The Parts of Speech. Word Classes.On the basis of various formal and semantic features words can be divided into grammatical classes which are called ‘parts of speech’. Some scholars refer to parts of speech as ‘lexico-grammatical’ series of words, or as ‘lexico-grammatical categories’.
The parts of speech can be defined as classes of words the members of which have certain characteristics in common distinguishing them from the members of other classes.
The problem of word classification into parts of speech still remains one of the most controversial problems in modern linguistics. The attitude of grammarians with regard to parts of speech and the basis of their classification varied a good deal at different times. Only in English grammarians have been vacillating between 3 and 13 parts of speech. There are four approaches to the problem:
1) Classical (logical-inflectional)
1) The classical parts of speech theory goes back to ancient times. It is based on Latin grammar. According to the Latin classification of the parts of speech all words were divided dichotomically into declinable and indeclinable parts of speech. This system was reproduced in the earliest English grammars. Declinable words included nouns, pronouns, verbs and participles, indeclinable words – adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections. This classification is quite successful for Latin or other languages with developed morphology and synthetic paradigms but it cannot be applied to the English language because the principle of declinability/indeclinability is not relevant for analytical languages.
2) The functional approach was introduced in the 19th century by Henry Sweet. He took into account the peculiarities of the English language. On the basis of the functional features of words he singled out nominative units (noun-words: noun, noun-pronoun, noun-numeral, infinitive, gerund, adjective-words: adjective,…