Linguistics 105 * Words and Sounds Lecture Number Nine Major Morphological Categories
- Functions of the Major Linguistic Categories
- NUMBER: Singular, Dual, Plural
- Nouns in some languages reflect the number of objects to which they refer. English distinguishes only two numbers, singular and plural. The former is used to indicate singular objects or referents that can be neither singular nor plural (mass nouns like contemplation). Plural sometimes refers to singular objects, too, e.g. glasses, so the category is clearly grammatical and not semantic.
Some languages, Arabic or Old Church Slavonic, for example, also distinguish objects occurring in pairs by assigning dual number to the noun and a few languages distinguish a paucal, used for referring to a few objects without specifying number.
Yupik Nouns Singular Dual Plural tafsi 'belt' tafsi-k '2 belts' tafsi-t 'belts tuma 'trail' tumÏ-k '2 trails' tumÏ-t 'trails yuk 'person' yug-Ïk '2 people' yug-Ït 'people'
- GENDER (natural & grammatical): Masculine, Feminine, Neuter (Animate, Vegetable; AND AGREEMENT
Some languages discriminate two types of gender. There is natural gender, which relates to the gender of the referent and distinguishes nouns referring to males from those referring to females. There is also grammatical gender, which has nothing to do with natural gender, but is only a system of noun classes . The Indo-European languages generally combine the two, i.e. do not distinguish one from the other so that in French, for example, la table 'the table' reflects feminine gender (purely grammatical) as does la femme 'the woman' (combined natural and grammatical).
Languages which distinguish either type of gender usually also have an agreement system whereby adjectives modifying gendered nouns must have an ending which reflects the gender of the noun they modify. Verbs also often reflect the gender of their subject nouns and, sometimes, their object nouns as well. The most common genders are Masculine ('M' in the example below) and Feminine ('F' in the example below) but some languages have Neuter ('N' in the example below) as well.RUSSIAN GENDER & AGREEMENT
- DEFINITENESS: Definite, Indefinite
- Most languages also have a way of distinguishing definite and indefinite objects. A definite object is one that the speaker expects the listener to already know about either from previous discussion or from experience. If you don't expect the listener to know what you are talking about, you would say, for example, I bought an armadillo today. If the listener can see the armadillo or if you have already mentioned it to the listener, you would normally say I bought the armadillo today.
Two Ways of Indicating Definiteness French une femme 'a woman' la femme 'the woman' un cachet 'a seal, stamp' le cachet 'the seal, stamp' Bulgarian —ena 'a woman' —ena-ta 'the woman' “ovek 'a man' “ovek-Ït 'the man' selo 'a village' selo-to 'the village'
- POSSESSION: 1st, 2nd, 3rd; Singular & Plural
- The category of possession indicates that the referent possesses the noun marked with this category. The functions of this category are the same as those of verbal person, i.e. 1st, 2nd, 3rd person singular and plural. English marks possession with possessive pronouns: my/mine, your/yours, his, her/hers, its, etc. Other languages, such as Turkish, use inflectional affixes and 'conjugate' their nouns.
Turkish Possessive Paradigm Singular Plural baba-m 'my father' baba-m-¸z 'our father' baba-n 'your father' baba-n-¸z 'yall's father' baba-s¸ 'his/her father' baba-lar-¸ 'their father'
- NOUN CLASS (Grammatical gender): Declension types I, II, III, etc.
- Noun class is often closely linked to grammatical gender; in Indo-European languages, the two generally overlap. Noun class is an arbitrary set of categories and all nouns must belong to one of them. There is no semantic meaning attached to them, although there is a tendency for nouns with similar meanings or of the same gender to belong to the same class, e.g. all feminine nouns tend to belong to the same class, often the names of trees or cities will mostly belong to the same class. In Chinese and some African languages, noun class can be based on the physical shape of the referent. While there are always exceptions to these tendencies, there is no exception to the rule that all nouns must belong to some noun class.
Nouns may be derived by simply switching their class, e.g. diminutives:
Class II Class III m-lango "door" ki-lango "little door" m-lima "mountain" ki-lima "hill"
- CASE PARADIGM (DECLENSION)
- Languages require a means of marking certain grammatical relations in sentences: that of the Subject to the verb, the Direct Object to the verb, the Indirect Object to the verb, the Means to the verb. Languages possess a limited number of adverbal relations which could be indicated by lexemes but are in fact always represented by grammatical means: cases, adpositions, or both. These adverbal relations include Locative, Origin, Goal (all of which may be spatial or temporal) and several others. Turkish uses a set of basic cases (Case Paradigm).
|The Turkish Nominal Declension|
|Case||'horse'||'my horse'||'horses'||'my horses'|
|Accusative (D. O.)||at-¸||at-¸m-¸||at-lar-¸||at-lar-¸m-¸|
|Russian Nominal Declension|
|Accusative (D. 0.)||knig-u||knig-y||stol-§||stol-y|
TURKISH CASE FUNCTIONS
|Nominative Case Subject|
|Accusative Case Object|
|'Halil read the book'|
|Genitive Case Possession|
|'Halil's house is now Mehmed's'|
|Dative Case Indirect Object|
|The to/for Case: I gave meat to the man'|
|Dative Case Goal|
|The to/for Case: 'Halil came home'|
|Ablative Case Source|
|The from Case: 'I got the book from Halil'|
|Ablative Case Origin|
|The from Case: 'Mehmet came from Istanbul'|
|Locative Case Location The at-Case|
|The at Case: 'Halil stayed at home'|
|Instrumental Case (Russian)|
|The by/with Case: 'Masha wrote the letter with a pencil'|
|English Relational & Qualitative Adjecives|
|budget-ary (decision)||delicate (decision)||*the adrift boat|
|*The decision was budgetary||The decision was delicate||The boat was adrift|
|*very budget-ary||very delicate||*very adrift|
|*more budget-ary than||more delicate than||*more adrift than|
Qualitative adjectives assign a quality of some sort to the nouns they modify. The noun almost always may possess that quality to varying degrees and therefore qualitative, but not relational or defective adjectives, may be subject comparison. The category of comparison comprises two functions: the comparative degree and the superlative degree. Here is how they work in three Indo-European languages.
|The Comparative & Superlative Degrees|
|great-er (than)||the great-est|
|more beautiful (than)||the most beautiful|
|schùn-er (als)||der/die/das schùnste|
|plus belle (que)||la plus belle|
|ENGLISH||John ate the fish||John ate|
|The Russian Aspect System|
|MaŒa pisala pis'ma||MaŒa na-pisala pis'ma|
|i. 'Masha was writing letters||''Masha wrote the letters'|
|ii. 'Masha wrote letters several times'|
|MaŒa piŒet pis'ma||MaŒa na-piŒet pis'ma|
|i. 'Masha is writing letters'||'Masha will write the letters'|
|ii. 'Mash writes letters'|
|Future||I will eat, I'm gonna eat, I eat|
|Future Perfective||I will have eaten|
|Present||I eat, am eating|
|Past||I ate, have eaten|
|Past Perfective||I had eaten|
|Voice in Western IE Languages|
|LANGUAGE||Active Voice||Passive Voice|
|ENGLISH||John eats the fish||The fish is eaten by John|
|FRENCH||Jean mange le poisson||Le poisson est mangõ de Jean|
|GERMAN||Hans isst den Fisch||Der Fisch ist von Hans gegessen|
|The Moods of English|
|Subjunctive||I would eat, Were I to eat|
|The Latin Conjugations|
|amo||'I love'||amamus||'we love'|
|amas||'you love'||amatis||'yuse love'|
|amat||'s/he loves'||amant||'they love'|
|moneo||'I advise'||monemus||'we advise'|
|mones||'you advise'||monetis||'yuns advise'|
|monet||'s/he advises'||monent||'they advise|
|tego||'I cover'||tegimus||'we cover'|
|tegis||'you cover'||tegitis||'yall cover'|
|tegit||'s/he covers'||tegunt||'they cover'|
It isn't clear where participles fit into the framework of grammatical categories. Like verbs they exhibit the categories of tense, aspect, and voice but unlike verbs they modify nouns like adjectives and agree using adjective affixes. Participles are probably deverbal relational adjectives since they do not compare, undergo derivation or intensification and cannot occur in the predicate. Languages are ostensibly limited to six participle functions:
1. Cardinal: one, two, three,
four, five, six, seven, eight, nine
2. Ordinal: first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, nineth