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The problem of case in nouns

The category of case

Tr-ly it shows relations of the niun to other words in the sentence, it is expressed by the binary privative opposition: Common (unmarked, weak) - Genetive (marked, strong).

It is a morphological


Non-morphological approaches to the category of case

-the theory of positional cases (John Nesfield, Max Deutschbein): cases are distinguished by the position of the noun in the sentence: the Nominative case, the Vocative case, Dative, Accusative

Nom - subject, precedes the verb: rain falls

Vocative - the noun is in a direct adress, separated by commas

Acc - direct object, follows the verb (he saw a dog)

Demerit: it substitutes the functional charecteristics of the sentence part for the morphological features: the case is a morphological category, it should be marked by a gramatical signal, but here it is marked by syntactical positions, rather then the form of the noun


-the theory of analytical case forms (George Curme): case relations are expressed by prepositions or by their absense: 4 cases

- Nominative - marked by the absense of the preposition

-Accusative - it follows a verb used as a direct object, marked by the absense of the preposition

-Dative - marked by the preposition 'to'

-Instrumental 'with'

Demerit: the number of case forms are unlimited, there be a lot of cases, as there are a lot of prepositions


- the English noun has lost the category of case (Professor Vorontsova, pr Ezhkova, pr Mukhin)

the grounds:

1) the -'s inflection may be added not only to separate nouns, but to the group of words (the group genetive) - Tom and Mary's house, Henry Sweet: the man I saw yesterday's son - the inflection is added to the whole subordinate clause

2) there is a parallism of the constructions with the Common case and the Gen case, no difference in the meaning, or it is very slight

London streets (is more general)- London's streets (such as... - the meaning is more specified)

with person nouns we can use either the Gen case or an of-phrase

the face of Irene (a rheme is 'of Irene') - Irene's face (we speak about the part of the body, not its owner)

Professor Mukhin speaks of 's i flection as a particle denoting posession

The adjective. Degrees of comparison.


Traditionally the meaning - the quality, property, semantically are subdivided into qualitative and relative (express the quality indirectly, in relation to place, time etc)

English scholars (Zandvoort, Close, Leech) classified adjective on the basis of functional criterion - they speak on attributive, predicative and predicative-attributive adjectives.

Henry Sweet devides adj-s into

-adj-s proper (

-free adj-s (partially substantivized adj-s)

Otto Jesperson speaks about qualitative adj-s as qualifiers as the express qualities and quatifier as they express quantity (few, much)


Form - degrees of camparisson

Tr-ly: Means - synthetical, suppletive and analytical


- the linguistic status of analytical forms of degrees of compar is a problem

more& most are auxiliaries, some scholars reject the analytical forms of comparisson, they are free word combination, as more&most have their own lexical meaning (Jesperson, Barkhudarov.


In favor of the trad-l pov: -the meaning of the forms with more and most does not differ from synthetical forms, they stand in complimentary distribution: if we use analytical forms we cannot use sy thetical forms, their positions are mutually exclusive;

-qualitative adj-s express properties which may be present in different degrees

In favor of the theory of free word combinations: - the words more and most possess the same meaning as in other phrases: more time, most people;

- alongside the phrases with more and most there are phrases with less and least, and trad-ly the secon ones they are free word combinations


The number of degrees of comparisson is problematic: tr-ly they are 3, but professor Ilyish rejects a positive degree as a degree of comparisson, as it doesn't presuppose any comparisson, he speaks on 2 degrees of comparisson

Jespersen, Smirnitskiy also speak of 2 degrees of comparisson- a positive degree and a relative degree (exsists in 2 varieties - comparative and superl)


The linguist status of the comb-ns with less and least

tr-ly - free word comb-ns

Vorontsova, Blokh speak about 2 sets of degrees of comparisson - an ascending row (-er, -est, more amd most) and descending set (less and least).

Against less and least being auxiliaries (Rogovskaya, Haimovich)

- the distr-n of -er and less is not complementary - the distr-ns are not mutually exclusive, while the dist-ns of -er and more are mutually exclusive

-less and -er have opposite meanings


the elative construction - most is not an auxiliary, but used as an adverb in the meaning of 'very' and such phrase denotes a high degree of quality


Substantivization of adjectives - when adj-s can be substuntivized and function as nouns. Fully (have all gram categories of the noun) and partially subst-d adj (take the only characterustic of the noun - that of the definite article)

Some scholars (Smirnitskiy) don't recognize partial substan-n of the adj and treat them as the use of the adj witjout of a noun - an instance of an ellypsis (the poor people)


Adjectivization of nouns

When nouns become adjectives

Opera house - 'opera' is a noun used as adj


'the stonewall problem':

-the linguistic status of the whole unit is problematic: whether they are phrases or compound nouns, though highly unstable

Smitnitskiy, Akhmanova - comp nouns

- the linguistic status of the 1st component: whether it is a noun (Henry Sweet), an adj (Jespersen), or an attributive noun (professor Shubin)

Professor Ilyish: it is a noun in a special syntactic function


The form words in English


trad-ly they are devoid of a lex meaning, no syntactic function. They are closed systems, because no new prepositions or conjunctions an so on appear



- the number of form words is debatable

some scholars (Smirnitskiy, Sweet) consider link verbs to belong to form words as well 'he became a teacher'

Henry Sweet distinguishes full form words (he became Prime minister - it combines the full meaning of change with the gram function of the form word 'to be') and empty form words (the Earth is round - it doesn't presuppose the meaning of change, it emphasises only the form function of the verb 'to be')

He says that sometimes 'to be' may be used as a full form word with the meaning of change: 'Troy is no more' - there is the meaning of change


- homonymous parts of speech

'some' is used as indef pronoun (then it has a strong stress - 'some people think') and a form word ('give me some more bread' has a weak stress)


-Jespersen 'the philosophy of grammar'

combines adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections as one part of speech - 'particles' on the basis they are unchangeable in their form


-Charles Fries - gives 15 groups of function words - group a (includes all the words in the position of the definite article - no, some)

group b (modal words)



- the problem of the meaning of form words

trad-ly they are devoid of lex meaning, fulfill only gram function

But Ilyish considers form parts of speech to have their own lex meaning - the book is in/on the table

- whether they are words of morphemes, i.e. the variety of affixes?

trad'ly they are words

Smirnitskiy - 'I gave an apple to the boy' - the function is that of a morpheme, the same function as the case inflections in Russian

Barkhudarov speaks on double nature of form parts of speech - formally they are words, but functionally they are morphemes

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