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Content and Function Words

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  • 1. Why can’tWhy can’t we draw awe draw a sharp linesharp line betweenbetween content wordscontent words andand function wordsfunction words??
  • 2. Lexical studies Resource Person:Resource Person: Sir Khalil AhmadSir Khalil Ahmad Presented by:-Presented by:- Maqsood AhmadMaqsood Ahmad ID# 090418002 (MSc AL)ID# 090418002 (MSc AL) University of Management and TechnologyUniversity of Management and Technology Johar Town. Lahore.Johar Town. Lahore.
  • 3. Criteria for Word Classes  We use a combination of three criteria for determining the word class of a word  The meaning of the word  The form or `shape' of the word  The position or environment of the word in a sentence
  • 4. What is a function word?  Little semantic content of its own  Indicates a grammatical relationship.  No identifiable meaning  closed-class word  such as preposition, conjunction or article
  • 5.  Different names for function words:  Function words  Grammatical words  Auto semantic words  Little lexical meaning  Have ambiguous meaning
  • 6.  For example:  This is a boy.  This boy is running.  Serve to express grammatical relationships with other words within a sentence  Specify the attitude or mood of the speaker
  • 7. Function words:  The following is a list considered to be function words:  Articles: the, a  Pronouns: he, him, she, her, etc.  Conjunctions: and, that, when, while, although, or  Interjections: sometimes called "filled pauses", uninflected  Modal verbs: can, must, will, should, ought, need, used
  • 8.  Auxiliary verbs: be (is, am, are), have, got, do  Particles: if, then, well, however, thus, no, not, nor, as etc.  Expletives: take the place of sentences, among other functions.  Pro-sentences: yes, okay, etc.  Prepositions: of, at, in, without, between  Pronouns: he, they, anybody, it, one  Determiners: the, a, that, my, more, much, either, neither
  • 9. More fine-grained distinction  All grammatical morphology is “functional”  Bound morphemes:  Derivation affixes: -er. -ly, -ment etc.  Inflectional affixes:  Free morphemes:
  • 10. What is a content word?  Not function word  open class word  lexical word  Uninflected stems are content “words”
  • 11. Content words  Nouns: John, room, answer  Full verbs: search, grow, hold, have  Adjectives: happy, new, large, grey  Adverbs: really, completely, very, also, enough  Numerals: one, thousand, first  Interjections: eh, ugh, phew, well  Yes/No answers: yes, no (as answers)
  • 12. Differences between content and function words  The class of function words is closed.  Do not easily add new words to this set.  English has 300 closed class words.  The class of content words is open.  New words are being added in every language
  • 13. Differences between content and function words  Content words obey the minimal word constraint but function words do not.  Little function words: I, the, a, it, of, etc…  No open class words are this little!  Function words are acquired later than content words.
  • 14. Question is: Can we draw a sharp line between content words and function words? Answer is: NO. Because, The same lexical word can function either content or function word depending on its function in an utterance.
  • 15.  For example:  "I have come to see you"  "have" is a function word (auxiliary verb)  "I have three apples"  "have" is a content word (full verb)  Example:  "One has one's principles"  "one" is a function word (pronoun)  "I have one apple"  "one" is a content word (numeral)
  • 16.  Example:  "I have no more money"  "no" is a function word (a negative particle)  "No. I am not coming"  "no" is a content word (Yes/No answer)
  • 17.  Numerals are a subclass of nouns:  like nouns, they can take determiners  the two of us,  the first of many  They can even have numerals as determiners before them  Example,  “five twos are ten”  twos is a plural noun  It has the determiner five before it.
  • 18.  Considerable overlap between the  determiner class and the  subclass of pronouns. Many words can be both:  Example:  Pronoun  This is a very boring book  That's an excellent film  Determiner  That film is excellent  This book is very boring
  • 19.  Determiners function in much the same way as nouns and they can be replaced by nouns. This is a very boring book Ivanhoe is a very boring book That's an excellent film Witness is an excellent film  On the other hand, when these words are determiners, they cannot be replaced by nouns: This book is very boring Ivanhoe book is very boring That film is excellent Witness film is excellent
  • 20. Personal pronouns (I, you, he, etc) cannot be determiners. This is also true for possessive pronouns (mine, yours, his/hers, ours, and theirs). These pronouns do have corresponding forms which are determiners:  Possessive Pronoun Determiner The white car is mine. My car is white. Yours is the blue coat. Your coat is blue. The car in the garage is his/hers. His/her car is in the garage. David's house is big but ours is bigger. Our house is bigger than David's. Theirs is the house on the left. Their house is on the left.
  • 21.  Stressed words carry the meaning or the sense behind the sentence  For this reason they are called “Content Words”  They carry the content of the sentence  Unstressed words tend to be smaller words  Have more of a grammatical significance  They help the sentence “function” syntactically  For this reason they are called “Function Words”  Sometimes “Function Words” are referred to as “Structure Words”
  • 22.  For example:  I am talking to the clever students.  You’re sitting on the desk  but you aren’t listening to me.
  • 23.  Example 2:  “ No!” screamed David angrily as he wiped away the tears from his face and ran into his bedroom.  “What’s your name and how are you today?”
  • 24. This is all from my side. Now Questions please
  • 25. Thank Have a good day you