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GRAMMAR

The grammar of a language is the set of subconscious rules we use to formulate phrases and longer speech utterances. This article defines several parts of grammar, including phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. It also introduces the concept of word classes. In doing so, it establishes the meaning of some key terms that allow us to share ideas about language and language disorder, and to talk about how human language works.

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Adjective Phrases

Adjective as ‘head’ As the name implies, adjective phrases (AdjP) have an adjective as the head word, e.g. Like noun phrases, the head adjective in an adjective phrase can also receive pre-modification through the use of an intensifying adverb. Pre-modifying intensifying adverbs…

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Adjectives

Adjectives form an open class Like lexical verbs, nouns and adverbs, adjectives constitute an open class of words, i.e. the number of adjectives can increase as people either invent new ones or reclaim old ones that have fallen into disuse. Some relatively recently added adjectives…

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Adverb Phrases

The head word of an adverb phrase (AdvP) is always an adverb, e.g.   As with noun phrases and adjective phrases, the head word (usually just referred to as the ‘head’) of an adverb phrase can also be pre-modified by the…

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Adverbs

Adverbs form an open class Like lexical verbs , nouns and adjectives, adverbs constitute an open class. This means that the membership of the class can increase as new adverbs are coined and added. Some recently added (or re-adopted) adverbs include: Right-angularly: at right…

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Auxiliary Verbs

Auxiliary verbs form a closed class As well as the huge number of lexical verbs, there is a limited number of so-called auxiliary verbs. As the membership is restricted and as it is not easy to add new ones, auxiliary verbs (like numerals, determiners, pronouns,…

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Beyond the Clause

Rank order We have seen (Clauses) that each higher order unit of organization in language is constituted from elements of the immediately lower unit of organization. We see that morphemes combine into words, that words combine into phrases and that phrases combine into clauses. There…

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Clause Structure

What is a clause? We represent our experiences linguistically by packaging information into clauses. As such, clauses can be considered to be the key unit of grammar. They are units of information structured around a verb phrase (VP) and, according to some theories (e.g. Systemic Functional…

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