Word and morpheme as basic notions of Morphology.

Most word-forming morphemes are ambiguous, that is, they do not with

certainty point to any definite part of speech but leave some choice which has

to be decided by other criteria. The morpheme is one of the central notions

of grammatical theory, without which no serious attempt at grammatical

study can be made. Definition of a morpheme is not an easy matter, and it

has been attempted many times by different scholars. Without going into

particulars of the discussions that have taken place, we may briefly define

the morphemes as the smallest meaningful units into which a word form

may be divided.

For instance, if we take the form writers, it can be divided into three

morphemes: (1) writ, expressing the basic lexical meaning of the word, (2) -er-,

expressing the idea of agent performing the action indicated by the root of

the verb, (3) -s, indicating number, that is, showing that more than one

person of the type indicated is meant. Similarly the form advantageously

can be divided into three morphemes: advantage + ous + ly, each with a

special meaning of its own.

Two additional remarks are necessary here: (1) Two or more morphemes may sound the same but be basically different, that is, they may

be homonyms. Thus the -er morpheme indicating the doer of an action as in

writer has a homonym — the morpheme -er denoting the comparative

degree of adjectives and adverbs, as in longer. Which of the two

homonymous morphemes is actually there in a given case can of course only

be determined by examining the other morphemes in the word. Thus, the

morpheme -er in our first example, writer, cannot possibly be the morpheme

of the comparative degree, as the morpheme writ- to which it is joined on is

not the stem of an adjective or adverb, and so no comparative degree is to

be thought of here.

(2) There may be zero morphemes, that is, the absence of a

morpheme may indicate a certain meaning. Thus, if we compare the forms

book and books, both derived from the stem book-, we may say that while

books is characterised by the -s-morpheme as being a plural form, book is

characterised by the zero morpheme as being a singular form.

In grammar, we are of course concerned with the grammatical, or

structural, meaning of morphemes: we do not here study the meanings of root

morphemes, which are necessarily lexical, and as to derivation morphemes, i.

e. those which serve to build words, we are only interested in them in so far as

they are grammatically relevant, and that is the case if they show that the

word belongs to a certain part of speech, and if they serve to distinguish one part of

speech from another. This grammatical significance of derivation morphemes, if it

is there at all, is always combined with their lexical meaning. For instance, if

we take this pair of words: write v. and writer n., the derivative morpheme -er

has a grammatical significance, as it serves to distinguish a noun from a verb,

and it has its lexical meaning, as the lexical meaning of the noun writer is

different from that of the verb write.

53.The Numeral. Classification of Numerals.

The treatment of numerals presents some difficulties, too. The so-called

cardinal numerals (one, two) are somewhat different from the so-called ordinal

numerals (first, second).

Meaning. Numerals denote either number or place in a series.

Form. Numerals are invariable.

Function. (a) As far as phrases go, both cardinal and ordinal numerals

combine with a following noun (three rooms, third room); occasionally a numeral

follows a noun (soldiers three, George the Third). (b) In a sentence, a numeral

most usually is an attribute (three rooms, the third room), but it can also be subject,

predicative, and object: Three of them came in time; "We Are Seven" (the title of a poem by Wordsworth); I found only four.

The definition of the numerals, classification, examples and the functions of numerals in a sentence.

Numerals in English is a part of speech that defines the number or the order of items.

There are simple numerals (1-12), derivative numerals (13-19) and composite numerals (for example: 21, 67, 147).

There are cardinal and ordinalnumerals in the English language.

1) Cardinal numerals show the number of certain items. They correspond to the interrogative word “How many?”

2) Ordinal numerals are used to show the order of items. They correspond to the question starting with the word “Which?”


Such words as “a hundred”, “a thousand” and “a million” are nouns, not numerals. If these words are used in a singular form, they always go with the indefinite article “a” or the numeral “one”.

Let’s give some examples:

These words are not used with the plural ending:

Still, the following words could have the plural ending:

Thus, words “a hundred”, “a thousand” and “a million” could have the plural ending, if they are followed with the “of” preposition and a noun.

3) In a sentence numbers are usually used as attributes.

4) Numerals could have any function in a sentence if they don’t have any defined words.

54.The Noun and its lexical and grammatical features.

The noun is the central lexical unit of language. It is the main nominative

unit of speech. As any other part of speech, the noun can be characterised by three criteria: semantic (the meaning), morphological (the form and grammatical categories) and syntactical (functions, distribution).

Semantic features of the noun. The noun possesses the grammatical

meaning of thingness, substantiality. According to different principles of

classification, nouns fall into several subclasses:

1. According to the type of nomination they may be proper and


2. According to the form of existence they may be animate and

inanimate. Animate nouns in their turn fall into human and non-human.

3. According to their quantitative structure nouns can be countable and

uncountable.This set of subclasses cannot be put together into one table because of thedifferent principles of classification.Morphological features of the noun. In accordance with the morphologicalstructure of the stems all nouns can be classified into: simple, derived (stem +affix, affix + stem – thingness); compound (stem+ stem – armchair ) andcomposite (the Hague). The noun has morphological categories of number andcase. Some scholars admit the existence of the category of gender.

55.The Article. Difficulties of the study of articles.

An article is a word (or prefix or suffix) that is used with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. Articles specify grammaticaldefiniteness of the noun, in some languages extending to volume or numerical scope. The articles in the English language are the and a/an, and (in certain contexts) some. 'An' and 'a' are modern forms of the Old English 'an', which in Anglian dialects was the number 'one' (compare 'on', in Saxon dialects) and survived into Modern Scots as the number 'ane'. Both 'on' (respelled 'one' by the Normans) and 'an' survived into Modern English, with 'one' used as the number and 'an' ('a', before nouns that begin with a consonant sound) as an indefinite article.

Traditionally in English, an article is usually considered to be a type of adjective. In some languages, articles are a special part of speech, which cannot easily be combined with other parts of speech. It is also possible for articles to be part of another part of speech category such as a determiner, an English part of speech category that combines articles and demonstratives (such as 'this' and 'that').

In languages that employ articles, every common noun, with some exceptions, is expressed with a certain definiteness (e.g., definite or indefinite), just as many languages express every noun with a certain grammatical number (e.g., singular or plural). Every noun must be accompanied by the article, if any, corresponding to its definiteness, and the lack of an article (considered a zero article) itself specifies a certain definiteness. This is in contrast to other adjectives and determiners, which are typically optional. This obligatory nature of articles makes them among the most common words in many languages—in English, for example, the most frequent word is the.[1]

Articles are usually characterized as either definite or indefinite.[2] A few languages with well-developed systems of articles may distinguish additional subtypes. Within each type, languages may have various forms of each article, according to grammatical attributes such as gender, number, or case, or according to adjacent sounds.

56.The system of grammatical tenses in Modern English.

In grammar, tense is a category that expresses time reference.[1][2] Tenses are usually manifested by the use of specific forms of verbs, particularly in their conjugation patterns.

Basic tenses found in many languages include the past, present and future. Some languages have only two distinct tenses, such as past andnon-past, or future and non-future. There are also tenseless languages, like Chinese, which do not have tense at all. On the other hand, some languages make finer tense distinctions, such as remote vs. recent past, or near vs. remote future.

Tenses generally express time relative to the moment of speaking. In some contexts, however, their meaning may be relativised to a point in the past or future which is established in the discourse (the moment being spoken about). This is called relative (as opposed to absolute) tense. Some languages have different verb forms or constructions which manifest relative tense, such as pluperfect ("past-in-the-past") and "future-in-the-past".

Expressions of tense are often closely connected with expressions of the category of aspect; sometimes what are traditionally called tenses (in languages such as Latin) may in modern analysis be regarded as combinations of tense with aspect. Verbs are also often conjugated formood, and since in many cases the three categories are not manifested separately, some languages may be described in terms of a combined tense–aspect–mood (TAM) system.

English has only two morphological tenses: the present, as in he goes, and the past, as in he went. The present tense sometimes references the future (as in the bus leavestomorrow), and thus may also be called the non-past (or present–future) tense. (It also sometimes references the past, however, in what is called the historical present.)

Constructions with the modal auxiliary verbs will and shall also frequently reference the future (although they have other uses as well); these are often described as the Englishfuture tense. Less commonly, forms with the auxiliaries would and (rarely) should are described as a relative tense, the future-in-the-past. (The same forms are used for theconditional mood, and for various other meanings.)

The present and past are distinguished by verb form, using either ablaut (sing(s) ~ sang) or suffix (walk(s) ~ walked). For details, see English verbs.

English also has continuous (progressive) aspect and perfect aspect; these together produce four aspectual types: simple, continuous, perfect, and perfect continuous. Each of these can combine with the tenses to produce a large set of different constructions, mostly involving one or more auxiliary verbs together with a participle or infinitive:

Morphological With auxiliaries
Present (non-past) Past Future Future-in-the-past
Aspects Simple go(es) went will go would go
Continuous am/is/are going was/were going will be going would be going
Perfect have/has gone had gone will have gone would have gone
Perfect continuous have/has been going had been going will have been going would have been going

In some contexts, particularly in English language teaching, the tense–aspect combinations in the above table may be referred to simply as tenses.[11] For details of the uses of these constructions, as well as additional verb forms representing different grammatical moods, see Uses of English verb forms.

57. The aim of practical and theoretical grammar.

Grammar may be practical and theoretical. The aim of practical grammar is the description of grammar rules that are necessary to understand and formulate sentences. The aim of theoretical grammar is to offer explanation for these rules. Generally speaking, theoretical grammar deals with the language as a functional system. Theoretical grammar serves to describe the grammatical structure of the English language as a system where all parts are interconnected. The difference between theoretical and practical grammar lies in the fact that practical grammar prescribes certain rules of usage and teaches to speak (or write) correctly whereas theoretical grammar presents facts of language, while analyzing them, and gives no prescriptions. Unlike school grammar, theoretical grammar does not always produce a ready-made decision. In language there are a number of phenomena interpreted differently by different linguists. To a great extent, these differences are due to the fact that there exist various directions in linguistics, each having its own method of analysis and, therefore, its own approach to the matter. But sometimes these differences arise because some facts of language are difficult to analyze, and in this case the only thing to offer is a possible way to solve the problem, instead of giving a final solution. It is due to this circumstance that there are different theories of the same language phenomenon, which is not the case with practical grammar.