Answers to exercises: Chapter 3
1. Spot the word class
They gulched [verb quaffed] and guttled [verb guzzled]. Mephitically [adverb
offensively] alliaceous [adjective smelly] ventripotent [adjective big-bellied]
fopdoodles [noun fools] and gotchy [adjective bloated] slubberdegullions [noun
ratbags], she mussitated [verb muttered]. She fibulated [verb hesitated], piddling
[verb nibbling] moliminously [adverb laboriously] at the jejune [adjective
meagre] and unsaporous [adjective unsatisfying] grots [noun scraps] tofore
[preposition in front of*] her. Fackins [interjection Damn]! Pabulous [noun
the deipnetic [noun diner]. It was a niminy [adjective weak] gulosity [nounfor
gluttony], she wiste [verb knew] it, but they begat [verb caused] swilk
[demonstrative such*] an increment [noun increase] in her recrement [noun
saliva], a cupidity [noun desire] that was ineluctable [adjective inescapable] – it
was the flurch [noun abundance] of post-jentacular [adjective palate-tickling]
flampoints [noun tarts] and licious [adjective luscious] lozens [noun pastries].
Thilke [demonstrative those*] trogalions [noun sweets] she yissed [verb desired]
avidulously [adverb greedily]. She could but gorm [verb stare] esuriently
[adverb hungrily] at the ashet [noun dish]. She fimbled [verb touched] her falbala
[noun petticoat] aganacticiously [adverb anxiously].
*We’ve also included a number of functional (or grammatical) words: tofore, which is
an obsolete preposition (also conjunction) meaning something like ‘before’; swilk, a
demonstrative (and also pronoun), and an earlier and alternative form of such; thilke,
a demonstrative (and also pronoun), meaning ‘those, these’.
We will summarize how we assigned the word classes here: we classified all the items
on the basis of their grammatical behaviour; that is, their shape (i.e. their morphology)
and their position in the sentence (i.e. their syntax). All the verbs show typical
inflectional morphology: gulch and guttle take the typical past tense marker -ed;
nouns like fopdoodles and slubberdegullion take the plural ending -s. Adverbs here
show the common derivational -ly ending used to derive adverbs from adjectives:
aganacticiously and moliminously (but remember this ending can also be found on
adjectives, and there are many adverbs that don’t have it). Some adjectives here show
the classic -y deriviation ending: gotchy and niminy, but with these we also had to go
on position. As we discussed in the chapter, words of the same class will fill the same
basic slots in the recurrent patterns of a language. These adjectives occur just before
the noun in the noun phrase.
2. Word classes in non-normal speech
well [adverb] the [det.] - - boy [noun] is [verb] - - slipped [verb] - going [verb] -
over [adverb] - but [conjunction] he [pronoun]’s [verb] getting [verb] the [det.] -
- - - what [pronoun] d’[verb] you [pronoun] call [verb] em [pronoun] - - oh
[interjection] - - cakes [noun] any anyway [adverb] - he [pronoun] ’s [verb]
getting [verb] but [conj.] slowly [adverb] coming [verb] bang [interjection
indicating a noise] and [conj.] he [pronoun] ’s [verb] over [adverb] - and [conj.]
second [quant. determiner] one [pronoun] she [pronoun]’s [verb] just [adverb] 2
watching [verb] and [conj.] - oh [interjection] terrible [adjective] - she’s [verb]
just [adverb] running [verb] the [determiner] hot [adjective] water [noun] or
[conj.] something [pronoun] just [adverb] - all [adverb] over [preposition] the
[determiner] place [noun] - everywhere [adverb] - washing [noun] – that
[pronoun] ’s [verb] all [adverb] right [adverb] but [conj.] she [pronoun] still
[adverb] sees [verb] the [determiner] - - turns [verb] it [pronoun] off
[particle/adverb] - but [conj.] no [adverb] she [pronoun] doesn’t [verb] it
[pronoun] ’s [verb] everything [pronoun] ’s [verb] terrible [adjective]
Verbs are used more frequently here; also nouns and pronouns. There is not much in
the way of modification (most of the adverbs here are discourse markers, providing
comment on the sentence).
3. Classes and form of nouns and verbs
You may argue that you immediately come across a difficulty: the very first looks like
a noun phrase in that it starts with the and is the complement of a preposition, from.
So you may have started to look for a noun in there and decided that first was the best
contender. However, you might then also have spotted that there are problems with
first as a noun: the major one is that it is modified by very and that is a modifier of
adjectives, not of nouns. If this is how you thought about it, you were absolutely right.
The very first is a noun phrase, but it has no noun; the noun – probably something like
time – has been left understood. We call this a case of ELLIPSIS.
was is a verb. It is a form of the verb BE; in particular, it is the past tense singular
first or third person form.BE is unusual for an English verb in that it has
different forms in the past tense: I/she was vs. you/we/they were. Was is not just
any old verb, it is an auxiliary verb:it can invert with the subject to form an
interrogative – was this an artist who …? – and it can carry the negation – this
wasn’t an artist who …
artist is a noun; it can combine with the to form a noun phrase on its own and it can
also combine with the possessive ’s; the artist’s. It is a count noun since it can
also combine with an and occur in plural: an artist, artists.
madeis a verb in its past tense. It could have been changed to the present:who makes
look (or look at) is a verb, but it occurs here in a non-finite form. You can tell
because in this use, it cannot be changed from present to past tense, they way
we were able to do with made: *made us looked at… Of all the non-finite
forms, this form – the BASE FORM – is the most difficult to spot since it is the
same as the plural present tense form (for all verbs apart from BE). The best way
to spot the difference is to try to turn it into past tense and see whether it works.
familiar The same arguments we used for the very first can be used for the
familiar; we could have said the very familiar.
eyes and ears are both plural count nouns: theycan combine with the and they do
have a singular form– the eyes, the ears, an eye and an ear. You can also use
these words with the possessive ’s, but it sounds a little unusual, since ’s would
tend to be used mainly with animate nouns.
critics is a plural count noun; the critics, a critic, the critic’s. 3
tie is a verb; it is the finite third person plural form. It is not the non-finite form,
because it could have occurred in the past tense here:some critics tied
themselves in knots.
knotsis a plural count noun; the knot, aknot.
analysing is the -ing form of the verb analyse.
Dylan is a noun; it already combines with the possessive ’s. S