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Published on January 11, 2008

Author: Silvestre

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HS Nouns and Noun Phrases:  HS Nouns and Noun Phrases Number, Gender, Case Bettina Jandt, Lena Bartylla Slide2:  Number  “The English number system constitutes a two-term contrast: singular, which denotes one, and plural, which denotes more than one.“ (Quirk et alii, Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, chapter 5, p. 314)   Number is “the grammatical category, most often associated with nouns and pronouns, whose primary correlation is with the number of distinguishable entities.” (Trask, A Dictionary of grammatical terms in Linguistics, London, p. 115)   “The grammatical term number is the name of the system contrasting singular and plural.” (Huddleston and Pullum, A Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, p. 484) Slide3:  three main number classes: 1) singular invariable nouns: a) noncount nouns b) proper nouns 2) plural invariable nouns: a) summation plurals b) pluralia tantum ending in -s and without any plural marking 3) variable nouns: have both singular and plural form a) regular nouns: predictable plural with -s b) irregular nouns: unpredictable plural, foreign plural, compounds Slide4:  1a) noncount nouns:   This chain is made of gold. vs *This chain is made of three golds. I like music. vs *I like three musics.   Invariable nouns ending in -s and -ics: What is the news today? vs *What are the news today? I study phonetics. vs *I study seven phonetics.   b) proper nouns:   I will visit America. vs *I will visit Americas.   Discuss: I met Tom. vs * I meet three Toms yesterday. Slide5:    2a) summation plurals:   These scissors are five Euro. vs * This scissors is five Euro.   These trousers are too expensive. vs *This trousers is too expensive.   b) pluralia tantum:   clothes: Kleidung vs cloth: Tischdecke; arms: Waffen vs arm: zielen   This vermin cause disease. vs *This vermin causes disease.   Slide6:  3a) Regular nouns: I see a dog. I see several dogs.   exceptions: nouns ending in –o: -os: embryo ~ embryos; zoo ~ zoos, dynamo ~ dynamos -oes: hero ~ heros; domino ~ dominoes; echo ~echoes nouns ending in –y: sky ~ skies day ~ days Slide7:  b) irregular plurals: calf ~ calves; knife ~ knifes   mouse ~ mice; tooth ~ teeth; louse ~ lice  child ~ children; ox ~ oxen; brother ~ brethren sheep ~ sheep; cattle ~ cattle; Chinese ~ Chinese Slide8:  foreign plurals: Latin: stimulus ~ stimuli; genus ~ genera; virus ~ viruses   larva ~ larvae; alga ~ algae; area ~ areas, arena ~ arenas   medium ~ media; curriculum ~ curricula   index ~ indices; codex ~ codices; appendix ~ appendixes; matrix ~ matrixes   Greek : basis ~ bases; thesis ~ theses; metropolis ~ metropolises   criterion ~ criteria; phenomenon ~ phenomena; electron ~ electrons; proton ~ protons   Slide9:  French: bureau ~ bureaux/bureaus   Italian: tempo ~ tempi; solo ~ solos; soprano ~ sopranos   Hebrew: kibbutz ~ kibbutzim; cherub ~ cherubs/cherubim; seraph ~ seraphs/seraphim Slide10:  compounds:   babysitter ~ babysitters; close up ~ close-ups   commander-in-chief ~ commanders-in-chief; mother-in-law ~ mothers-in-law Slide11:  Gender “The grammatical category of gender applies in the first instance to a system of noun classes differentiated by the agreement patterns they enter with associates words.” (Huddleston and Pullum, A Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, p. 484)     “By gender is meant a grammatical classification of nouns, pronouns, or other words in the noun phrase, according to certain meaning-related distinctions, especially a distinction related to the sex of the referent.” (Quirk et alii, Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, chapter 5, p. 314)     Gender is “a grammatical category found in certain languages by which nouns are divided into two or more classes requiring different agreement forms on determiners, adjectives, verbs or other words.” (Trask, A Dictionary of grammatical terms in Linguistics, London, p. 115) Slide12:  sex (biology) vs gender (gramar)         English French German the nice garden le joli jardin der schöne Garten the nice woman la jolie famme die schöne Frau the nice child --------- das schöne Kind   Slide13:  3 main gender classes: 1) personal: male, female, “dual gender” 2) nonpersonal (?): common, collective, animals 3) inanimates Slide14:  1) a) male and female nouns: male pronoun correference: who-he female pronoun correference: who-she   two types: 1) morphological unmarked bachelor ~ spinster; brother ~ sister 2) forms with derivational suffixes host ~ hostess; hero ~ heroine; usher~ usherette; emperor ~empress (marked female noun) bridegroom ~ bride; widower ~ widow (marked male noun)   b) “Dual gender” nouns: pronoun correference: who-he or she doctor; cook; artist; novelist; singer; enemy; speaker; writer a male/female cook Slide15:  2a) common gender: wide selection of pronouns: who/which-he/she/it, but not all are possible for every noun in every context I love my baby, she’s so cute. vs A child learns to speak the language of its environment.     b) collective nouns: pronoun correference: it-which, they-who   The army, it is at home now. vs The army, they are at home now.   The Commons, the Vatican; the United Nations     Slide16:  c) higher animals: Pronoun correference: masculine: which-he/it, who-he feminine: which-she/it, who-she “This dog is so big, I am afraid of it.” “This is my cat. She is quite old.” buck ~ doe; bull~cow; gander ~ goose; stallion ~ mare; lion ~ lioness; dog ~ bitch d) lower animals: pronoun correference: it-which beetle, butterfly, snake, toad, tadpole “Mary saw a butterfly and it was a yellow one.” Slide17:  3) Inanimate nouns: pronoun coreference: it-which “Where is my bike? I can’t find it.”   ”France has been able to increase her exports.”   ”This is the Titanic. She sank before she arrived her destination.”       Discuss: the term nonpersonal nouns   Slide18:  Case   Case as a General Term:   The term case applies in the first instance to a system of inflectional forms of a noun to mark the function of an NP relative to the construction containing it. Case is a grammatical category that can express a number of different relationships between nominal elements. Slide20:  Two-case system: 1. Plain/Common Case → a) Nominative/Subjective Case → b) Accusative/Objective Case 2. Genitive Case   Example: I slept soundly. → NP = Nom./Subj. Please help me. → NP = Acc./Obj. Where is my bag? → NP = Gen./A dependent of a larger NP Slide21:  Plain/Common Case Nominative vs. Accusative In Present-day English the contrast between nominative and accusative case is found only with a handful of pronouns:   Nom Plain Acc Personal : I Me We Us You He Him She Her They Them Interrogative : Who Whom Slide22:  Semantic Point of View The ‘central’ but far from the only use of the genitive, is to express possession!   Possessive Genitive: Example: Mrs’s Johnson’s passport → has a passport the earth’s gravity → the earth has a certain gravity Subjective Genitive: Example: the boy’s application → the boy applied for (…) her parents’ consent → the parents consented Objective Genitive: Example: the family’s support → (…) supports the family the boy’s release → released the boy Genitive of Origin: Example: the girl’s story → the girl told a story the general’s letter → the general wrote a letter Slide23:  Descriptive Genitive: Example: a women’s college → a college for women a summer’s day → a summer day, a day in the summer Genitive of Measure: Example: ten day’s absence → the absence lasted ten days Genitive of Attribute: Example: the victim’s courage → the victim had courage/the victim was courageous Partitive Genitive: Example: the baby’s eyes → the baby has (blue) eyes the earth’s surface → the earth has a (rough) surface Syntactic Point of View   Genitive as Determiner: Most commonly the genitive functions as a determinative: it fills a slot in the noun phrase equivalent to a central determiner such as the. This is so whether the genitive is a possessive pronoun, a single noun, or a noun accompanied by its own determiners and/or modifiers: Det Head the (new) desk her (new) desk Jenny‘s (new) desk My daughter‘s (new) desk :  Syntactic Point of View   Genitive as Determiner: Most commonly the genitive functions as a determinative: it fills a slot in the noun phrase equivalent to a central determiner such as the. This is so whether the genitive is a possessive pronoun, a single noun, or a noun accompanied by its own determiners and/or modifiers: Det Head the (new) desk her (new) desk Jenny‘s (new) desk My daughter‘s (new) desk Slide25:  Genitive as Modifier: There are occasional examples where the genitive acts as a modifier rather than as a determinative. There have a classifying role similar to that of noun modifiers and some adjective modifiers:   Example: There are several women’s universities in Tokyo. = several universities for women He wants to become a ship’s doctor when he grows up. = a doctor working on a ship Slide26:  The genitive and the of-construction:   John’s school but not: *the school of John The front of the house but not: *the house’s front   The explosion damaged the ship’s funnel. Having looked at all the funnels, she considered that the most handsome was the funnel of the Orion.     Criteria for use of genitive or use of of-construction: Personal nouns and collective nouns with personal gender characteristics Principle of end-focus and end-weight

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