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By Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy

What precisely are phrases? Are they the issues that get indexed in dictionaries, or are they the fundamental devices of sentence constitution? Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy explores the consequences of those diverse methods to phrases in English. He explains many of the ways that phrases are relating to each other, and exhibits how the historical past of the English language has affected be aware constitution. issues contain: phrases, sentences and dictionaries; a be aware and its elements (roots and affixes); a notice and its kinds (inflection); a notice and its kinfolk (derivation); compound phrases; observe constitution; productiveness; and the old assets of English be aware formation.

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In some languages, a lexeme may have hundreds or even thousands of distinct forms. On the other hand, English makes more use of inflection than languages such as Afrikaans, Vietnamese and Chinese, which have little or none. Why languages should differ so enormously in this respect is a fascinating question, but one that we cannot delve into here. Exercises 1. In each of the following groups of word forms, identify those that are (or can be, according to context) forms of the same lexeme: (a) woman, woman’s, women, womanly, girl (b) greenish, greener, green, greens (c) written, wrote, writer, rewrites, writing.

It does so in the sense that it imposes the choice. In talking about a series of weekly piano concerts, we are free to be vague about the number of pianists who perform – except that we are forced by English grammar to be precise about whether there is one (that pianist) or more than one (these pianists). Likewise, if I see a cat or some cats in the garden, I cannot report what I have seen without making it clear whether there was just one cat, as in (16) or more than one cat, as in (17). A formulation that is deliberately vague on that issue, such as (18), is unacceptable: (16) I saw a cat in the garden.

Again, however, this ceases to be surprising if the Latin-derived prefixes and roots that we have been considering have so extensively lost any clearly identifiable meanings as to enforce lexical listing for all words formed with them. 6 Conclusion: ways of classifying word-parts It was argued in Chapter 2 that many words are divisible into parts. Chapter 3 has been concerned with classifying these parts, and discussing further their relation to word-meanings. We have introduced the following distinctions: • morphemes and allomorphs, bound and free • roots, affixes and combining forms • prefixes and suffixes.

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