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In
traditional grammar A tradition is a belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes about the wo ...
, a part of speech or part-of-speech (
abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for example, the word ''abbrevia ...
as POS or PoS) is a category of words (or, more generally, of
lexical itemIn lexicography, a lexical item (or lexical unit / LU, lexical entry) is a single word, a part of a word, or a chain of words ( catena) that forms the basic elements of a language's lexicon A lexicon is the vocabulary A vocabulary, also known ...
s) that have similar
grammatical In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
properties. Words that are assigned to the same part of speech generally display similar
syntaxic
syntaxic
behavior (they play similar roles within the grammatical structure of sentences), sometimes similar
morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical objects such as nebulae, galaxies ...
in that they undergo
inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical ob ...
for similar properties and even similar
semantic Semantics (from grc, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") is the study of reference Reference is a relationship between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another o ...
behavior. Commonly listed
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
parts of speech are
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

noun
,
verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual description of E ...
,
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
,
adverb An adverb is a word or an expression that modifies a verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), ...

adverb
,
pronoun In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...

pronoun
,
preposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various (''of'', ''for''). A pre ...
,
conjunction Conjunction may refer to: * Conjunction (astronomy), in which two astronomical bodies appear close together in the sky * Conjunction (astrology), astrological aspect in horoscopic astrology * Conjunction (grammar), a part of speech * Logical conjun ...
,
interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling or reaction. It is a diverse category, encompassing many different parts of speech, such as exclamations ''(ouch!'', ''wow!''), curses ...
,
numeral A numeral is a figure, symbol, or group of figures or symbols denoting a number. It may refer to: * Numeral system used in mathematics * Numeral (linguistics), a part of speech denoting numbers (e.g. ''one'' and ''first'' in English) * Numerical di ...
,
article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identifiability of the referents of the noun phrases. The category of articles constitutes a part of ...
, or
determiner A determiner, also called determinative ( abbreviated ), is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practic ...
. Other
Indo-European languages The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, based on speech and gesture (spoken language), Signed language, sign, or o ...
also have essentially all these word classes; one exception to this generalization is that
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
,
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
and most
Slavic languages The Slavic languages, also known as the Slavonic languages, are Indo-European languages spoken primarily by the Slavs, Slavic peoples or their descendants. They are thought to descend from a proto-language called Proto-Slavic language, Proto- ...

Slavic languages
do not have articles. Beyond the Indo-European family, such other European languages as
HungarianHungarian may refer to: * Hungary, a country in Central Europe * Kingdom of Hungary, state of Hungary, existing between 1000 and 1946 * Hungarians, ethnic groups in Hungary * Hungarian algorithm, a polynomial time algorithm for solving the assignmen ...
and
Finnish Finnish may refer to: * Something or someone from, or related to Finland * Finnish culture * Finnish people or Finns, the primary ethnic group in Finland * Finnish language, the national language of the Finnish people * Finnish cuisine See also

...
, both of which belong to the
Uralic family
Uralic family
, completely lack prepositions or have only very few of them; rather, they have
postposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a class of words used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various semantic ro ...
s. Other terms than ''part of speech''—particularly in modern
linguistic Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages have a writing ...

linguistic
classifications, which often make more precise distinctions than the traditional scheme does—include word class, lexical class, and lexical category. Some authors restrict the term ''lexical category'' to refer only to a particular type of
syntactic categoryA syntactic category is a syntactic unit that theories of syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentences (sentence structure) in a given Natural langu ...
; for them the term excludes those parts of speech that are considered to be
functional Functional may refer to: * Movements in architecture: ** Functionalism (architecture) In architecture File:Plan d'exécution du second étage de l'hôtel de Brionne (dessin) De Cotte 2503c – Gallica 2011 (adjusted).jpg, upright=1.45, alt=Pl ...
, such as pronouns. The term form class is also used, although this has various conflicting definitions. Word classes may be classified as open or closed: ''open classes'' (typically including nouns, verbs and adjectives) acquire new members constantly, while ''closed classes'' (such as pronouns and conjunctions) acquire new members infrequently, if at all. Almost all languages have the word classes noun and verb, but beyond these two there are significant variations among different languages. For example: *
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...

Japanese
has as many as three classes of adjectives, where
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
has one. *
Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a populat ...
,
Korean Korean may refer to: People and culture * Koreans, ethnic group originating in the Korean Peninsula * Korean cuisine * Korean culture * Korean language **Korean alphabet, known as Hangul or Chosŏn'gŭl **Korean dialects and the Jeju language **S ...
,
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...

Japanese
and
Vietnamese Vietnamese may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Vietnam, a country in Southeast Asia ** A citizen of Vietnam. See Demographics of Vietnam. * Vietnamese people, or Kinh people, a Southeast Asian ethnic group native to Vietnam ** Oversea ...
have a class of nominal classifiers. * Many languages do not distinguish between adjectives and adverbs, or between adjectives and verbs (see
stative verb According to some linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic anal ...
). Because of such variation in the number of categories and their identifying properties, analysis of parts of speech must be done for each individual language. Nevertheless, the labels for each category are assigned on the basis of universal criteria.


History

The classification of words into lexical categories is found from the earliest moments in the
history of linguistics Linguistics is the Science, scientific study of language, involving analysis of language Theoretical linguistics, form, language Semantics, meaning, and language in Context (language use), context. Language was first studied systematically by th ...
.


India

In the ''
Nirukta ''Nirukta'' ( sa, निरुक्त, , "explained, interpreted") is one of the six ancient Vedangas, or ancillary science connected with the Vedas – the scriptures of Hinduism.James Lochtefeld (2002), "Nirukta" in The Illustrated Encyclopedi ...
'', written in the 5th or 6th century BCE, the
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
grammarian
Yāska Yāska was an early Sanskrit grammarian (7th–5th century BCE). Preceding Pāṇini , era = ;;;6th–5th century BCE , region = Northwest Indian subcontinent , main_interests = Grammar In linguistics, the ...
defined four main categories of words: # नाम ''nāma'' –
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

noun
(including adjective) # आख्यात ''ākhyāta'' –
verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual description of E ...
# उपसर्ग ''upasarga'' – pre-verb or
prefix A prefix is an affix In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) ...
# निपात ''nipāta'' –
particle In the Outline of physical science, physical sciences, a particle (or corpuscule in older texts) is a small wikt:local, localized physical body, object to which can be ascribed several physical property, physical or chemical property, chemical p ...
, invariant word (perhaps
preposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various (''of'', ''for''). A pre ...
) These four were grouped into two larger classes: inflectable (nouns and verbs) and uninflectable (pre-verbs and particles). The ancient work on the grammar of the
Tamil language Tamil (; ' , ) is a Dravidian language Dravidian languages (or sometimes Dravidic languages) are a family of languages In human society, family (from la, familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recogn ...

Tamil language
, ''
Tolkāppiyam ''Tolkāppiyam'' ( ta, தொல்காப்பியம், ''lit.'' "ancient poem") is the most ancient extant Tamil grammar In linguistics, the grammar (from Ancient Greek ''grammatikḗ'') of a natural language is its set of structure, ...
'', argued to have been written around 2,500 years ago, classifies Tamil words as ''peyar'' (பெயர்; noun), ''vinai'' (வினை; verb), ''idai'' (part of speech which modifies the relationships between verbs and nouns), and ''uri'' (word that further qualifies a noun or verb).


Western tradition

A century or two after the work of Yāska, the
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
scholar
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, wikt:Πλάτων, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Classical Athens, Athenian philosopher during the Classical Greece, Classical period in Ancient Greece, founder of the Platonist school of thoug ...

Plato
wrote in his ''Cratylus'' dialog, "sentences are, I conceive, a combination of verbs 'rhêma''and nouns 'ónoma''.
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
added another class, "conjunction" 'sýndesmos'' which included not only the words known today as
conjunctions ''Conjunctions'' is a biannual American literature, American literary journal based at Bard College. It was founded in 1981 and is currently edited by Bradford Morrow. Morrow received the PEN/Nora Magid Award for Magazine Editing in 2007. The jou ...
, but also other parts (the interpretations differ; in one interpretation it is
pronoun In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...

pronoun
s,
preposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various (''of'', ''for''). A pre ...
s, and the
article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identifiability of the referents of the noun phrases. The category of articles constitutes a part of ...
). By the end of the 2nd century BCE, grammarians had expanded this classification scheme into eight categories, seen in the ''
Art of Grammar ''The Art of Grammar'' ( el, Τέχνη Γραμματική - or romanized, Téchnē Grammatikḗ) is a treatise on Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the He ...
'', attributed to
Dionysius Thrax Dionysius Thrax ( grc-gre, Διονύσιος ὁ Θρᾷξ ''Dionysios o Thrax'', 170–90 BC) was a Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hel ...
: #
Noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

Noun
(''ónoma''): a part of speech inflected for
case Case or CASE may refer to: Containers * Case (goods), a package of related merchandise * Case, the metallic enclosure component in modern firearm cartridge (firearms), cartridges * Bookcase, a piece of furniture used to store books * Briefcase or ...
, signifying a concrete or abstract entity #
Verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual description of E ...
(''rhêma''): a part of speech without case inflection, but inflected for tense,
person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason Reason is the capacity of consciously applying logic Logic is an interdisciplinary field which studies truth and reasoning Reason is ...
and
number A number is a mathematical object A mathematical object is an abstract concept arising in mathematics. In the usual language of mathematics, an ''object'' is anything that has been (or could be) formally defined, and with which one may do deduct ...
, signifying an activity or process performed or undergone #
Participle In linguistics, a participle () (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through t ...
(''metokhḗ''): a part of speech sharing features of the verb and the noun #
Article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identifiability of the referents of the noun phrases. The category of articles constitutes a part of ...
(''árthron''): a declinable part of speech, taken to include the definite article, but also the basic
relative pronounA relative pronoun is a pronoun In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun (list of glossing abbreviations, abbreviated ) is a word or a group of words that one may substitute for a noun or noun phrase. Pronouns have traditionally been regarded as one ...
#
Pronoun In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...

Pronoun
(''antōnymíā''): a part of speech substitutable for a noun and marked for a person #
Preposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various (''of'', ''for''). A pre ...
(''próthesis''): a part of speech placed before other words in composition and in syntax #
Adverb An adverb is a word or an expression that modifies a verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being ...

Adverb
(''epírrhēma''): a part of speech without inflection, in modification of or in addition to a verb, adjective, clause, sentence, or other adverb #
Conjunction Conjunction may refer to: * Conjunction (astronomy), in which two astronomical bodies appear close together in the sky * Conjunction (astrology), astrological aspect in horoscopic astrology * Conjunction (grammar), a part of speech * Logical conjun ...
(''sýndesmos''): a part of speech binding together the discourse and filling gaps in its interpretation It can be seen that these parts of speech are defined by morphological,
syntactic In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the ...

syntactic
and
semantic Semantics (from grc, σημαντικός ''sēmantikós'', "significant") is the study of reference Reference is a relationship between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another ...
criteria. The
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
grammarian
Priscian 270px, Priscian, or the Grammar, relief from the bell tower of Florence by Luca della Robbia Priscianus Caesariensis (), commonly known as Priscian ( or ), was a Latin grammarian and the author of the ''Institutes of Grammar'', which was the stan ...
(
fl. ''Floruit'' (), abbreviated fl. (or occasionally flor.), Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communic ...
500 CE) modified the above eightfold system, excluding "article" (since the
Latin language Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...
, unlike Greek, does not have articles) but adding "
interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling or reaction. It is a diverse category, encompassing many different parts of speech, such as exclamations ''(ouch!'', ''wow!''), curses ...
". The Latin names for the parts of speech, from which the corresponding modern English terms derive, were ''nomen'', ''verbum'', ''participium'', ''pronomen'', ''praepositio'', ''adverbium'', ''conjunctio'' and ''interjectio''. The category ''nomen'' included
substantive A noun (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...
s (''nomen substantivum'', corresponding to what are today called nouns in English),
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
s ''(nomen adjectivum)'' and
numeral A numeral is a figure, symbol, or group of figures or symbols denoting a number. It may refer to: * Numeral system used in mathematics * Numeral (linguistics), a part of speech denoting numbers (e.g. ''one'' and ''first'' in English) * Numerical di ...
s ''(nomen numerale)''. This is reflected in the older English terminology ''noun substantive'', ''noun adjective'' and ''noun numeral''. Later the adjective became a separate class, as often did the numerals, and the English word ''noun'' came to be applied to substantives only. Works of
English grammar English grammar is the way in which meanings are encoded into wordings in the English language English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family The Indo-European languages are a language family A langu ...
generally follow the pattern of the European tradition as described above, except that participles are now usually regarded as forms of verbs rather than as a separate part of speech, and numerals are often conflated with other parts of speech: nouns (
cardinal numeral In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
s, e.g., "one", and collective numerals, e.g., "dozen"), adjectives (
ordinal numeral In linguistics, ordinal numerals or ordinal number words are words representing position or rank in a sequential order; the order may be of size, importance, chronology, and so on (e.g., "third", "tertiary"). They differ from cardinal numerals ...
s, e.g., "first", and multiplier numerals, e.g., "single") and adverbs ( multiplicative numerals, e.g., "once", and distributive numerals, e.g., "singly"). Eight or nine parts of speech are commonly listed: #
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

noun
#
verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual description of E ...
#
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
#
adverb An adverb is a word or an expression that modifies a verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), ...

adverb
#
pronoun In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...

pronoun
#
preposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various (''of'', ''for''). A pre ...
#
conjunction Conjunction may refer to: * Conjunction (astronomy), in which two astronomical bodies appear close together in the sky * Conjunction (astrology), astrological aspect in horoscopic astrology * Conjunction (grammar), a part of speech * Logical conjun ...
#
interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling or reaction. It is a diverse category, encompassing many different parts of speech, such as exclamations ''(ouch!'', ''wow!''), curses ...
#
article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identifiability of the referents of the noun phrases. The category of articles constitutes a part of ...
or (more recently)
determiner A determiner, also called determinative ( abbreviated ), is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practic ...
Some modern classifications define further classes in addition to these. For discussion see the sections below. The classification below, or slight expansions of it, is still followed in most
dictionaries A dictionary is a listing of lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refe ...
: ;Noun (names): a word or lexical item denoting any abstract (abstract noun: e.g. ''home'') or concrete entity (concrete noun: e.g. ''house''); a person (''police officer'', ''Michael''), place (''coastline'', ''London''), thing (''necktie'', ''television''), idea (''happiness''), or quality (''bravery''). Nouns can also be classified as
count noun In linguistics, a count noun (also countable noun) is a noun that can be modified by a Numeral (linguistics), numeral and that occurs in both grammatical number, singular and plural forms, and that can co-occur with quantificational determiners ...
s or non-count nouns; some can belong to either category. The most common part of speech; they are called naming words. ;Pronoun (replaces or places again): a substitute for a noun or noun phrase (''them, he''). Pronouns make sentences shorter and clearer since they replace nouns. ;Adjective (describes, limits): a modifier of a noun or pronoun (''big, brave''). Adjectives make the meaning of another word (noun) more precise. ;Verb (states action or being): a word denoting an action (''walk''), occurrence (''happen''), or state of being (''be''). Without a verb a group of words cannot be a clause or sentence. ;Adverb (describes, limits): a modifier of an adjective, verb, or another adverb (''very, quite''). Adverbs make language more precise. ;Preposition (relates): a word that relates words to each other in a phrase or sentence and aids in syntactic context (''in, of''). Prepositions show the relationship between a noun or a pronoun with another word in the sentence. ;Conjunction (connects): a syntactic connector; links words, phrases, or clauses (''and, but''). Conjunctions connect words or group of words ;Interjection (expresses feelings and emotions): an emotional greeting or exclamation (''Huzzah, Alas''). Interjections express strong feelings and emotions. ;Article (describes, limits):a grammatical marker of definiteness (''the'') or indefiniteness (''a, an''). The article is not always listed among the parts of speech. It is considered by some grammarians to be a type of adjective or sometimes the term '
determiner A determiner, also called determinative ( abbreviated ), is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practic ...
' (a broader class) is used. English words are not generally
marked In linguistics and social sciences, markedness is the state of standing out as nontypical or divergent in comparison to a regular or more common form. In a marked–unmarked relation, one term of an opposition is the broader, dominant one. The ...
as belonging to one part of speech or another; this contrasts with many other European languages, which use
inflection In linguistic morphology Morphology, from the Greek and meaning "study of shape", may refer to: Disciplines * Morphology (archaeology), study of the shapes or forms of artifacts * Morphology (astronomy), study of the shape of astronomical ob ...
more extensively, meaning that a given word form can often be identified as belonging to a particular part of speech and having certain additional grammatical properties. In English, most words are uninflected, while the inflected endings that exist are mostly ambiguous: ''
-ed Verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual descript ...
'' may mark a verbal past tense, a participle or a fully adjectival form; '' -s'' may mark a plural noun, a possessive noun, or a present-tense verb form; '' -ing'' may mark a participle,
gerund A gerund ( abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; for exa ...

gerund
, or pure adjective or noun. Although '' -ly'' is a frequent adverb marker, some adverbs (e.g. ''tomorrow'', ''fast'', ''very'') do not have that ending, while many adjectives do have it (e.g. ''friendly'', ''ugly'', ''lovely''), as do occasional words in other parts of speech (e.g. ''jelly'', ''fly'', ''rely''). Many English words can belong to more than one part of speech. Words like ''neigh'', ''break'', ''outlaw'', ''laser'', ''microwave'', and ''telephone'' might all be either verbs or nouns. In certain circumstances, even words with primarily grammatical functions can be used as verbs or nouns, as in, "We must look to the ''hows'' and not just the ''whys''." The process whereby a word comes to be used as a different part of speech is called
conversion Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ''Cyberman'' * Conversion (Stargate Atlantis), "Conversion" (''Stargate Atlantis ...
or zero derivation.


Functional classification

Linguists Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include phonetics, phonet ...
recognize that the above list of eight or nine word classes is drastically simplified. For example, "adverb" is to some extent a catch-all class that includes words with many different functions. Some have even argued that the most basic of category distinctions, that of nouns and verbs, is unfounded, or not applicable to certain languages. Modern linguists have proposed many different schemes whereby the words of English or other languages are placed into more specific categories and subcategories based on a more precise understanding of their grammatical functions. Common lexical category set defined by function may include the following (not all of them will necessarily be applicable in a given language): * Categories that will usually be open classes: **
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
s **
adverb An adverb is a word or an expression that modifies a verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), ...

adverb
s **
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

noun
s **
verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual description of E ...
s (except auxiliary verbs) **
interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling or reaction. It is a diverse category, encompassing many different parts of speech, such as exclamations ''(ouch!'', ''wow!''), curses ...
s * Categories that will usually be closed classes: **
auxiliary verb An auxiliary verb (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; ...
s **
clitic In morphology and syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentences (sentence structure) in a given Natural language, language, usually including word ...
s **
coverb A coverb is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many lan ...

coverb
s **
conjunction Conjunction may refer to: * Conjunction (astronomy), in which two astronomical bodies appear close together in the sky * Conjunction (astrology), astrological aspect in horoscopic astrology * Conjunction (grammar), a part of speech * Logical conjun ...
s **
determiner A determiner, also called determinative ( abbreviated ), is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practic ...
s (
article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identifiability of the referents of the noun phrases. The category of articles constitutes a part of ...
s, quantifiers, demonstrative adjectives, and
possessive adjective Possessive determiners (from la, possessivus, translit=; grc, κτητικός / ktētikós - en. ktetic Lallu) are determiners A determiner, also called determinative ( abbreviated ), is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language c ...
s) **
particle In the Outline of physical science, physical sciences, a particle (or corpuscule in older texts) is a small wikt:local, localized physical body, object to which can be ascribed several physical property, physical or chemical property, chemical p ...
s **
measure word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most language ...
s or classifiers **
adposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a class of words used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various semantic ro ...
s (prepositions, postpositions, and circumpositions) **
preverb Although not widely accepted in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of ...
s **
pronoun In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...

pronoun
s ** contractions **
cardinal number 150px, Aleph null, the smallest infinite cardinal In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number theory), mathematical structure, structure (algebra), space (geometry), and ca ...
s Within a given category, subgroups of words may be identified based on more precise grammatical properties. For example, verbs may be specified according to the number and type of
object Object may refer to: General meanings * Object (philosophy), a thing, being, or concept ** Entity, something that is tangible and within the grasp of the senses ** Object (abstract), an object which does not exist at any particular time or pl ...
s or other
complement A complement is often something that completes something else, or at least adds to it in some useful way. Thus it may be: * Complement (linguistics), a word or phrase having a particular syntactic role ** Subject complement, a word or phrase addi ...
s which they take. This is called
subcategorization In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas of linguistic analysis include ...
. Many modern descriptions of grammar include not only lexical categories or word classes, but also ''phrasal categories'', used to classify
phrase In syntax In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as ...

phrase
s, in the sense of groups of words that form units having specific grammatical functions. Phrasal categories may include
noun phrase A noun phrase, or nominal (phrase), is a phrase In syntax In linguistics, syntax () is the set of rules, principles, and processes that govern the structure of Sentence (linguistics), sentences (sentence structure) in a given Natural language ...
s (NP),
verb phrase In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the meth ...
s (VP) and so on. Lexical and phrasal categories together are called syntactic categories.


Open and closed classes

Word classes may be either open or closed. An open class is one that commonly accepts the addition of new words, while a closed class is one to which new items are very rarely added. Open classes normally contain large numbers of words, while closed classes are much smaller. Typical open classes found in English and many other languages are
noun A noun () is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), meaning. In many l ...

noun
s,
verb A verb () is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state of being (''be'', ''exist'', ''stand''). In the usual description of E ...
s (excluding
auxiliary verbs An auxiliary verb (abbreviated An abbreviation (from Latin ''brevis'', meaning ''short'') is a shortened form of a word or phrase, by any method. It may consist of a group of letters, or words taken from the full version of the word or phrase; ...
, if these are regarded as a separate class),
adjective In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most langu ...
s,
adverb An adverb is a word or an expression that modifies a verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), ...

adverb
s and
interjection An interjection is a word or expression that occurs as an utterance on its own and expresses a spontaneous feeling or reaction. It is a diverse category, encompassing many different parts of speech, such as exclamations ''(ouch!'', ''wow!''), curses ...
s.
Ideophone Ideophones are words that evoke an idea in sound, often a vivid impression of certain sensations or sensory perceptions, e.g. sound (onomatopoeia Onomatopoeia (also onomatopeia in American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, U ...
s are often an open class, though less familiar to English speakers,''The Art of Grammar: A Practical Guide,'' Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald
p. 99
/ref> and are often open to
nonce word A nonce word (also called an occasionalism) is a lexeme A lexeme () is a unit of lexical meaning that underlies a set of words that are related through inflection In linguistic morphology, inflection (or inflexion) is a process of word f ...
s. Typical closed classes are
preposition Prepositions and postpositions, together called adpositions (or broadly, in English, simply prepositions), are a used to express spatial or temporal relations (''in'', ''under'', ''towards'', ''before'') or mark various (''of'', ''for''). A pre ...
s (or postpositions),
determiner A determiner, also called determinative ( abbreviated ), is a word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practic ...
s,
conjunction Conjunction may refer to: * Conjunction (astronomy), in which two astronomical bodies appear close together in the sky * Conjunction (astrology), astrological aspect in horoscopic astrology * Conjunction (grammar), a part of speech * Logical conjun ...
s, and
pronoun In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languag ...

pronoun
s. The open–closed distinction is related to the distinction between lexical and functional categories, and to that between
content word Content words, in linguistics, are words that possess semantic content and contribute to the meaning of the sentence in which they occur. In a traditional approach, nouns were said to name objects and other entities, lexical verb, lexical verbs to i ...
s and
function word In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken language), gestures (Signed language, sign language) and writing. Most languages ...
s, and some authors consider these identical, but the connection is not strict. Open classes are generally lexical categories in the stricter sense, containing words with greater semantic content, while closed classes are normally functional categories, consisting of words that perform essentially grammatical functions. This is not universal: in many languages verbs and adjectives''Adjective classes: a cross-linguistic typology,'' Robert M. W. Dixon, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, OUP Oxford, 2006''The Art of Grammar: A Practical Guide,'' Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald
p. 97
/ref> are closed classes, usually consisting of few members, and in Japanese the formation of new pronouns from existing nouns is relatively common, though to what extent these form a distinct word class is debated. Words are added to open classes through such processes as
compounding In the field of pharmacy, compounding (performed in compounding pharmacies) is preparation of a custom formulation of a medication to fit a unique need of a patient that cannot be met with commercially available products. This may be done for med ...
,
derivation Derivation may refer to: * Derivation (differential algebra), a unary function satisfying the Leibniz product law * Derivation (linguistics) * Formal proof or derivation, a sequence of sentences each of which is an axiom or follows from the precedi ...
, coining, and borrowing. When a new word is added through some such process, it can subsequently be used grammatically in sentences in the same ways as other words in its class. A closed class may obtain new items through these same processes, but such changes are much rarer and take much more time. A closed class is normally seen as part of the core language and is not expected to change. In English, for example, new nouns, verbs, etc. are being added to the language constantly (including by the common process of verbing and other types of
conversion Conversion or convert may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media * Conversion (Doctor Who audio), "Conversion" (''Doctor Who'' audio), an episode of the audio drama ''Cyberman'' * Conversion (Stargate Atlantis), "Conversion" (''Stargate Atlantis ...
, where an existing word comes to be used in a different part of speech). However, it is very unusual for a new pronoun, for example, to become accepted in the language, even in cases where there may be felt to be a need for one, as in the case of . The open or closed status of word classes varies between languages, even assuming that corresponding word classes exist. Most conspicuously, in many languages verbs and adjectives form closed classes of content words. An extreme example is found in Jingulu, which has only three verbs, while even the modern Indo-European
Persian Persian may refer to: * People and things from Iran, historically called ''Persia'' in the English language ** Persians, Persian people, the majority ethnic group in Iran, not to be conflated with the Iranian peoples ** Persian language, an Iranian ...
has no more than a few hundred simple verbs, a great deal of which are archaic. (Some twenty Persian verbs are used as
light verb In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the metho ...
s to form compounds; this lack of lexical verbs is shared with other Iranian languages.) Japanese is similar, having few lexical verbs.
Basque verbs The verb A verb, from the Latin ''wikt:verbum#Latin, verbum'' meaning ''word'', is a word (part of speech) that in syntax conveys an action (''bring'', ''read'', ''walk'', ''run'', ''learn''), an occurrence (''happen'', ''become''), or a state o ...
are also a closed class, with the vast majority of verbal senses instead expressed periphrastically. In
Japanese Japanese may refer to: * Something from or related to Japan , image_flag = Flag of Japan.svg , alt_flag = Centered deep red circle on a white rectangle , image_coat = Imperial Seal of J ...

Japanese
, verbs and adjectives are closed classes, though these are quite large, with about 700 adjectives,''The Art of Grammar: A Practical Guide,'' Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald
p. 96
/ref> and verbs have opened slightly in recent years. Japanese adjectives are closely related to verbs (they can predicate a sentence, for instance). New verbal meanings are nearly always expressed periphrastically by appending to a noun, as in , and new adjectival meanings are nearly always expressed by adjectival noun (Japanese), adjectival nouns, using the suffix when an adjectival noun modifies a noun phrase, as in . The closedness of verbs has weakened in recent years, and in a few cases new verbs are created by appending to a noun or using it to replace the end of a word. This is mostly in casual speech for borrowed words, with the most well-established example being , from . This recent innovation aside, the huge contribution of Sino-Japanese vocabulary was almost entirely borrowed as nouns (often verbal nouns or adjectival nouns). Other languages where adjectives are closed class include Swahili, Bemba language, Bemba, and Luganda. By contrast, Japanese pronouns are an open class and nouns become used as pronouns with some frequency; a recent example is , now used by some young men as a first-person pronoun. The status of Japanese pronouns as a distinct class is disputed, however, with some considering it only a use of nouns, not a distinct class. The case is similar in languages of Southeast Asia, including Thai and Lao, in which, like Japanese, pronouns and terms of address vary significantly based on relative social standing and respect.''The Art of Grammar: A Practical Guide,'' Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald
p. 98
/ref> Some word classes are universally closed, however, including demonstratives and interrogative words.


See also

* Part-of-speech tagging * Sliding window based part-of-speech tagging


Notes


References


External links

*
The parts of speech

Guide to Grammar and Writing

Martin Haspelmath. 2001. "Word Classes and Parts of Speech." In: Baltes, Paul B. & Smelser, Neil J. (eds.) ''International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences''. Amsterdam: Pergamon, 16538–16545.
(PDF) {{Authority control Grammar Parts of speech,