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Thread: parts of speech

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    ian2 is offline Member
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    parts of speech

    When we talk about noun, verb, or adjective, we are talking about parts of speech. But when we talk about subject, predicate, or object, we are talking about syntactic function of words. For example, in "I like the book", "book" is a noun, but it is used as an object. So it is quite clear that when we use Object, we are talking about syntactic function. In other words, we are talking about syntax. But if we talk about noun, are we also talking about syntax? To me, syntax has to be related to a sentence. But we can discuss BOOK as a noun without mentioning any sentence. In fact, a word in a dictionary has a label of part of speech (noun or verb), but never has a syntactic label (Subject or object). It's just a definition thing. Please throw some light on this. Thanks. Ian

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    orangutan is offline Member
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    Re: parts of speech

    Quote Originally Posted by ian2 View Post
    But if we talk about noun, are we also talking about syntax? To me, syntax has to be related to a sentence. But we can discuss BOOK as a noun without mentioning any sentence.
    Nonetheless, we are still implicitly talking about syntax because to call something a noun is to specify the slots that it can fill in a sentence.

    At the same time we are talking about morphology (a noun has plural markings but not tense markings in English) and possibly semantics (some concepts are more likely to be lexicalized as nouns than others). All these considerations come into play in the traditional notion of "parts of speech".

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    Re: parts of speech

    When we talk about words, we're usually talking about things like noun, verb, etc. - parts of speech, as you say. But subject, object, etc. are what grammarians call clause components; things like subject, complement, object, etc. again as you say, correctly, syntactic elements.
    What's important about the concept of clause element is that such a unit can consist of more than one word. For instance, a dreadful, but instructive, example is the capitalized words in the following clause: "THAT YOU COULD DO SUCH A THING TO ME, YOUR BEST FRIEND, is unforgivable. The capped words make up the subject - twelve words containing ten parts of speech and constituting one sentence component.
    I hope this hasn't been overkill.

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    ian2 is offline Member
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    Re: parts of speech

    I would say sentence component rather than clause cmponent, as clause itself is a component in a sentence, for example, in "just because I don't eat meat doesn't mean I don't like meat", "just because I don't eat meat" is the subject in the sentence.



    Quote Originally Posted by gabber View Post
    When we talk about words, we're usually talking about things like noun, verb, etc. - parts of speech, as you say. But subject, object, etc. are what grammarians call clause components; things like subject, complement, object, etc. again as you say, correctly, syntactic elements.
    What's important about the concept of clause element is that such a unit can consist of more than one word. For instance, a dreadful, but instructive, example is the capitalized words in the following clause: "THAT YOU COULD DO SUCH A THING TO ME, YOUR BEST FRIEND, is unforgivable. The capped words make up the subject - twelve words containing ten parts of speech and constituting one sentence component.
    I hope this hasn't been overkill.

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