Chapter 2
Words and word classes
What’s in this chapter?
• Please look at the list of topics on page 12. How
many topics are in this chapter?
• Well, really just 2….the introduction introduces
the 2 and then they are covered in detail.
– 1. Lexical word classes
– 2. Function word classes
• Now, flip through the chapter to see the headings
and to get a sense of how much space & time &
information is associated with each of the major
chunks.
Section Reviews
• Notice that reviews are given at the end
of each chapter chunk.
– Page 20
– Page 25-26
– Page 36
• I like to read those before reading the
sections…to get a feel for what’s in the
sections.
Terminology
• They pack a lot into the introduction.
• Here are the most important things
to understand right now before
reading the rest of the chapter:
– Morpheme and morphology
– Syntax
– Clause vs. Sentence
Morphemes &
Morphology
• Morpheme is the technical name for the
bits and pieces that make up words.
–
–
–
–
Stems
Prefixes
Suffixes
Not individual sounds or letters but the small
meaningful pieces that are combined to make
words
• Morphology is the study of morphemes.
Syntax
• Syntax is the technical name for studying
how words are combined into larger units.
– Phrases
– Clauses
– Sentences
• Semantics is the study of meaning.
• Grammar is usually organized into
morphology, syntax, and semantics.
The layers of language
• Look at the chart on page 13. They want us to
understand that language can be studied in terms
of various inter-related levels.
• The top: discourse. Whole pieces of
communication…a conversation, an email, a novel…..
• At the bottom: sounds and spelling.
• In the middle:
–
–
–
–
Clauses
Phrases
Words
Morphemes
What you really need to
understand about words right now
• It’s easier to give an example of what we mean when we talk
about words, than to give an abstract definition.
• Words are often in related groups of words. These groups
are called “lexemes”: write, wrote, written, writing, writer,
writers
CouldaType-Token
you
say that
Ratio
again
in two
English?
• Type and What?
token: It’s
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that
these
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much
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it difficult
for some
to
This measurement
is aSure.
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Or
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try.
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wayus
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remember
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it’sa worth
vocabulary
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reading
passage.
passagelearning
has 100 running
because
they
give
teachers
important
information.
words
Vocabulary
and only
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a 20
passage
different
can be
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dividing
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the
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– Athen
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athe
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theof
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totalratio
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xis100
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has
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a423
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passage
total
words
has
and
100
those
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include
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and
50 different
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words
(with
(more
some words
We
can
count
the
words
in
a different
text
in 2 different
ways.
different
repeated
words
or number
more
than
times),
the
first
the
passage),
type-token
the
ratio
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is 233/423
ratiox is
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• 2
The
of
types:
only
the single
words
without
counting
the=
Ahas
textanother
will generally
have
many
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types
than
50/100
55.
If the
= .repetitions.
5same
x 100
book
= 50.
reading
with
423
words
and
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tokens.
different
The bigger
words,
thethe
type-token
type-token
ratio
ratio
theismore
47. Which
different
passage
wordswill
in be
a
• The number of tokens: all of the words including the
passage….and
easier
to read?
theHey!
moreThe
challenging
one
with
the
more
passage
repetition
a(and
reader.
the lower trepetitions…counting
the
individual
runningfor
words
t ratio).
In academic
This ratio
writing,
is alsohistory
sometimes
textbooks
calledhave
“lexical
higher
density”….how
type-token
ratios with
dense
than words
accounting
is a passage?
textbooks;
How
accounting
many different
re-cycles
words
vocabulary;
will the
history have
reader
keepstousing
knownew
to understand
words for new
a passage?
events and
Thepeople.
more repetition,
the easier the reading.
Major word families
• Ok. What are they? Try to say them
before you click. The major families of
words covered in this chapter are…
– 1. Lexical Words
– 2. Function Words
– 3. Inserts
• Ok. What does that mean?
Lexical verb?
•
•
On the bottom of page 15, they use the term lexical verb. What’s that?
They want to make a couple of distinctions that we can see in these 2
examples:
–
–
1. I speak English.
2. He will learn Arabic.
–
Speak is the word with core meaning while will is the auxiliary verb that adds
meaning to the core. We need to have a way to talk about the difference
between speak and will. So, speak is a lexical verb and will is a function word and
an verb auxiliary.
•
speak vs. will
•
To speak & to learn vs. speak & will learn: Unfortunately, English grammar
is stuck with the term verb….which has 2 meanings. It can refer to the
lexical verb and its family of related words (spoke, spoken, speaking,
speakers). It can also refer to the use of the word in a sentence. So,
generally, linguists talk about
–
–
Verb: for the lexical word
Verb phrase: for the use in a sentence
Open class? Closed class?
• Words come and go in all languages.
• Words like nouns and verbs are huge categories
that change constantly. These categories that
change easily are class “open classes.”
• Words like prepositions and auxiliary words are
smaller in number and they tend to stay around a
long time….although changes can occur over very
long periods of time. These are called “closed
classes.”
Function words
• Sometimes called “grammatical words.”
• They tie things together.
• They include
–
–
–
–
Prepositions
Coordinators: and, or but, nor
Auxiliary verbs
Pronouns
Inserts
• Those of you studying conversation need
to pay special attention to this
category…one that is seldom considered in
ESL/EFL/ESOL materials or curricula.
• Inserts….those words and sounds that we
add to our speech for various
conversational purposes
–
–
–
–
Uhhhhh.
Ummmmm
Well….
You know….
Word formation
• You need to be able to use these 3 terms:
– Inflection: inflect, inflected
– Derivation: derived, derive
– Compounding: compound, compounds,
compounded
• The terms and the concepts they
represent are important…they are ways of
talking about the 2 major words that
words are formed in English.
Inflection vs. Derivation
• Inflection
– Suffixes added to a
word to add
grammatical
information
– Verb Tense
– Noun plural
– Adjective & adverb
comparative &
superlative
• Derivation
– Prefixes and suffixes
added to the word stem
– Changes of meaning to
make new words:
• Un-happy
• Ex-president
– Changes in word class
• Happy => happiness
Compounding &
Grammatical Tests
• Compounds are words formed by combining 2 words into a
new unit.
• They do something that we need to notice on page 18 when
they talk about how to tell if a set of words is a compound
or not. They say: “How are we to know whether two words
are genuinely a compound and not simply a sequence of two
words? Three tests help to show this:”
– Then, they give 3 possible situations and relationships between
2 words. If a set of words involves all three of these, the
combination is a compound.
– This is what is called a “grammatical test.” The linguist uses a
series of possibilities to “test” a word or phrase or clause or
sentence to evaluate the grammar.
– We’ll notice other grammatical tests as we go through the
semester.
Lexical & Function Words
& Inserts in Context
• Section 2.2.6 is valuable for two reasons:
• Reason #1: The examples to show lexical and
function words in context.
• Reason #2: The discourse information on the
bottom of page 19. Look at that really closely!
Answer these questions:
– 1. Which sample has more lexical words? Why?
– 2. Which sample has more inserts? Why?
– 3. How do conversation, news, academic writing, and
fiction compare in the use of lexical words?
– 4. Why does any of that matter to us as language
teachers?!
Survey of lexical words
• Focus on the examples.
• Don’t bog down on the explanations.
• Just be aware as you read that they are going to
talk about the big lexical classes: nouns, verbs,
adjectives, adverbs
• Just be aware that they give information on
morphology, syntax, meaning for each of those big
classes.
• Read through, but don’t bog down. If you find
anything that really puzzles or frustrates you, get
in touch with let and let’s talk about it.
Figure 2.1
• Why are there
more adverbs in
conversation and
fiction than in
news and academic
writing?
“Adverbs…are linked to verbs. They typically
Describe circumstances relating to actions, processes,
and states that are denoted by verbs. So conversation
and fiction writing, which have the highest density of
Verbs, also have the highest density of adverbs.” p. 23
Function words
•
•
Notice that they expand the list here to be more complete than in
their first definition.
Function words =
– Determiners (a, an, the, each, this, that, etc.)
– Pronouns
– Auxiliary verbs (modals, be, have)
– Prepositions
Read all of the examples to give an idea of the kinds
– Adverbial
Of particles
words they include in these categories.
– Coordinators
– Subordinators
Email
me if you get confused or puzzled by their explanations.
– Numerals
– And other special little groups
•
•
•
•
Wh-words
Existential there
Not
Infinitive marker I
2 kinds of auxiliary verbs
• Primary
– Be: in progressive & passive verb phrases
• I am teaching grammar.
• Grammar is studied around the world.
– Have: in perfect verb phrases
• I have studied grammar for many years.
– Do: in questions and negatives in simple present tense
and simple past tense
• Do you love grammar?
• She doesn’t seem to love grammar as much as I do.
• Modal
More in my lecture…
• In the lecture, I have more
information about
– Collocations and lexical bundles
– Figures 2.2 and 2.3
• Remember, I look forward to having
questions from you about the
grammar!
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Chapter 2