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Thread: adverb

  1. #1
    kohyoongliat is offline Senior Member
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    Default adverb

    I pushed open the door. Is 'open' an adverb?

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    Default Re: adverb

    That's a very good question! Is open an adverb or a verb? (Psst. It's definitely not an adjective in I pushed open the door.)

    Note that, push open, meaning to open something by pushing, is a verb-verb compound semantically, with open as the head of the phrase and pushed as its modifier. However, pushed carries tense, which makes it the main verb and the head of the phrase syntactically. Thus: if pushed open is interpreted as a phrasl verb, open becomes a modifier. Why?

    [1] I pushed open the door.
    [2] I pushed the door open.



    All the best.

  3. #3
    svartnik is offline Banned
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    Default Re: adverb

    in 2, 'open' is an object compement and an adjective

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    Default Re: adverb

    Quote Originally Posted by svartnik View Post
    in 2, 'open' is an object compement and an adjective
    Yes, and its function in [2] is also ambiguous. It carries the meaning in [1] as well.

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    Default Re: adverb

    Note that, push open, meaning to open something by pushing, is a verb-verb compound semantically, with open as the head of the phrase and pushed as its modifier. However, pushed carries tense, which makes it the main verb and the head of the phrase syntactically. Thus: if pushed open is interpreted as a phrasl verb, open becomes a modifier.
    It is definitely a compound phrase, and maybe kohyoongliat should simply regard it as that: one unit, one phoneme.

    On the other hand, I enjoy discussions like this!

    My two pence worth: 'pushed' is the main verb, the head, carrying the action - that is why it also carries the tense. 'open' is a state verb, carrying the state of the door following the push.

    From some distant memory, I have a strong feeling that in an action verb/state verb compound, the action is always the head. Can you confirm that, Cassy?

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    Default Re: adverb

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Whitehead View Post
    I have a strong feeling that in an action verb/state verb compound, the action is always the head. Can you confirm that, Cassy?
    Nope, sorry. But what I can tell you is that pushed is the main verb (speakers know that not because pushed is inflected, but because open isn't inflected; i.e., *he pushed opens the door, which is a common error among language learners, even children). Open, functions as the verb's object; it's a bare infinitive.

    [1] He pushed (to) open the door.
    [2] He pushed the door (to get it to) open.

    In other words, the solution is in ellipsis.

    __________________________
    What did you mean by one unit, one phoneme?

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    Default Re: adverb

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    Nope, sorry. But what I can tell you is that pushed is the main verb (speakers know that not because pushed is inflected, but because open isn't inflected; i.e., *he pushed opens the door, which is a common error among language learners, even children). Open, functions as the verb's object; it's a bare infinitive.

    [1] He pushed (to) open the door.
    [2] He pushed the door (to get it to) open.

    In other words, the solution is in ellipsis.

    __________________________
    What did you mean by one unit, one phoneme?
    I had a perfunctory search through my books and Google, but I can't find anything about active/stative combinations.

    Your rationalisation is different to mine... pushed is the head because open isn't inflected. You never get a verb-verb combination with both verbs inflected, and as far as I know it is always the head that takes the inflection. It all adds up to the same thing in the end.

    My one unit one phoneme suggestion to kohyoongliat is to treat pushed open as a single item rather than trying to analyse what is verb/adverb etc. He is a private tutor, so perhaps his students don't need to go into such detail. A phoneme is a sequence of sounds in speech; according to one theory we speak in phonemes - sequences of words - rather than word by word.

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    Default Re: adverb

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Whitehead View Post
    A phoneme is a sequence of sounds in speech; according to one theory we speak in phonemes - sequences of words - rather than word by word.
    I'm not familiar with that extention of the theory; that pushed open can be "one unit, one phomene." Before we continue, you may want to take a look here, and here, and here, so that we are on the same page, sort to speak.

    To me a phoneme is an abstract unit, and it's smaller than a word. The determiner "a", the past tense markers /d/, /t/, and the plural markers /s/ /z/) are all phonemes, and they're also morpho-phonemes because they represent a minimal meaningful unit, a morpheme. The phrase pushed open, for example, has 3 morphemes,7 phonemes, and 7 or 8 phones, or sounds, depending on how deep you want to go. (Please note, I can't get IPA to work on this page so /e/, [e] and /u/, [u] are not the correct vowels, and /sh/, [sh] are not the correct consonants.)

    Morphemes: push, -ed, open
    Phonemes: /p/, /u/, /sh/, /t/ and /o/, /e/, /n/
    Phones: [p], [u], [sh], [t] and [o], [p], [e], [n]

    In short, to me pushed open can't be "one unit, one phomene". But I am willing to learn.
    Last edited by Casiopea; 06-May-2007 at 14:59.

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    Default Re: adverb

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea View Post
    I'm not familiar with that extention of the theory; that pushed open can be "one unit, one phomene." Before we continue, you may want to take a look here, and here, and here, so that we are on the same page, sort to speak.

    To me a phoneme is an abstract unit, and it's smaller than a word. The determiner "a", the past tense markers /d/, /t/, and the plural markers /s/ /z/) are all phonemes, and they're also morpho-phonemes because they represent a minimal meaningful unit, a morpheme. The phrase pushed open, for example, has 3 morphemes,7 phonemes, and 7 or 8 phones, or sounds, depending on how deep you want to go. (Please note, I can't get IPA to work on this page so /e/, [e] and /u/, [u] are not the correct vowels, and /sh/, [sh] are not the correct consonants.)

    Morphemes: push, -ed, open
    Phonemes: /p/, /u/, /sh/, /t/ and /o/, /e/, /n/
    Phones: [p], [u], [sh], [t] and [o], [p], [e], [n]

    In short, to me pushed open can't be "one unit, one phomene". But I am willing to learn.
    'Pushed open' can be treated as a single item (unit appears to have a special meaning for you?) when you teach it - "It is a phrasal verb". As the guy we are responding to is a tutor it may be better for him to take that approach, as English students are rarely linguists and probably have little interest in whether 'open' is a verb or adverb in this situation - and definitely little interest in morphemes, phones, allophones or any other way of breaking 'pushed open' into linguistic units!

    It is worth remembering who your audience is, as this is a 'using english' forum and not a 'linguistic analysis' forum...


    As for the theory, it revolves around the question of how we construct a sentence when we speak. One idea is that we use remembered collections of words rather than individual words. This also explains catch-phrases, sound-bites, cliches, etc. which are groups of words remembered as one unit, or item if you prefer.

    I thought these were labelled as phonemes, meaning 'a sound that isn't a word'. I understand your comment that a phoneme is generally shorter than a word, and I had the same thought, but I can't think of any other word that describes it and phoneme is the one that keeps popping up in my mind. Maybe the term was hijacked, or I may be remembering the term incorrectly as I have only a passing interest in such things. If that is the the case then my apologies for confusing you.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: adverb

    1. I've always heard 'phoneme' used the way Casiopea used it. (Question aside: Why isn't the /p/ included among the phonems? And I'd split the /o/-phoneme into the phones [o] and [u] - is that the "great, lost" phone #8? I'm not an expert, really.)

    2. I'm very interested in the idea that "open" in "pushed open" can be a verb. (It's especially interesting to hear about the mistake "pushed opens" etc.) Is there a term I can google? (Ad hoc, I find it different from all other "verb+bare infinitive"-constructions, such as "He helped open the door.")

    Very interesting thread. Thanks for the discussion.

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