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The grammatical categories of words and their inflections. Kuiper and Allan Chapter 2.1. Word and lexeme. Examine the following simple dictionary entry. sept , n. Clan, esp. in Ireland. Word and lexeme A lexeme is a three part symbol: form (or a number of forms) syntactic category

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The grammatical categories of words and their inflections

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The grammatical categories of words and their inflections

Kuiper and Allan Chapter 2.1


Word and lexeme

  • Examine the following simple dictionary entry.

    • sept , n. Clan, esp. in Ireland.

  • Word and lexeme

    • A lexeme is a three part symbol:

      • form (or a number of forms)

      • syntactic category

      • meaning

      • Lexemes also have non linguistic properties, usage.


  • Grammatical/syntactic categories

    • determine where in a sentence a word can fit.

    • Two ways to identify the category

      • looking at the structure of phrases and sentences

        • done in chapter 7

      • looking at the inflection of words

        • done next because it is part of looking at word structure


    Inflection & stem

    • inflected forms of TRY

      • try, tries, tried, trying, as in the following sentences: The horse must try, The horse tries, The horse tried, The horse is trying.

      • Each is a grammatical word form. The grammatical endings which create these different grammatical word forms are termed inflections.

    • stem

      • is the form of the lexeme to which they are attached.


    Morphological processes

    • The processes whereby words come to have internal structure such as a stem and inflection are morphological processes.

    • The categories for which words inflect are often called morphosyntactic categories. e.g. tense which accounts for the past tense inflection -ed in tri-ed is an example of a morphosyntactic category.

    • Properties such a present tense or past tense are therefore morphosyntactic properties.


    Grammatical categories and inflection

    • Not all grammatical categories of words inflect.

    • When they do, the inflection tells you what the category of the word is.

      • i.e. If a word can take a plural inflection, then it is a noun.

    • The converse is not always the case.

      • ie. Not all nouns inflect for plural.

      • Some grammatical categories do not inflect at all.


    Major grammatical categories

    • To begin with we will look only at four grammatical categories:

      • noun

      • adjective

      • verb

      • preposition

    • They make up the skeletal, telegraphic structure of sentences.

      • e.g. young boy sits in chair


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