cases of countable nouns denoting objects in fixed sets, has brought about different suppletive combinations specific to the plural form of the noun, which exist alongside of the suppletive combinations specific to the singular form of the noun shown above. Here belong collocations with such words as pair, set, group, bunch and some others. Cf.: a pair of pincers; three pairs of bathing trunks; a few groups of police; two sets of dice; several cases of measles; etc.

The absolute plural, by way of functional oppositional reduction, can be represented in countable nouns having the form of the singular, in uncountable nouns having the form of the plural, and also in countable nouns having the form of the plural.

The first type of reduction, consisting in the use of the absolute plural with countable nouns in the singular form, concerns collective nouns, which are thereby changed into "nouns of multitude". Cf.:

The family were gathered round the table. The government are unanimous in disapproving the move of the opposition.

This form of the absolute plural may be called "multitude plural".

The second type of the described oppositional reduction, consisting in the use of the absolute plural with uncountable nouns in the plural form, concerns cases of stylistic marking


of nouns. Thus, the oppositional reduction results in expressive transposition. Cf.: the sands of the desert; the snows of the Arctic; the waters of the ocean; the fruits of the toil; etc,

This variety of the absolute plural may be called "descriptive uncountable plural".

The third type of oppositional reduction concerns common countable nouns used in repetition groups. The acquired implication is indefinitely large quantity intensely presented. The nouns in repetition groups may themselves be used either in the plural ("featured" form) or in the singular ("unfeatured" form). Cf.:

There were trees and trees all around us. I lit cigarette after cigarette.

This variety of the absolute plural may be called "repetition plural". It can be considered as a peculiar analytical form in the marginal sphere of the category of number (see Ch. III, §4).

CHAPTER VIII NOUN: CASE

§ 1. Case is the immanent morphological category of the noun manifested in the forms of noun declension and showing the relations of the nounal referent to other objects and phenomena. Thus, the case form of the noun, or contractedly its "case" (in the narrow sense of the word), is a morphological-declensional form.

This category is expressed in English by the opposition of the form in -'s [-z, -s, -iz], usually called the "possessive" case, or more traditionally, the "genitive" case (to which term we will stick in the following presentation*), to the unfeatured form of the noun, usually called the "common" case. The apostrophised -s serves to distinguish in writing the singular noun in the genitive case from the plural noun in the common case. E.g.: the man's duty, the President's decision, Max's letter; the boy's ball, the clerk's promotion, the Empress's jewels.

* The traditional term "genitive case" seems preferable on the ground that not all the meanings of the genitive case are "possessive".


The genitive of the bulk of plural nouns remains phonetically unexpressed: the few exceptions concern only some of the irregular plurals. Thereby the apostrophe as the graphic sign of the genitive acquires the force of a sort of grammatical hieroglyph. Cf.: the carpenters' tools, the mates' skates, the actresses' dresses.

Functionally, the forms of the English nouns designated as "case forms" relate to one another in an extremely peculiar way. The peculiarity is, that the common form is absolutely indefinite from the semantic point of view, whereas the genitive form in its productive uses is restricted to the functions which have a parallel expression by prepositional constructions. Thus, the common form, as appears from the presentation, is also capable of rendering the genitive semantics (namely, in contact and prepositional collocation), which makes the whole of the genitive case into a kind of subsidiary element in the grammatical system of the English noun. This feature stamps the English noun declension as something utterly different from every conceivable declension in principle. In fact, the inflexional oblique case forms as normally and imperatively expressing the immediate functional parts of the ordinary sentence in "noun-declensional" languages do not exist in English at all. Suffice it to compare a German sentence taken at random with its English rendering:

Erhebung der Anklage gegen die Witwe Capet scheint wünschenswert aus Rucksicht auf die Stimmung der Stadt Paris (L. Feuchtwanger). Eng.: (The bringing of) the accusation against the Widow Capet appears desirable, taking into consideration the mood of the City of Paris.

As we see, the five entries of nounal oblique cases in the German utterance (rendered through article inflexion), of which two are genitives, all correspond to one and the same indiscriminate common case form of nouns in the English version of the text. By way of further comparison, we may also observe the Russian translation of the same sentence with its four genitive entries: Выдвижение обвинения против вдовы Капет кажется желательным, если учесть настроение города Парижа.

Under the described circumstances of fact, there is no wonder that in the course of linguistic investigation the category of case in English has become one of the vexed problems of theoretical discussion.


§ 2. Four special views advanced at various times by different scholars should be considered as successive stages in the analysis of this problem.

The first view may be called the "theory of positional cases". This theory is directly connected with the old grammatical tradition, and its traces can be seen in many contemporary text-books for school in the English-speaking countries. Linguistic formulations of the theory, with various individual variations (the number of cases recognised, the terms used, the reasoning cited), may be found in the works of J. C. Nesfield, M. Deutschbein, M. Bryant and other scholars.

In accord with the theory of positional cases, the unchangeable forms of the noun are differentiated as different cases by virtue of the functional positions occupied by the noun in the sentence. Thus, the English noun, on the analogy of classical Latin grammar, would distinguish, besides the inflexional genitive case, also the non-inflexional, i.e. purely positional cases: nominative, vocative, dative, and accusative. The uninflexional cases of the noun are taken to be supported by the parallel inflexional cases of the personal pronouns. The






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