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ENGL 321 UBC 07-08

UBC Spring term 07-08 ENGL 321 Traditional English Grammar MWF 1:00-2:00


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natural gender
A means of denoting the biological sex of the entity named, male, female, or sexless. See grammatical gender.
A tense inflection of the verb used to express the non-past (e.g., present habits and states, future events). See tense.
A verbal periphrastic form consisting of auxiliary have (and in earlier English be) and the past participle used to express resultative past actions, for example, have spoken.
linguistic sign
Normally a symbolic sign (i.e., a word) that bears an arbitrary or conventional relationship to the thing it represents. See arbitrary. See sign.
standard language
A single form of a language, written and/or spoken, to be used throughout a country; the basis of the standard is typically a geographically central and linguistically compromise dialect. The standard becomes a prestige dialect and is artificially maintained through class and education.
See degree.
A designation of the participants in a speech situation: the speaker (1st person), the addressee (2nd person), and the person or thing spoken about (3rd person).
A tense inflection of the verb used to express past states and events. See tense.
social dialect
A dialect which is shaped by factors such as the socio-economic class, gender, age, education, and occupation of the speakers.
A pattern comprising all of the inflected forms of a particular word.
objective case
In Modern English, the combination of the Old English dative and accusative cases.
Type of inflection nominal element (q.v.) which varies according to person, number, gender, and case.
See grammatical gender and natural gender.
periphrasis (pl. periphrases)
A construction employing function words in place of inflectional endings to express grammatical meaning, as in the use of the of-genitive (of the dog) instead of the 's-genitive (the dog's).
personal ending
Inflectional ending on the verb indicating person and number, as in sings (where the -s ending is 3rd person singular)
definite article
A noun determiner with anaphoric function, "pointing" or referring backwards in the discourse to something which has already been mentioned, as in Yesterday I read a book. The book was entertaining. In English, the definite article derives from the demonstrative that.
The forms of language that are actually used or that are prescribed for correct usage, referred to as "Custom" by the 18th century grammarians.
productive form
A regular or analogical inflection which occurs on the majority of forms existing in the language and is added to any new forms entering the language, for example, the productive -s plural (cows) as opposed to the non-productive -en plural (oxen).
deixis (deictic)
An indexical sign which refers to its object via proximity. Deictic forms point out things in relation to the speaker, as in now 'the time of speaking' vs. then 'before or after the time of speaking'.
descriptive grammar
A grammar that explains or analyzes how language works and how it is used, without regulating usage. This approach is the basis of modern linguistics.
Noun determiners or pronouns with deictic meaning, one pointing to a referent close to the speaker (this/these) and one pointing to a referent far from the speaker (that/those).
A verb functioning as a noun, e.g., Swimming is healthful.
That which receives the action of the verb (direct object) or is the goal of the action (indirect object), as in I read the book to her.
The case of the possessor as well as a number of uses unrelated to possession, such as the boat's hull.
See degree.
The vocabulary of a language, its inventory of words either native or borrowed.
indefinite article
A noun determiner used for first mention of an item in the discourse, as in Yesterday I read a book. In English, the indefinite article derives from the numeral 'one'.
group genitive
A construction consisting of a nominal group (noun plus post-modifiers) with the genitive inflection attached to the last element of the group rather than to the head noun, as in the Age of Reason's end.
A variety of a language, either regional or social, which is more or less mutually intelligible with other forms of the language. The term "accent" refers specifically to the phonological features of a dialect.
A part of speech denoting a person, place, or thing which may be modified for case, number, and gender, such as book/books, sugar, team/teams.
composite predicates
A verb of general meaning, such as do, have, make, draw, give, and take, in combination with a noun derived from a verb, as in have a run.
finite verb
See non-finite verb.
A part of speech which substitutes for or stands in place of a noun or noun phrase, e.g., I, it, that, our, mine, who, which, himself. Types of pronouns include personal pronouns, interrogative pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, relative pronouns, and reflexive pronouns.
grammatical gender
A means of classifying nouns, often with little correspondence to the biological sex of the object. In OE, it includes masculine, feminine, and neuter genders. See natural gender.
the category of nouns serving as the direct object of a verb
An indication of the relationship between the subject and the action expressed by the verb: whether the subject of the sentence is acting (active) or is acted upon (passive), as in the distinction between John drove the car and The car was driven by John. V
dummy auxiliary do
A structural element (lacking semantic content) used in the formation of negatives and questions in Modern English, as in Do you love dogs?
An indication of whether the action is viewed as fact or non-fact (e.g., possibility, probability, desire, wish, or contrary-to-fact). The moods of English are the indicative, subjunctive, and imperative.
relative pronoun
A pronoun which introduces a relative (adjectival) clause and has reference to an antecedent. The pronoun serves a grammatical function within the relative clause as well as connects the relative clause to the main clause. For example, The woman [who spoke] is my sister.
A part of speech which expresses an event or state, and is inflected for tense, person, and number (in English). There are a number of subclasses of verbs, including transitive (e.g., hit, buy) and intransitive (e.g., live, smile).
A part of speech which qualifies or quantifies a noun, as in blue sky.
A variety of language appropriate to or characteristic of a certain social situation: e.g., formal or informal, colloquial or literary, popular or learned, scientific, or religious.
A grammatical distinction of quantity, typically distinguishing between 'one' (singular) or 'more than one' (plural).
A paradigm comprised of etymologically distinct roots, e.g., good, better, best/ go, went gone.
See linguistic corruption.
The forms of an adjective or adverb expressing relative intensities, positive (e.g., big), comparative (e.g., bigger), and superlative (e.g., biggest).
The designation of the time of the action as subsequent to the moment of speaking.
personal pronoun
Pronoun forms used to designate either people or things, for example, I, you, she, they.
A part of speech which modifies a verb or verbal, adjective, preposition, or conjunction, as in speak loudly.
prescriptive grammar
A grammar that prescribes (dictates) and proscribes (forbids) certain ways of speaking and writing in an attempt to establish and maintain a standard of correctness.
double genitive
A form containing both an inflected genitive and a periphrastic of-genitive, such as a friend of my sister's.
The doer of the action (e.g., Mary ate the apple) or that which is described in the predicate of the sentence (e.g., Mary lives in Holland); the subject controls verb agreement.
interrogative pronoun
Pronoun forms used for forming questions, including who, what, why, where, and how.
The case of the direct object, as in I read the book.
subordinate clause
A clause (subject + finite verb) which cannot stand alone as an independent sentence (main clause) but is adjoined to a main clause via a subordinating conjunction, such as Because he studied hard, he passed the course.
A non-finite (q.v.) form of the verb, appearing in ModE as the bare infinitive (e.g., eat) and to-infinitive (to eat).
A linguistic category indicating the time of an event in relation to the moment of speaking (tense is hence a deictic [q.v.] category). English has two tense categories expressed inflectionally: past (preterit) and present. Other temporal categories are indicated by periphrasis (q.v.), e.g., future.
referring to a verb or verb-like word, including verbs and auxiliaries (q.v.).
Correction of a perceived mistake, as when a speaker says between you and I on the false belief that me is (always) incorrect.
A process in which the grammatical information expressed in one form is repeated in other forms which accompany it, as in These book are (all plural forms) versus This book is (all singular forms).
national variety
A kind of large-scale regional dialect spoken within a political entity, for example, Australian English. See also dialect.
A non-finite form of the verb used as part of the verb phrase or as an adjective. In form they may be either present (writing) or past (written).
Verbal inflection expressing the mood of fact, used in making statements and asking questions.
Verbal inflection (in OE) or periphrasis (in ModE) expressing non-factual mood apart from direct command. See mood.
referring to a noun or noun-like word, including demonstratives, adjectives, and pronouns.
Syntactic form in which the subject and the object of a verb have the same referent, in ModE expressed with reflexive pronouns, e.g., John burned himself.
The case of the indirect object, as in I gave the student the book or I gave the book to the student.
An indication of the grammatical role of a noun phrase in a sentence, typically by means of inflection, as in book's cover, where 's signals genitive or possessive case.
Study of the arrangement of words into higher units such as phrases, clauses, and sentences. See also word order.
discourse marker
Words or phrases which structure the discourse and anchor it in the communicative context, such as well, right, so, like, y'know, I mean. They are generally seen as empty of semantic content.
The case of the direct object, as in I read the book.
principal parts of verb
Forms of the verb from which the verb is inflected, e.g., the infinitive (e.g., to walk), the past tense (e.g., I walked), and the past participle (e.g., I have walked).
remnant form
A form which preserves an older and now non-productive means of inflection, such as oxen, five-foot long, cloven. Also called a frozen form.
non-finite verb
Forms which are not inflected for person, number, or tense, and hence do not agree with the subject and cannot stand alone in the predicate of a sentence, i.e., infinitives, participles, and gerunds.
See agreement.
A highly structured system of symbolic signs, primarily vocal, used for human communication with the express purpose of performing various speech acts. Language is innate and creative.
modal auxiliary
Continuations of the preterit-present verbs of Old English which now serve as auxiliaries of mood, for example, will, shall, can, must.
auxiliary verb
A verbal element which cannot stand alone in the predicate of a sentence but must accompany a non-finite form of the verb, as in He will pay
The set of rules or principles by which a language operates (or a book setting out such rules).
linguistic corruption
A view of language as having decayed from some earlier state of linguistic purity.
function word
Words serving to mark grammatical relations rather than express lexical meaning, including prepositions, articles, conjunctions, auxiliaries and so on.
strong verb
A verb which forms its tenses by the Indo-European process of ablaut, or vowel gradation, such as ride, rode, ridden. Often called "irregular".
weak verb
An innovative class of verbs in the Germanic languages that form their preterit with a dental suffix, as in trip/tripped, constituting the regular or productive pattern in English. Often called "regular".
A uninflected part of speech which indicates the relation of the noun which follows to a verb, an adjective, or another noun, for example, in, by, with.
word order
Generally refers to the position of the major elements in the sentence, subject (S), verb (V), and object (O). Across languages, the typical patterns are SVO, SOV, and VSO. Inverted word order refers to the reversal of the position of S and V which occurs in marked constructions, as is Are (V) you (S) a teacher? in an SVO language.
A grammatical category of the verb which views the action as either ongoing or completed, as in the ModE contrast between the progressive He was writing a poem and the simple tense He wrote a poem.
An affix expressing the grammatical categories of a word, such as case (on nouns) or tense (on verbs).
The case of the subject, as in Clarissa read the book.
Form used in making direct commands to a second-person. Old English has an imperative inflection, e.g. Gay 'go!', while Modern English relies on syntax alone, e.g., Shut the window!
An invariable part of speech used to combine word, phrases, and clauses, as in and, because.
A verbal periphrastic form consisting of auxiliary be and the present participle used to express ongoing or continuous action, for example, be speaking.
phrasal verb
A verbal construction consisting of a verb and a post-verbal particle, such as beat up (transitive) or take off (intransitive). See also verb.
An 18th-century term meaning 'to settle a matter and render it certain and free from doubt'. Ascertainment involved the codification, refinement, and fixing of language in a permanent form.

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