29 votes
Accepted

What is the idea behind calling the adverb the garbage can of words?

Traditional grammarians going all the way back to Donatus are accused of classifying as adverb any word they couldn't make fit anywhere else in the canonical parts of speech. It's a very old ...
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25 votes

What is the proper definition of a verb?

It's important to draw a distinction between syntax and semantics. In syntax (how words fit together), words are put into "categories" based on the way they fit together with others. If I ...
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  • 51k
16 votes
Accepted

Is a language possible without verbs or without nouns?

It is not possible for there to be a human language that does not have a way of referring to entities, or to predicate states and actions of an entity. If that is what you mean by "noun" and "verb", ...
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  • 66.7k
12 votes

Are words classified (PoS) according to their use in a sentence, or does classification precede usage?

Short, snappy answer: parts of speech are a lie perpetuated by Big Syntax. Longer, actually useful answer: parts of speech are an abstraction created by linguists to explain how syntax works. There's ...
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  • 51k
11 votes

A list of parts of speech

The problem with this question is that parts of speech are just a construct used for the description of language - not necessarily a real thing in a language. You can see that across languages only ...
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10 votes
Accepted

What are "Auxilliary nouns" in Kyrgyz?

As far as I'm aware, "auxiliary noun" is essentially a synonym for "relational noun" (see Wikipedia). These are basically nouns that can be used to fulfil the role of adpositions, ...
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  • 1,069
8 votes
Accepted

A list of parts of speech

The most important message is that about one dozen parts of speech seem to be sufficient for part-of-speech (POS) tagging. Additional markers often include things not classically regarded as parts of ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Do all languages have the same set of grammatical relations?

I assume, based on the your posts elsewhere, that by 'sentence parts', you are referring to grammatical relations (GRs) like subject, object, etc. In the future, it would be clearer for you to call ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Given all the languages that have ever existed, is there a limit for different parts of speech?

First of all, part-of-speech is not an observable. It is a latent category inferred from the utterances we can analyse. As a latent category, it is dependent on our analysis. There are lots of ...
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7 votes
Accepted

Why words in many romance languages don't have more than one part of speech, unlike words in English

As you are looking for a term, it is zero derivation. English has zero derivation turning a verb into a noun and vice versa. Note that 'record and re'cord aren't an example for zero derivation, in the ...
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7 votes

What is the proper definition of a verb?

Semantically, there are two main functions in language: reference and predication. Some morphological items or words primarily refer to entities in the perceived world, while other items relate the ...
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  • 201
6 votes

What really makes adverbs different from adjectives?

If we step off linguistic terminology to some philosophy, everything becomes more straightforward. Adjectives define properties of "things"; Adverbs define properties of "relations". TL;DR Human ...
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  • 8,501
6 votes
Accepted

What is the relation between a specifier and a determiner?

Determiner is a grammatical category for words like "the" and "a." Some theories claim that possessive 's is also a determiner. Specifier is a grammatical relation in certain theories, such as X-bar ...
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  • 2,324
5 votes

Are there some analyses or linguists with the view that Chinese does not have lexical word class?

You wrote about the claim 'that Chinese words can mostly be used as any part of speech.' While the claim is untrue, I can see why people fall for it. The relationship between lexical word class and ...
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5 votes

Infinitive verbs in syntax tree

This answer is based on chapter 2 (section 8: "Infinitival to) of Minimalist Syntax: Exploring the structure of English by Andrew Radford (2004), and "Auxiliaries: To's company" (2012) by Robert ...
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5 votes
Accepted

If two verbs are in a row, is the first always an Auxiliary?

No. Your rule mostly works, but "in a row" fails to capture constructions like "He has definitely gone", where has is still an auxiliary. In fact, trying to analyse syntax just by considering the ...
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  • 6,279
5 votes

Are modal verbs lexical or grammatical categories?

I think I must be interpreting the question differently from Greg Lee, because my answer is that (at least in English) they must be a grammatical category, because they are different in syntax from ...
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  • 6,279
5 votes
Accepted

Parts-of-speech tagging and finding relevant phrases in documents

[ If I understand, you ideally want all meaningful phrases even where the head is not a noun, eg "save the day", "ready for action", "fantastically" or "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". ] You ...
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5 votes

Can “to” ever be a Prep or a Particle before “be”

"Can where he went to be revealed?" from: Q (where he went to can be revealed) Q (someone can reveal Q (he went to where)) Schematically, we start with ... can reveal ... [PP to where] which ...
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  • 12.3k
5 votes

What does every verb have in common?

From a linguistic perspective, there is nothing semantic or functional that distinguishes verbs from other word classes. For example, "tall" is an adjective in English, but in many languages it is a ...
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  • 66.7k
5 votes
Accepted

What is it called when words like "what" and "how", aren't acting interrogatively, and aren't relative-pronouns?

What a good question! [sorry, couldn't resist that]. Now seriously, as you said you don't know, neither did I. So I got to do a quick search on my favorite site [wiktionary] for this kind of ...
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  • 412
5 votes

Stolen, part of speech

As Greg Lee indicates, participles are commonly considered to remain verbs, despite being used "like adjectives" in many cases. However, the situation is a bit confusing because, as far as I know, ...
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  • 16.5k
5 votes
Accepted

Infinitive Marker

It turns out, "parts of speech" are one of those formalisms that's taught in all the schools, but isn't always useful when you start looking closer. Fundamentally, "part of speech" is a word's role ...
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  • 51k
5 votes

What is the proper definition of a verb?

What's a verb? It's different in every language. In English, I can see how you don't want to put is and leaves in the same category. And you're right about why is is considered a verb. But it's not ...
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  • 9,607
4 votes
Accepted

How to determine if a word is a verb besides looking in a list of verbs?

Since your goal is POS-tagging, looking up the word in a list may not always be helpful, because the same word may act like one of many classes, depending on its context. (See "set", for example.) ...
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  • 3,487
4 votes
Accepted

Can training a Part-of-Speech tagger and parser at the same time improve parsing results?

I think you are talking about joint POS tagging and parsing. If you do not limit yourself to the neural network framework. The following paper can help: graph-based parser: Joint models for Chinese ...
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  • 101
4 votes

What part of speech is "as their native"?

The number of people who speak English as their native language will decline. The string as their native comprises three separate items: the preposition "as", the genitive pronoun "their" and the ...
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  • 41
4 votes

Part of Speech in English

I'm assuming you're talking about derivational morphology: adding prefixes and suffixes to words to change their part of speech. The answer is: because it gives you more words! Take the word "...
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  • 51k
4 votes

What does every verb have in common?

Nothing. The premise of the question seems to be that the part of speech of a word is somehow deducible from observable facts. This general empiricist view was probably prevalent in American "...
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  • 12.3k
4 votes

What does every verb have in common?

Prof. Lee and user6726 have given excellent answers above. Though I think the OP's use of semantic criterion isn't completely wrong: The problem is, as Prof. Lee has pointed out above, that he assumes ...
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