• The parts of speech
- Criteria for class membership
- Lexical: noun, verb, adjective, adverb
- Grammatical: pronoun, auxiliary,
preposition, conjunction, determiner
Criteria for class membership
• Sometimes the semantic differences between
parts of speech are not clear.
They have a funny walk.
They walk funny.
• We will use structural factors to decide what a
word is: morphological and syntactic behaviour.
Lexical and grammatical classes
• Lexical categories are sometimes referred to as
categories, and the grammatical (or
• In general, the major categories are
classes and the minor categories are
• Open word classes are ones to which new words
can easily be added; closed ones not.
• In other languages, the inflectional morphology of nouns
includes markings for number, gender and case.
• In English, number is the only consistent inflection.
Gender is not marked, and case is rarely marked.
singular = unmarked (mat, match, city, hero, quiz)
plural = add suffix –
(mats, matches, cities,
Nouns: irregular plurals
• Irregular plurals:
– uninflected: deer, sheep, fish
– vowel change: feet, mice
– suffix –
: oxen, children
– from foreign languages, mainly Latin and Greek:
indices (L), corpora (L), crises (G),
• The nominative and accusative cases are
• We will consider the possessive –
to be a case
marking, unlike the textbook. This possessive
population’ = ‘the population
• The ability to take –
is a telltale sign that a
word is a noun: aspiration’s, the cows’, U of T’s