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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 9337

Introduction to English language.

Extracts from this document...


Introduction to English Language:

Basic Concepts & Structures

  •    Contents
  • Introduction & Outline Structure                                2
  • Morphology                        3

Inflection and Derivation                        3

Word Formation                                4

  • Closed & Open Word Classes        4

Problems of Classification                        5

  • Word Classes                        6

Nouns & Articles                                6

Pronouns                                        7

Verbs                                                8

Adjectives & Adverbs                        9

Conjunctions                                        10

Prepositions                                        10

  • Syntax                                11

Noun Phrase                                        12

Adjective Phrase                                13

Adverb Phrase                               13

Prepositional Phrase                       13

Verb Phrase                                       13

  • Sentence & Clause               13

Clauses                                       14

Clause elements                               14

Subject                                       14

Object                                               14

Verb                                               15

Complement                                       15

Adverbials                                       15

Vocatives                                       15

Clause Types                                       15

  • Clause Function & Sentence Structure                               16

Coordinate Clause                               16

Subordinate Clause                               16

Adverbial Clause                                    17

Adjectival Clause                               17

  • The Sentence                       18

Sentence Types                               18

Functions of the Sentence                       18

Other Sentence Types                       19

Structure & Style in the Sentence                20

  • Introduction

We can study the structure of language in a variety of ways. For example, we can study classes of words (parts of speech), meanings of words, with or without considering changes of meaning (semantics), how words are organised in relation to each other (syntax), how words are formed (morphology), the sounds of words (phonetics) and how written forms represent these (lexicography). There is no universally accepted model for doing this, but some models use the notion of a hierarchy, and this may prove useful for you. The framework (description of structure) you will study is written to be comprehensive yet succinct.

The most basic units of meaning are simple words (e.g.: dog, yes and swim) or the elements of complex words (e.g.: un- -happi- and -ness in unhappiness). These basic elements are called morphemes, and the study of how they are combined in words is morphology.

The study of how words are organised into phrases, clauses and sentences is usually referred to as syntax.

A longer stretch of language is known as discourse, the study of its structure as discourse analysis.

This hierarchy is partly explained by the table below, from David Crystal's The Cambridge Encyclopaedia of Language.

...read more.


object of the verb.

Sometimes a noun is the indirect object of a verb: He gave the dog a bone.Bone is the direct object; it is what was given. Because it was given to the dog, dog is considered the indirect object of the action.

Nouns can also be objects of prepositions - words like to, in, for, and by - so the above sentence could read: He gave a bone to the dog. The words to the dog are called a prepositional phrase.

Some verb forms take nouns as objects: Drinking milk is good for you. In this sentence, milk is the object of the verbal form drinking. Such a combination of verb and noun is called a verbal phrase.

Nouns can show possession: The dog's collar is on the table. The collar is possessed, or owned, by the dog. All possession does not indicate ownership, however. In The building's roof is black, the roof is on, but not owned by, the building. Adding an apostrophe and an s to a noun shows possession ('): the cat's tongue, the woman's purse. If the noun is plural or already has an s, then often only an apostrophe need be added: the mothers' union (that is, a union of many mothers). The word of may also be used to show possession: the top of the house, the light of the candle, the Duke of Wellington.

  • Pronouns

There are several words that are used to replace nouns. They are called pronouns. Pro in Greek means "for" or "in place of". Some are called personal pronouns because they take the place of specific names of persons, places, or thing, as in: Has Fred arrived? Yes, he is here. Here he is the personal pronoun that replaces Fred.

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Wish you were here. Shearer to Beckham. Simmer gently. Hope you are well.Elliptical words or phrases with a structural meaning equivalent to a complete exclamation, question or command:Brilliant! Lovely day! Coming? Drink? All aboard! Drink up!
  • Structure and style in sentences

For purposes of analysing style, sentences may be described as loose, balanced or periodic.

  • Loose sentence

Here the writer or speaker states fact after fact as they occur, seemingly freely and artlessly, as in the opening of The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe:

“I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that country, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull: he got a good estate by merchandise, and leaving off his trade, lived afterwards at York, from whence he had married my mother, whose relations were named Robinson, a very good family in that country, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznoer; but by the usual corruption of words in England, we are now called, nay we call ourselves, and write our name Crusoe, and so my companions always called me. ”

  • Balanced sentence

Here the writer or speaker has a concern for symmetry - the second half of the sentence contains a similar or opposite idea to the first half. These techniques are very effective in persuasion, and are sometimes known as parallelism or antithesis. Consider this from Francis Bacon (1561-1626):

“Children sweeten labours, but they make misfortunes more bitter: they increase the cares of life, but they mitigate the remembrance of death.”

Or this from Viscount Grey of Fallodon, on the eve of the First World War:

“The lamps are going out all over Europe: we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime.”

Or, finally, this spoken by President John F. Kennedy:

“Ask not what your country can do for you: ask what you can do for your country.”

Introduction to English Language – Basic Concepts                        -  -

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