Syntactic Theory

Major Parts of Speech

General characteristics:

  • ostentive definition of the word's meaning is possible (i.e. definition by pointing at the object/ the activity)
  • the meaning is lexical, i.e. there is a referent in the world; we also call these words content words.
  • diachronically, the words emerge and disappear fast (If there are new inventions or items/ activities go out of use)
  • open word classes (i.e. words can be added to these classes)
  • the word classes are defined by operational tests (we use semantic, morphological and syntactic criteria since it is impossible to give a complete list)

These properties contrast with those of the minor parts of speech.

Major parts of speech in English:

Related page: classification of free morphemes?

Category: Glossary