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Thread: word stress

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    #21

    Re: word stress

    An export.
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

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    #22

    Re: word stress

    Do I detect a note of anger there, Mr Piscean sir?

    In my humble opinion, etymology is never irrelevant.

    I think you are missing the point: We talk about the rich, the poor, the down-trodden. These are nominalized adjectives. They are adjectives whose noun is left unmentioned because we understand them in conversation. If the context were unclear, we could easily fill the noun in.

    The question is, when a noun is used as an adjective, is it still a noun? Or are the thought categories we use faulty?

    4. This is an export company.

    if you say 'export' in 4. is a noun, you presumably have good reasons for that and can state them clearly. If you flatly state "The word exists now as a verb and as a noun." then I may equally flatly state "The word exists now as a verb and as a noun and an adjective." Certainly, the function of 'export' in 4. is adjectival, describing, as it does, a type of company.

    The point being, how will you show whether it is a noun or an adjective or a verb?

    The ability to abstract is a function of human consciousness. 'love' is a feeling and as such a property of human consciousness. I cannot in any physical sense show you 'a love'. I could talk about 'my great love for you' and this is a description of my feeling or state of mind. As such, love is a condition of my mind. Indeed, in Chinese, love is 'ai qing' = 'love feeling'.

    I cannot show you 'a history', I can only show you 'a history book', which I may abbreviate to 'a history'.

    I cannot show you 'a prosperity'. I know you don't like etymology, but consider the following:

    -ity: word-forming element making abstract nouns from adjectives and meaning "condition or quality of being ______," from Middle English -ite, from Old French -ete (Modern French -ité) and directly from Latin -itatem (nominative -itas), suffix denoting state or condition, composed of -i- (from the stem or else a connective) + the common abstract suffix -tas (see -ty (2)).
    Roughly, the word in -ity usually means the quality of being what the adjective describes, or concretely an instance of the quality, or collectively all the instances; & the word in -ism means the disposition, or collectively all those who feel it. [Fowler]


    Is an abstraction over an adjective really any different to the adjective?
    Last edited by Bide; 07-Apr-2016 at 00:47.

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    #23

    Re: word stress

    Quote Originally Posted by Bide View Post
    Do I detect a note of anger there, Mr Piscean sir?
    If you do, blame it on your imagination,
    In my humble opinion, etymology is never irrelevant.
    Etymology is frequently of interest when we look at how a word came to mean what it means today. It is usually irrelevant when we are discussing what the word actually does mean today.
    4. This is an export company.

    if you say 'export' in 4. is a noun, you presumably have good reasons for that and can state them clearly.
    Yes. To mention just two points: it has no comparative or superlative form (*exporter/more export, *exportest/most export) and it cannot be modified by an adverb (*very export).The word 'export' functions as a modifier in that sentence. That does nor make it an adjective. Don't confuse form and function.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

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    #24

    Re: word stress

    According to the Online Etymology Dictionary "export" is attested as a noun since the 1680s.
    export (n.) 1680s, from export (v.).
    “Every miserable fool who has nothing at all of which he can be proud, adopts as a last resource pride in the nation to which he belongs; he is ready and happy to defend all its faults and follies tooth and nail, thus reimbursing himself for his own inferiority.”

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    #25

    Re: word stress

    Bide

    I agree with your thinking.

    In your example, an export company, the word export is modifying the noun company so strictly, export can be considered an adjective. To say that it's a noun being used adjectivally doesn't make much sense to me. That's the same as saying that it is an adjective. The term 'adjective' is a grammatical term referring to the grammatical role a word has as it is in use.

    So in terms of function, it's an adjective, but in terms of form, it's a verb, as you say, (from 'ex-portare'.)

    When we nominalise this verb, as in exports rose by 10%, this noun does not refer to any concrete 'thing'; it is just an abstraction of the verb, or rather the action that the verb refers to. I agree with you that you "cannot show me an export." An export is the carrying of something out of somewhere. The reason why we stress the first syllable and not the second in your example may be because we are accustomed to using the word as a noun.

    We often confuse nouns and verbs (words/symbols) with their corresponding things and events/processes, which are real phenomena. I think the example of gerund nouns shows this quite well. Gerunds are nouns grammatically/functionally, but verbs in form, and actions/events/processes in meaning, if you like.

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    #26

    Re: word stress

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    In your example, an export company, the word export is modifying the noun company so strictly, export can be considered an adjective.
    You are confusing form and function. Nouns can function as modifiers. Adjectives generally have comparative and superlative forms, can be modified by an adverb, and can follow a linking verb. Export satisfies none of these formal criteria. Nouns , can function as a subject, object , subject/object complement, adverbial, prepositional object and noun modifier, be modified by an adjective or noun modifier, and (except for uncountable nouns) have a plural form. Export satisfies all these criteria,

    To say that it's a noun being used adjectivally doesn't make much sense to me.
    I think it's clearer to say that it is functioning as a modifier
    The term 'adjective' is a grammatical term referring to the grammatical role a word has as it is in use.
    No.Traditionally, parts of speech have been defined by a mixture of formal and functional criteria. I have mentioned some of the formal criteria for adjectives.

    So in terms of function, it's an adjective, but in terms of form, it's a verb, as you say, (from 'ex-portare'.)
    No. In terms of function, it's a modifier. In terms of form, it's a noun. It satisfies none of the criteria for a verb.
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    #27

    Re: word stress

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    You are confusing form and function.
    The funny thing is, I believe it is you who are confusing form and function.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Nouns can function as modifiers.
    So if a 'noun' is functioning as modifying another noun, then why not call it an adjective?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    I think it's clearer to say that it is functioning as a modifier
    Yes, I think I agree actually.

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Nouns, can function as a subject, object , subject/object complement, adverbial, prepositional object and noun modifier, be modified by an adjective or noun modifier, and (except for uncountable nouns) have a plural form. Export satisfies all these criteria
    Yes, export certainly can satisfy those criteria, depending on how it is being used. It can also satisfy the criteria for being a verb (exported/exporting).

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    In terms of form, it's a noun. It satisfies none of the criteria for a verb.
    Can you show what it is exactly about the form that makes it a noun?

    Quote Originally Posted by Piscean View Post
    Traditionally, parts of speech have been defined by a mixture of formal and functional criteria. I have mentioned some of the formal criteria for adjectives.
    The "traditionally" part of this sentence does not lend this view any authority. Traditional understandings of things tend to be overturned by deeper or more useful ones.
    My view is that the formal criteria are kind of irrelevant. I believe that we can only say what part of speech a word has when we observe the word in use (literally as a part of speech). You cannot say that a particular word is an adjective or is a noun when the word is in isolation. The best you can do is say that the word can be used in different ways. I feel that in a way the revolution towards a focus on language in use is a shift away from a fixation on form towards an emphasis on function.

    In another thread, we discussed whether louder was an adjective or adverb in the phrase Could you speak louder? Some of us considered it to be an adverb despite the form of the individual word. To be clear, are you saying this view is mistaken?

    Piscean - We clearly have different pictures of language, and I don't really mean to suggest that your view is wrong, I'm just explaining the way I best understand it (best+understand = adv.+ v), purely for the sake of discussion.
    Last edited by jutfrank; 07-Apr-2016 at 22:03.

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    #28

    Re: word stress

    Quote Originally Posted by jutfrank View Post
    The funny thing is, I believe it is you who are confusing form and function.
    Did you read the thread I provided a link to?
    So if a 'noun' is functioning as modifying another noun, then why not call it an adjective?
    Because it satisfies none of the formal criteria for an adjective. Adjective is a part of speech, a word class, as is noun. Modifier is a function class.
    Yes, export certainly can satisfy those criteria, depending on how it is being used. It can also satisfy the criteria for being a verb (exported/exporting).
    There are two words with the same written form For many people, the noun is stressed on the first syllable, and the verb on the second syllable in speech.

    Can you show what it is exactly about the form that makes it a noun?
    Well, the obvious thing is that it has the plural form exports. It also has the stress on the first syllable.
    The "traditionally" part of this sentence does not lend this view any authority. Traditional understandings of things tend to be overturned by deeper or more useful ones.
    Well, modern grammarians tend to hold similar views.
    My view is that the formal criteria are kind of irrelevant. I believe that we can only say what part of speech a word has when we observe the word in use (literally as a part of speech). You cannot say that a particular word is an adjective or is a noun when the word is in isolation.
    Well, not in complete isolation, but we know, for example that big is an adjective, because it has comparative and superlative forms is an adjective bigger and biggest (and it does not have inflected forms for number as nouns and verbs do, or for tense, aspect or person, as verbs do).
    The best you can do is say that the word can be used in different ways. I feel that in a way the revolution towards a focus on language in use is a shift away from a fixation on form towards an emphasis on function.
    Function is important, but it is not the sole criterion in determining parts of speech,

    In another thread, we discussed whether louder was an adjective or adverb in the phrase Could you speak louder? Some of us considered it to be an adverb despite the form of the individual word. To be clear, are you saying this view is mistaken?
    No. Function plays a part, but the form of 'louder' does not justify a claim that it must formally be an adjective. A small number of adverbs do have -er comparative forms, for example, fast, hard.

    Piscean - We clearly have different pictures of language, and I don't really mean to suggest that your view is wrong, I'm just explaining the way I best understand it (best+understand = adv.+ v), purely for the sake of discussion.
    Fine. I am just explaining the way most grammarians and teachers explain it.
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    #29

    Re: word stress

    Piscean - Thanks for your response. Thinking about the distinction between form and function...

    What do we mean by the 'form' of a word? Consider the word growing in the following phrase :


    • a growing number of Chinese are moving into cities


    What part of speech is the word growing? An adjective or verb? It clearly has a verb form (present participle/suffix '-ing' form) but is modifying a noun. Shouldn't we focus on the use/function of the word in the phrase rather than the form?

    And what if, with the same thought in mind, we rephrase slightly to:


    • the number of Chinese people moving into cities is growing


    Although growing has the same form as before, is it still an adjective? It still describes number of Chinese people.

    And how about Chinese in both phrases, which has the form of an adjective (suffix '-ese')?

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    #30

    Re: word stress

    e

    -ing forms are participles/gerunds/participle-gerunds - grammarians such as Quirk et al (1986), Huddleston & Pullum (2002) and Aarts (2011) see no point in distinguishing between the names. They are forms of the verb.

    They can function as noun modifiers, as in your first example, as parts of a predicate, as in your second example, and as subjects, objects, complement clauses, predicative complements and adjuncts.
    Typoman - writer of rongs

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