Grammatical categories of sets of oppositions of different grammatical forms.

The grammatical category is a unity of grammatical meaning and grammatical form.

Grammatical meaning is the meaning, common to all words of this or that part of speech. (shouldn’t be confused with lexical meaning) The gram. meaning of the noun is a substance, thingness. That is every noun denotes a thing/ Each adj. denotes a quality, a property. The gram. meaning may be more general and more specific. The meaning of a noun, that of the substance, thingness is more general, than gram. meaning of number and case. Gram. meanings are expressed through gram. forms, thus become the 2nd component through which the gram. meaning is realized.

The grammatical form is consecutive means……………………..

Are divided into synthetical, analytical and suppletive:

- Synthetical gram. forms are realized by inner morphemic composition of the word. (ex. –es,

-ing, -ed)

- Analytical gram. forms are build by a combination of at least 2 words, one of which is a gram. auxiliary verb and a notional verb. (ex. Perfect forms, continuous forms, passive v.)

- Suppletive gram. forms – when forms are derived from different roots. (ex. To be – was)

Innate and Reflexive Gram. Categories.

The innate gram. category is inherent to a part of speech and a reflexive gram. category is not inherent to a pert of speech, it can be expressed only on the service of a word. It is sign of correlation with some other part of speech.

The category of number is connected with the functional nature of a noun. It directly exposes (=shows) the number of the object, expressed by the noun.

The category of number of the verb is reflexive, it reflects the number of the noun (ex. The girl is smiling, the girls are smiling)

Innate gram. categories of the noun are: number, case.

Innate gram. categories of personal pronouns: number, person, case, gender (3rd p. sg.)

Innate gram. categories of the verb: tense, voice, mood, aspect.

Reflexive gram. categories of noun: number, person.

The gram. category is expressed through a set of gram. oppositions. The oppositional theory was originally formulated as a phonological theory by Trubetskoi. There are 3 qualitative types of oppositions: 1. privative, 2. gradual, 3. equipollent.

  1. Privative opposition is always binary, where one number is called strong (marked), which is market in its meaning & form. (because it has some distinctive feature & this dist. feature is manifested through a gram. from) & the other member is weak (unmarked either in its meaning – it doesn’t have a distinctive feature, that a strong member has, or in its form)

A strong member is usually more complicated in its meaning & form (plural) (ex. Common case – Genitive c.)

  1. Gradual opp-n is formed by a contrastive group of members, which are distinguished not by the presence/absence of a distinctive feature, but by degree of it.

(ex. Degrees of comparison of the adj.

Beautiful – more b. – the most b.)

3. Equipollent opp-n is formed by a contrastive …… in which the members are distinguished by a different positive feature.

(ex. The category of person – am / is / are)

The cat. of gender – he / she / it)

Neutralization & Transposition of opp-ns.

Neutralization of opp-ns takes place, when the weak member of a primitive opp-n is used in the meaning of a strong member.

( ex. Present tense :: future tense

Weak member strong member)

The pres. simple is used in the meaning of the future t. (Tomorrow we start for London)

Transposition – when the strong member of a privative opp-n is used in the meaning of a weak member.

(ex. You are always asking one & the same questions)

The meaning is that of repeated action, not a continuous.

The problem of gram. categories in syntax.

Syntactical gram. cat-s are not wholly recognized , but still can mention some names А.И.Смирницкий, Л. С. Баркударов, pr. Chaimovich, pr. Роговская, Leonardo Bloomfield – American scholar – they recognize gram cat.-s in syntax.

- Роговская & Chaimovich - the cat. of information (ex. Open the door! – don’t open the door!)

- the cat. of expressiveness

(ex. Come – do come)

- the cat. of presentation (ex. He is a student – Is he a student?)

- Bloomfield – speaks about the cat. of definiteness – indefiniteness

( ex. book – the book)

- Bloomfield – the cat. of completeness of the action

(ex. Write – have written)

Parts of speech

Notional structural

(have lex. meaning) (don’t have lex. mean.)

Traditionally classification of words into the parts of speech is based upon meaning (semantic criteria), form & function.

The gram. meaning is common to all words of one part of speech.

Functional criteria

Synthetic functions combinability / distribution

Of a part of specch

Demerits of a tradit. class. of words into parts of speech:

- no clear cut boardline between different parts of speech: parts of sp. (Бaркударов considers pronouns intermediate between notional (pronouns may be used in isolation, have specific meaning; but they form a closed system of words) & structural parts of sp.)

- the term “part of speech is…………………………….

(we deal with lng as an abstract system, not with speech)

Ex. whiteness – is a noun traditionally (means a quality)

Prepositions – Б.И.Ильиш puts forward some examples (The book in/on the table)

(Prepositions devoid of lex. Meaning, but they seem to have a lex. Meaning.)

- dichotomy (division of words into parts of speech) doesn’t always work.

А.И.Смирницкий was the 1st to speak about threechotomy: the 3rd group – inserts (вставки). Here by inserts we mean modal words, words of affirmation and negation, interjections, words of politeness, inserts may be expressed not only by separate words, but by combinations (See you later, How do you do).

Some scholars speak about some other criteria alongside (meaning, form and function) to divide words into parts of speech:

- W. Francis – a word-stress, derivational suffixes (beautiful – spoonful)

- Foreign scholars – Charles Fries “The structure of English” 1952(a representative of structural linguistic) – American school of descriptive lng-s, for which the starting point/basis of any lg is the distribution of elements, the co-occurrence of lng units in linear order. The starting point is purely formal. Formal exponents of the words are taken into account, the linear arrangement in speech. His classification of words is based on the study of their combinability by means of substitution testing. He used the foll. Free phrase.

Frame A: The concert was good (always).

Frame B: The clark remembered the tax (suddenly).

Frame C: The team went there.

He said, there’re 4 classes of words.

Class 1: all the words that could be substituted for the w. “concert” in frame A; the words “clark”, “tax” in the frame C, with no change of structural meaning.

Class 2 – verbs.

Class 3 – adj-s.

Class 4 – adv-s. & 15 groups of words.


Some scholars tried to increase the number of criteria used for classifying words in the parts of speech.

One more classification is by Henry Sweet:

He is a representative of prescriptive grammar (his book – ‘A new English grammar – logical & historical’). His classification was the 1st attempt to improve the traditional class. of words into parts of speech. It’s based on morphological & syntactic criteria. Parts of speech may be subdivided into:

A) declinable – he refers noun-words: pronouns, personal pronouns, nouns proper, cardinal numerals – they distinguish gram. categories; adjective-words (possessive pronouns, adj-s, participle); verbs.

B) Indeclinable (indeclinable in form) – adv, prepositions, conjunctions, interjections.

Otto Jespersen

The theory of rangs – ‘Philosophy of grammar’(his book)

Ex. Extremely hot weather.

Extremely – 3

Hot – 2

Weather – 1 (the word of the first rang)

Characterizes the words due to their ranks demerit – doesn’t work without a sentence. (ex. I see a dog. I-3, see-2, dog-1).