Words and their parts: Lexicon and morphology<br />Source: Finegan, E. 2004. Language: its Structure and Use.<br />What do you think?<br /><ul><li>Suppose you have a 3 year old daughter and you hear her say:
How would you describe her pattern with verbs?</li></li></ul><li>2. If you were to guess the “top ten” words used in printed English, what would they be?<br />Answer:<br />(1) the, (2) of, (3) and, (4) a, (5) to, (6) in, (7) is, (8) you, (9) that, (10) it.<br />3. You have agreed to make a list of foods that volunteers could contribute to a fundraiser for a college on an international tour. All items must bear a name that English has borrowed from another language. Could you name a total of ten foods, dishes, or drinks from the five different languages?<br />
What does it mean to know a word?<br />Using a word requires four kinds of information:<br />1. its sound (phonology)<br />2. its meaning (semantics)<br />3. how the words are related,such as the plural (for nouns) and past tense (for verbs) in other words, how these are formed (Morphological information)<br />4. Its category (e.g. noun or verb) and how it is used in the sentence (syntax)<br />
How to identify lexical categories (parts of speech)<br />1. One way of identifying a lexical category is by focusing on closely related forms: fork/forks, book/books, truck/trucks. <br />tall/bright/old.<br />It would be unacceptable to add an –s to adjectives in English, but rather the final –er, -est.<br />2. Another way of identifying a category is to see how these words occur together in phrases.<br />
For example: nouns can be preceded by “the” or “a/an”, a fork/the fork and plural forms with –s can be preceded by the.<br />Basic adjectives such as old can be preceded by very or too, as in too bright.<br />Basic verbs can be preceded by can/will, willlaugh.<br />See the following patterns:<br />
Verbs<br />English-speaking children implicitly know that verbs have a set of related forms (talk, talks, talked, talking) and that the basic verb form-the one without an ending-can be preceded by can or will. <br />Subcategories <br />Sarah told the joke<br />*Sarah laughed the joke<br />*sarah told at the joke<br />Sarah laughed at the joke<br />*Sarah told<br />Sarah laugheded.<br />
The verbs ‘told’ and ‘laughed’ don’t permit the same structures to occur after them.<br />
Nouns<br />Nouns share certain properties of form. They have a shared set of endings. For instance, forks (noun+number). Number is a term used to cover singular and plural. In English nearly all nouns have distinct singular and plural forms.<br />Regular: cat/cats<br />Irregular: tooth/teeth<br />Exceptions: sheep, deer are both sing/plur.<br />
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