Update: 2012-11-24 07:01 AM +0630ch02vocab

TIL

TIL Grammar Glossary

I01.htm

Compiled by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning, http://www.tuninst.net ), from various sources. Prepared for students of TIL Computing and Language Center, Yangon, Myanmar. Not for sale.

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GramGloss-indx.htm

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Grammar Glossary - I

idiolect idiom illustrated dictionary illustration or support imagery imperative inanimate noun inchoative verb indefinite article indefinite pronoun independent clause indicative indirect object indirect question indirect quotation (indirect discourse) indirect speech inductive reasoning infinitive infinitive marker infinitive phrase inflection inflectional suffix informal intensifier intensive pronoun interjection interpretation interrogative interrogative adjective interrogative pronoun intransitive verb introduction invention inversion IRC irony irregular plural irregular verb isolating language

UKT Notes
infinitive inflection isolating language

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idiolect

Form UseE
A person's idiolect is their own personal language, the words they choose and any other features that characterise their speech and writing. Some people have distinctive features in their language; these would be part of their idiolect, their individual linguistic choices and idiosyncrasies.

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idiom 

See TIL English Idiom Collection, a collection from various sources by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning, http://www.tuninst.net ) for staff and students of TIL Computing and Language Center, Yangon, Myanmar. Not for sale.

From LBH
idiom grammar
An expression that is peculiar to a language and that may not make sense if taken literally, for example:

dark horse
bide your time
by and large

See p.573 for a list of idioms involving prepositions, such as:

agree with them
agree to the contract.

From UseE
A phrase which has a meaning that is commonly understood by speakers of the language, but whose meaning is often different from the normal meaning of the words is called an IDIOM.

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illustrated dictionary

From UseE
An illustrated dictionary uses pictures, visuals, graphics and diagrams to group words together into logical groups and allow any student to understand exactly what the word means.
     CD-ROM and some of the on-line dictionaries also have animations, sound and video files to make life easier.

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illustration or support

From LBH
Supplying examples or reasons to develop an idea. (See pp. 27 and 9697.)

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imagery

From LBH
Pictures created by words that appeal to the sense of sight, hearing, touch, taste, or smell.

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imperative

See base form mood (mode). 

From UseE
Imperatives are verbs used to give orders, commands and instructions. The form used is usually the same as the base form. It is one of the three moods of an English verb. Imperatives should be used carefully in English; to give firm orders or commands, but not as much when trying to be polite or show respect to the other person.

Give me that tape, please.

 

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inanimate noun

From UseE
An inanimate noun refers to things that are not alive. An animate noun refers to living things such as people and animals.

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inchoative verb

From UseE
An inchoative verb is a verb that describes a change of state.

The apples ripened.
   The apples became ripe.

He has aged a lot.
   He has become old.

 

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indefinite article

From UseE
There are two indefinite articles in English: 'a' and 'an'. They are used before a singular noun that has a plural form. 'A' is used before a consonant sound and 'an' is used before a vowel sound .
     The sound is more important than the spelling; we say 'an umbrella' and 'a union' because the sounds of the first letter are different.

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indefinite pronoun

See pronoun.

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independent clause

See clause.

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indicative 

See mood (mode).

From AHTD
adj. 1. Serving to indicate: symptoms indicative of anemia; an insignia indicative of high rank. 2. Abbr. indic. Grammar Of, relating to, or being the mood of the verb used in ordinary objective statements. n. Abbr. indic. Grammar 1. The indicative mood. 2. A verb in the indicative mood.indic atively adv.

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indirect object

See object.

From UseE
The indirect object of a verb is not directly affected by the action, but can either receive the direct object or have the action done for them.

She sent James the letter.
('letter' is the direct object as it is directly affected by the action and 'James' is the indirect object as he receives the letter.

They made him dinner.
'Dinner' is the direct object as it is created by the action and 'him' is the indirect object as the dinner is made for him.

These sentences can also be written as follows:

She sent the letter to James.
They made dinner for him.

From AHTD
1. An object indirectly affected by the action of a verb,
as me in
     Sing me a song
and the turtle in
     He feeds the turtle lettuce.

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indirect question

From LBH
A sentence reporting a question, usually in a subordinate clause, and ending with a period:

Writers wonder whether their work must be lonely.

Contrast direct question.

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indirect quotation (indirect discourse)

See quotation.

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indirect speech

From UseE
Indirect Speech (also called Reported Speech) is used to communicate what someone else said, but without using the exact words.

He said that he was going to come.

(The person's exact words were "I'm going to come.")

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inductive reasoning

From LBH
Inferring a generalization from specific evidence. Contrast deductive reasoning. (See p. 166.)

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infinitive

See infinitive in my note

From LBH
A verbal formed from the plain form of the verb plus the infinitive marker to:

to swim 
to write

Infinitives and infinitive phrases may function as nouns adjectives  adverbs 
See also verbal verbal phrase.  (See p. 271.)

From UseE
The Infinitive usually occurs with 'to ' (for example to go, to come, to wear etc.), except after an auxiliary or modal verb.
It is a verb form that shows no person, tense or aspect.

You don't know her.
You may come.

The following verb forms are derived from the Infinitive:
1.  Imperative
     (same as Infinitive but without 'to ')
2.  Present Simple
     (same as Infinitive without 'to' but the third person singular takes 's')
3.  Present Participle or Gerund
     (add '-ing')

From AHTD
1. A verb form that functions as a substantive while retaining certain verbal characteristics, such as modification by adverbs, and that in English may be preceded by to, as in:
     To go willingly is to show strength.
     We want him to work harder

may also occur without to, as in
     She had them read the letter.
     We may finish today.
See note at split infinitive

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infinitive marker

See infinitive.

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infinitive phrase

From LBH
A word group consisting of an infinitive plus any subject, objects, or modifiers.
See also verbal verbal phrase .

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inflection

See inflection in my notes.

From LBH
The variation in the form of a word that indicates its function in a particular context:
     declension  - the inflection of nouns and pronouns 
     conjugation  - the inflection of verbs
     comparison  - the inflection of adjectives and adverbs.

From UseE  
INFLECTION , also spelt 'INFLEXION', is a system in which words' forms are altered by an affix. Nouns in English can be changed to show plurality, the 3rd person singular of most verbs is inflected by the addition of -s, etc.

AHTD
1. An alternation of the form of a word by adding affixes, as in English:
          dogs from dog,
    
or by changing the form of a base, as in English
          spoke
from speak,
    
that indicates grammatical features such as number, person, mood, or tense.
2. The paradigm of a word.
3. A pattern of forming paradigms, such as noun inflection or verb inflection.

From Lonsdale 1899 p043
Nouns undergo a change of form to indicate number, gender and case. In Burmese, however, these distinctions are made without any inflexion.

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inflectional suffix

See suffix.

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informal

See formal and informal.

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intensifier

From LBH
A modifier that adds emphasis to the word(s) it modifies, for example:
     very slow
     so angry

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intensive pronoun

See pronoun.

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interjection 

From LBH
A word standing by itself or inserted in a construction to exclaim or command attention:
     Hey!
     Ouch!
     What the heck did you do that for?

From AHTD
1. A sudden, short utterance; an ejaculation.
2. A part of speech usually expressing emotion and capable of standing alone, such as
     Ugh!
or Wow!

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interpretation

From LBH
The determination of meaning or significance for instance, in a work such as a poem or in the literature on some issue such as job discrimination. (See pp. 13133, 796.)

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interrogative

From LBH
Functioning as or involving a question.

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interrogative adjective

See adjective.

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interrogative pronoun

See pronoun.

From UseE
A Wh-question word, when it acts as a pronoun is an interrogative pronoun:

What is her phone number?
Who is in charge?

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intransitive verb

See transitive verb .

From LBH
A verb that does not take a direct object:

The woman laughed.

(See pp. 25960.)

From UseE
An intransitive verb is one that does not take an object.

They arrived.
The verb does not require an object to complete it.

From AHTD
intransitive Grammar adj. Abbr. intr. int. i. 1. Designating a verb or verb construction that does not require or cannot take a direct object, as run or sleep. n. 1. An intransitive verb.

UKT (the following to be checked with peers)
The intransitive verb is a verb in a sentence with canonical structure SV (Subject-Verb). In TIL Grammar in Plain English Chapter 1 (ch01.htm), it is described as the action (V) which is done by the performer (S).

(The following is taken from TIL Grammar in Plain English, Chapter 1)
Of the three words which make up the sentence, the only word we know is T-H-E, The. The other two are nonsense words and have no meaning in plain English. Yet we know that something or someone <flink> is the doer, and that it or he had done something <glopped>. The action had taken place in the past, and that flink is probably singular.

<sentence> hso ta a.Daip~p rhi. t. sa.ka: ko hso lo t// a.Daip~p a.pr a.son ma.thi. thau-l: Ba a.kraung: l: hso-ta na:l ring <sentence> hpric pa-t//

tha.ti. hta: ra. mha ka. sa n. sa.ka: ko hkw:hkra: thi. Bo. lo t// sa hso ta sa.ka: ko ka.kri: hka.hkw: tho.ma.hoat <A B C D> n. r: hta: ta hpric t// sa r: tau. poad-ma. poad-hprat <comma> <full-stop> sa. lo. <punctuation> tw ht. r: t// sa.ka: prau: tau. a.thn ko hprat prau: ra. t/ na: prau: ra. t//

<the flink glopped> hso t. <sentence> ko/ ta.lon:hking: pi-pi-tha.tha. prau: kr. pa// <monosyllabic> a.thn thon: thn pa t//

<the> ko hp leik pa// ba.ma sa.ka: twing ma.lo-Bu:// da-mha. ma.hoat <flink> n. tw: leik pa// th-tau. <the flink> hpric thwa: t//

<the flink> ha loap hsaung thu hpric t// <the flink> r. a.Daip~p ko thi. r. la:// thi. sa.ra ma.lo Bu:// <the flink> hso t. a.kaung ta.kaung/ lu-ta.yauk ha ta.hku.hku. ko pru. loap t// Ba-loap tha. l:// ma.thi.Bu://

loap hsaung thu ha <noun, N> mya: hpric kra. t//

loap-ta-ka. <glop> loap ta t.// <glop> loap ta ha <sleep> aip-ta-la: / <eat> sa:ta-la: hso ta ma.thi.Bu:// ta.hku.hku.tau. loap ta a.mhan B://

loap-ta-ka. <verb, V> mya: hpric t//

B-ton: ka. loap tha.l:/ a.hku. la:// ma.hoat-Bu:/ a.ring ka. loap hk. ta hpric t// B-lo-loap thi. ta l:// <glop> mha <-ed> pa lo.//

<flink> B-nh-yauk loap-kra.ta-l:// tic.yauk ht: hpric m hting t// B-lo thi. tha. l:// <flink> nauk-mha <-s> ma.pa-Bu://

:th-tau. <the flink glopped> hso t. sa.ka: thn kra: ta n. a.Daip~p a.pr. tau. ma.thi.Bu:/ Ba-a.kraung: prau: n ta l: tau. thi. t// :Da-myo: ko <sentence> lo. hkau t//

tha.ti. ta.hku. hta: mi. r. la:// <the flink> loap-thu ka. a.ring la t/ nauk-mha <glopped> loap.t. a.kraung: ka. la-t// <doer> <action> a.si-a.si ha n~ga.lait sa.ka: r. <syntax> hpric t// :di. <syntax> kraung. <The flink glopped.> hso-t. <sentence> ko na:l ta hpric t//

na.mu-na a.n n. <flink> ko <dog> n. a.sa: hto: pa/ <glopped> ko <barked> n. a.sa: hto: pa// <The dog barked> hpric thwa: t//

{hkw: haung th}

a.si-a.si ko praung: leik pa// <barked the dog> hpric thwa: lo. na: ma.l tau.Bu:// ba.ma sa.ka: n. ta.lon:hkying: a.sa: hto: kr. pa//

(hkw: haung th) a.si-a.si ka. (haung th hkw:) hpric thwa: pri: mha: thwa: tau. t//

The point we would like to make here is: In day-to-day speech, we do not have to hear let alone understand every word.

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introduction

From LBH
The opening of an essay, a transition for readers between their world and the writer's. The introduction often contains a statement of the writer's thesis. (See pp. 10609 for suggestions.)

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invention

From LBH
The discovery and exploration of ideas, usually occurring most intensively in the early stages of the writing process. (See pp. 929 for invention techniques.)

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inversion

From LBH
A reversal of usual word order in a sentence, as when a verb precedes its subject (S) or an object (V) precedes its verb:

Down swooped the hawk.

Our aims we stated clearly.

UKT
Though above sentences are correct, I would advice Myanmar students not to emulate such styles. They should keep their sentences as simple as possible noting that the syntax in English is SVO (Subject-Verb-Object), whereas in Burmese-Myanmar it is SOV. The above sentences should be written:

The hawk swooped down.

We stated our aims clearly.

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IRC 

See synchronous communication.

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irony 

From LBH
The use of words to suggest a meaning different from what the words say literally:

What a happy face!
(said to someone scowling miserably)

With that kind of planning, prices are sure to go down.
(written with the expectation that prices will rise).

From UseE
Irony is common in English, especially in humour. When the speaker or writer says one thing but wants you to understand something different, they are being ironic.
     Sometimes the implied meaning is the opposite of the words being used, or the person could be trying to be rude, even though the words used are seemingly polite etc.
Your friend turns up in ripped jeans. With a smirk, you say,

"I see you have put on your best clothes!"

 

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irregular plural nouns

From UseE
There are many different types of irregular nouns in English that do not add a final '-s ' to make the plural. Some do not change (SHEEP), while others change internal letters (WOMAN- WOMEN), or add letters (CHILD- CHILDREN, OX- OXEN).

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irregular verb

See regular verb .

From LBH

A verb that forms its past tense and past participle in some other way than by the addition of -d or -ed to the plain form :
     go / went / gone 
     give / gave / given
 
(See pp. 30405 for a list of irregular verbs.)

From UseE

An irregular verb is one that does not take the -ed ending for the Past Simple and Past Participle forms. Some verbs do not change:
     put / put / put
while others change completely:
     buy / bought / bought
Irregular Verbs fall into 5 categories:
1. Base Form
2. Past Simple
3. Past Participle
4. 3rd Person Singular
5. Present Participle / Gerund

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irregular_verbs 090101

In contrast to regular verbs, irregular verbs are those verbs that fall outside the standard patterns of conjugation in the languages in which they occur.

When comparing languages, one measure often brought into play as one of the few quantitative statistics for a language is the number of irregular verbs in that language. These counts are not particularly accurate for a wide variety of reasons, detailed in this article.

What counts as "regular"

For there to be irregular verbs in a language, obviously there must be regular verbs. English has several regular groups of verbs which are typically predictable (i.e., if one is shown the verb and is told it is not irregular, one can know instantly with perfect accuracy how to conjugate it without the need to have it pre-sorted into a class of verbs).

Classes of verbs in English include:

Ending in "e": care, cares, cared, caring
Ending in "o": coo, coos, cooed, cooing
Ending in "i": ski, skis, skied, skiing
Ending in "y" as a vowel (i.e., preceded by a consonant): try, tries, tried, trying
Ending in "y" as a consonant: fray, frays, frayed, fraying
Ending in single consonant (besides "y") preceded by single stressed vowel: zap, zaps, zapped, zapping
Ending in consonant otherwise: trick, tricks, tricked, tricking

Other languages have different numbers of regular verbs; for instance, French divides regular verbs into just three categories ("er", "ir", and "re" endings). How many patterns of conjugation are considered to be standard in a given language is often up for debate. If a large enough group of irregular verbs in a language have parallel conjugations, it is almost arbitrary whether to count that as an additional "standard" conjugation or as a large collection of irregular verbs. (In Spanish, for example, there are nearly as many verbs that conjugate like pensar as those that do so like vivir, and most of the latter type of verbs are very rarely used, yet vivir is always considered to be regular and pensar to be irregular.)

Differentiating between regular and irregular

What counts as an irregular verb is strongly dependent on the language itself. In [UKT: modern] English, the surviving strong verbs are considered to be irregular. In Old English, by contrast, the strong verbs are usually not considered to be irregular, at least not only by virtue of being strong verbs: there were several recognized classes of strong verbs, which were regular within themselves.

In Latin, similarly, most verbs outside the first or fourth conjugations have three principal parts, which form part of the lexicon and must be learned. The three principal parts are the present tense first-person singular stem, the present infinitive, the perfect tense stem, and the past participle; a variety of inflections, ablaut, and sometimes reduplication are used to form these parts. For example, the principal parts of spondeō ("I promise") include spondēre ("to promise"), spopondī ("I promised"), showing reduplication, and sponsus ("promised"); these forms cannot be predicted from the present stem, but when you know all four, the entire system can be constructed from these three parts by rule. This verb is not usually considered to be irregular in Latin. Latin also exhibits deponent verbs, inflected in the passive voice alone; and defective verbs, missing some principal parts. Truly irregular verbs in Latin are a rather small class; they include esse ("to be"); dare and its derivatives ("to give"); edere ("to eat"); ferre and its derivatives ("to carry"); velle and its derivatives ("to wish"); ire and its derivatives ("to go"); fieri ("to become")and malle ("to prefer"). Most irregular Latin verbs are themselves vestiges of the athematic conjugations of Indo-European, a surviving (and regular) group found in Greek.

Greek and Sanskrit show even greater complexities, with widely different thematic and athematic inflection sets; which set goes with which verb stem cannot be predicted by rule. In languages of this type, these variations are not usually enough to label a verb "irregular". They instead form a part of the lexicon; when a verb is learned, the various patterns used to conjugate it must also be learned.

By contrast, in modern English, the strong verbs are largely a closed and vestigial class. (Analogy has created a few new strong verbs, such as dive.) All of the surviving strong verbs differ markedly from other verbs, and thus are classified as "irregular"; here, they are conspicuous exceptions in the midst of a much larger class of rule-bound regular verbs.

Prefixed verbs

In English, to withhold conjugates exactly like to hold, and in Spanish, detener ("to detain") conjugates exactly like tener ("to have"). In each case, it is questionable if the compound verb and the main verb are both irregular verbs, or as a single irregular verb, with an optional prefix. The question is compounded by the fact that it is not always predictable if the compound conjugates the same as the base. In Spanish, bendecir ("to bless") conjugates almost exactly like decir ("to say"), but there are significant differences in a few tenses that are impossible to foresee.

Irregular in spelling only

In some languages, the count of irregular verbs could be greatly expanded if one were to count verbs that are irregular only in their spelling, but not in their pronunciation. For example, in Spanish, the verb rezar ("to pray") is conjugated in the present subjunctive as rece, reces, rece, etc. The substitution of "c" for "z" does not affect the pronunciation. It is strictly a matter of orthography and can be perfectly predicted (if one knew the rules of Spanish pronunciation and orthography but had never seen the verb "rezar" before, one would still know that the verb would have to be spelled with a "c" in the present subjunctive). Therefore, this verb is not always considered to be irregular.

English has similar cases; the verb "pay" sounds regular: "I pay", "I paid", and "I have paid" are all pronounced as expected. But the spelling is irregular and that cannot be perfectly predicted for example, "pay" and "lay" turn into "paid" and "laid", but "sway" and "stay" turn into "swayed" and "stayed". For this reason "pay" and verbs like it are almost always considered to be irregular.

UKT: Consider the two pairs of verbs :

pay --> paid
lay --> laid (pronunciation: regular ; spelling: irregular . Therefore, considered to be irregular.)

sway --> swayed
stay --> stayed (both pronunciation and spelling regular )

UKT: End of Wikipedia article.

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isolating language aka analytic language

Not entered in AHTD
See isolating language in my notes.

From: SIL http://www.sil.org/linguistics/GlossaryOfLinguisticTerms/WhatIsAnIsolatingLanguage.htm 080821
Definition: An isolating language is a language in which almost every word consists of a single morpheme.
Also known as: Analytic language.
Discussion: Isolating languages are especially common in Southeast Asia.|
Example: Vietnamese . Source: Comrie 1989 43

khi ti dn nh ban ti, chng ti bt du lm bi.
literal: (when I come house friend I Plural I begin do lesson)
When I came to my friend's house, we began to do lessons.

Contrast: The opposite of a highly isolating language is a highly polysynthetic language.

UKT:
{nga. thu-ng-hkying: aim ko rauk-thwa:-tau. nga-to. sa-loap kra. t}
literal: (I friend house reach-{tau.} I-{to.} lesson do-{kra.} {t})
When I came to my friend's house, we do lessons.

 

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UKT notes

infinitive

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinitive 080710

In grammar, infinitive is the name for certain verb forms that exist in many languages. In the usual (traditional) description of English, the infinitive of a verb is its basic form with or without the particle to: therefore, do and to do, be and to be, and so on are infinitives. As with many linguistic concepts, there is not a single definition of infinitive that applies to all languages; however, in languages that have infinitives, they generally have most of the following properties:

In most of their uses, infinitives are non-finite verbs.
They function as other lexical categories usually nouns within the clauses that contain them, for example by serving as the subject of another verb.
They do not represent any of the verb's arguments (as employer and employee do).
They are not inflected to agree with any subject, and their subject, if they have one, is not case-marked as such.
They cannot serve as the only verb of a declarative sentence.
They are the verb's lemma, citation form, and/or name ; that is, they are regarded as its basic uninflected form, and/or they are used in giving its definition or conjugation.
They do not have tense, aspect, moods, and/or voice, or they are limited in the range of tenses, aspects, moods, and/or voices that they can use. (In languages where infinitives do not have moods at all, they are usually treated as being their own non-finite mood.)
They are used with auxiliary verbs.

However, it bears repeating that none of the above is a defining quality of the infinitive; infinitives do not have all these properties in every language, as it is shown below, and other verb forms may have one or more of them. For example, English gerunds and participles have most of these properties as well.

Infinitives in English
English has three non-finite verbal forms, but by long-standing convention, the term "infinitive" is applied to only one of these. (The other two are the past- and present-participle forms, where the present-participle form is also the gerund form.) In English, a verb's infinitive is its unmarked form, such as be, do, have, or sit, often introduced by the particle to . [UKT: Hence, to is also known as the infinitive marker.] When this particle is absent, the infinitive is said to be a bare infinitive ; when it is present, it is generally considered to be a part of the infinitive, then known as the full infinitive (or to-infinitive), and there is a controversy about whether it should be separated from the main word of the infinitive. (See Split infinitive.) Nonetheless, modern theories typically do not consider the to-infinitive to be a distinct constituent, instead taking the particle to to operate on an entire verb phrase; so, to buy a car is parsed as to {buy {a car}}, not as {to buy} {a car}.

The bare infinitive and the full infinitive are in complementary distribution. They are not generally interchangeable, but the distinction does not generally affect the meaning of a sentence; rather, certain contexts call almost exclusively for the bare infinitive, and all other contexts call for the full infinitive.

Huddleston and Pullum's recent Cambridge Grammar of the English Language (CGEL) does not use the notion of the infinitive, arguing that English uses the same form of the verb, the plain form, in infinitival clauses that it uses in imperative and present- subjunctive clauses.

Uses of the bare infinitive
The bare infinitive is used in a rather limited number of contexts, but some of these are quite common:

The bare infinitive is used as the main verb after the dummy auxiliary verb do, or any modal auxiliary verb (such as will, can, or should), except that ought usually takes a to-infinitive. So, "I will/do/can/etc. see it."

Several common verbs of perception, including see, watch, hear, feel, and sense take a direct object and a bare infinitive, where the bare infinitive indicates an action taken by the main verb's direct object. So, "I saw/watched/heard/etc. it happen." (A similar meaning can be effected by using the present participle instead: "I saw/watched/heard/etc. it happening." The difference is that the former implies that the entirety of the event was perceived, while the latter implies that part of the progress of the event was perceived.)

Similarly with several common verbs of permission or causation, including make, bid, let, and have. So, "I made/bade/let/had him do it." (However, make takes a to-infinitive in the passive voice: "I was made to do it.")

The bare infinitive is the dictionary form of a verb, and is generally the form of a verb that receives a definition; however, the definition itself generally uses a to-infinitive. So, "The word 'amble' means 'to walk slowly.'"

The bare infinitive form is also the present subjunctive form and the imperative form, although most grammarians do not consider uses of the present subjunctive or imperative to be uses of the bare infinitive.

Uses of the full infinitive
The full infinitive (or to-infinitive) is used in a great many different contexts:

Outside of dictionary headwords, it is the most commonly used citation form of the English verb: "How do we conjugate the verb to go?"

It can be used like a noun phrase, expressing its action or state in an abstract, general way. So, "To err is human"; "To know me is to love me". (However, a gerund is often preferred for this "Being is doing" would be more natural than the abstract and philosophical sounding "To be is to do." (infi-fn01)

It can be used like an adjective or adverb, expressing purpose or intent. So, "The letter says I'm to wait outside", or "He is the man to talk to", or "[In order] to meditate, one must free one's mind."

In either of the above uses, it can often be given a subject using the preposition for: "For him to fail now would be a great disappointment"; "[In order] for you to get there on time, you'll need to leave now." (The former sentence could also be written, "His failing now would be a great disappointment.")

It can be used after many intransitive verbs; in this case, it generally has the subject of the main verb as its implicit subject. So, "I agreed to leave", or "He failed to make his case." (This may be considered a special case of the noun-like use above.) With some verbs the infinitive may carry a significantly different meaning from a gerund: compare I stopped to talk to her  with I stopped talking to her, or I forgot to buy the bread with I forgot buying the bread.

It can be used after the direct objects of many transitive verbs; in this case, it generally has the direct object of the main verb as its implicit subject. So, "I convinced him to leave with me", or "He asked her to make his case on his behalf."

As a special case of the above, it can often be used after an intransitive verb, together with a subject using the preposition for: "I arranged for him to accompany me", or "I waited for summer to arrive."

When the verb is implied, some dialects will reduce the to-infinitive to simply to: "Do I have to?"

The infinitive with auxiliary verbs
The auxiliary verb do does not have an infinitive even though do is also a main verb and in that sense is often used in the infinitive. One does not say *I asked to do not have to, but rather, either I asked not to have to or I asked to not have to (but see split infinitive). Similarly, one cannot emphasize an infinitive using do; one cannot say, "I hear him do say it all the time."

Nonetheless, the auxiliary verbs have (used to form the perfect aspect) and be (used to form the passive voice and continuous aspect) both commonly appear in the infinitive: "It's thought to have been a ceremonial site", or "I want to be doing it already."

"Impersonal future"
There is a specific situation in which the infinitive is used, where it acts almost like an "impersonal future tense ", replacing "will". This is done through the construction:

to be + "to" + bare infinitive

Grammatically, this is identical to the instructional "I am to wait outside" construction (above), but does not signify somebody having been issued an instruction; rather, it expresses an intended action, in the same way as "will". This "tense" is used extensively in news reports, eg.

The Prime Minister is to visit the West Bank (active)
Aid is to be sent to war-torn Darfur (passive)

This future tense is "impersonal" in that, in the phrase "John will go", for example, the speaker is almost advocating their certainty that John will, in fact, go; instead, the "John is to go" construction simply states the knowledge that John's going is in some way foreseen (If John does not go, the "will go" construction is negated, while the "to go" construction still holds true, since all it expresses is an expectation).

Defective verbs
The modal auxiliary verbs, can, may, shall, will and must are defective in that they do not have infinitives; so, one cannot say, *I want him to can do it, but rather must say, I want him to be able to do it. The periphrases to be able to, to have to and to be going to are generally used in these cases.

Impersonal Constructions
There is a specific situation in which the infinitive is used, where it acts almost like an "impersonal future tense", replacing "will". This is done through the construction:

to be + "to" + bare infinitive

Grammatically, this is identical to the instructional "I am to wait outside" construction (above), but does not signify somebody having been issued an instruction; rather, it expresses an intended action, in the same way as "will". This "tense" is used extensively in news reports, eg.

The Prime Minister is to visit the West Bank (active)
Aid is to be sent to war-torn Darfur (passive) (infi-fn02)

This "future infinitive" construction is interesting in that it only has a future aspect to it in situations where the speaker is significantly distanced from the event (infi-fn03). In cases where the subject of the sentence is not quite as distanced from the speaker, then the same construction takes on a sense of instruction or necessity (as in "he is to wait outside", or "he is to go to hospital").

The same construction can be used in conditional clauses - If you are to go on holiday, then you need to work hard (or, conversely, if you want to...then you are to...).

* * *

The impersonality aspect comes from the fact that the emotionless verb to be is used in the place of the more usual modal verbs which would normally connect the speaker to the statement. In this way, statements are given weight (as if some external force, rather than the speaker, is governing events).

Conversely, however, the construction also provides an uncertainty aspect, since it frees the speaker from responsibility on their statement in the phrase "John will go", for example, the speaker is almost advocating their certainty that John will, in fact, go; meanwhile, "the Prime Minister is to go" simply states the knowledge that the PM's going is in some way foreseen. (If John ends up not going, for example, the "will go" construction is negated, while the PM's "to go" construction would still hold true, since all it expresses is an expectation). In both cases, the knowledge is simply being reported (or pretends to be) from an independent source. In this sense, this impersonal to + verb construction can almost be seen as a fledgeling renarrative mood.

Germanic languages
The original Germanic suffix of the infinitive was -an, with verbs derived from other words ending in -jan or -janan. In German it is -en ("sagen"), with -eln or -ern endings on a few words based on -l or -r roots ("segeln", "ndern"). The use of zu with infinitives is similar to English to, but is less frequent than in English. German infinitives can function as nouns, often expressing abstractions of the action, in which case they are of neuter gender: das Essen means the eating, but also the food. In Dutch infinitives also end in -en (zeggen to say), sometimes used with te similar to English to, e.g. "Het is niet moeilijk te begrijpen" → "It is not difficult to understand." The few verbs with stems ending in -a have infinitives in -n (gaan to go, slaan to hit). In Scandinavian languages the n has dropped out and the infinitive suffix has been reduced to -e or -a. The infinitives of these languages are inflected for passive voice through the addition of -s to the active form. Afrikaans has lost the distinction between the infinitive and present forms of verbs, with the exception of the verbs "wees" (to be), which admits the present form "is", and the verb "h" (to have), whose present form is "het".

Latin and Romance languages
The formation of the infinitive in the Romance languages reflects that in their ancestor, Latin, in which almost all verbs had an infinitive ending with -re (preceded by one of various thematic vowels). For example, in Spanish and Portuguese, infinitives mostly end in -ar, -er, or -ir. In Romanian the so-called "long infinitives" end in -are, -ere, -eare, -ire (just like Italian), but these are also often used as feminine nouns, and are treated exactly as feminine nouns. The "short infinitives" used in verbal contexts (e.g. after an auxiliary verb) have the endings -(e)a, -e, and -i. In all Romance languages, infinitives can also be used as nouns.

Latin infinitives challenged several of the generalizations about infinitives. They did inflect for voice (amare, "to love", amari, to be loved) and for aspect (amare, "to love", amavisse, "to have loved"), and allowed for an overt expression of the subject (video Socratem currere, "I see Socrates running").

Romance languages inherited from Latin the possibility of an overt expression of the subject. Moreover, the "inflected infinitive" (or "personal infinitive") found in Portuguese, Galician, and (some varieties of) Sardinian inflects for person and number. These are the only Indo-European languages that allow infinitives to take person and number endings. This helps to make infinitive clauses very common in these languages; for example, the English finite clause in order that you/she/we have... would be translated to Portuguese as para teres/ela ter/termos... (it is a null-subject language). The Portuguese personal infinitive has no proper tenses, only aspects (imperfect and perfect), but tenses can be expressed using periphrastic structures. For instance, even though you sing/have sung/are going to sing could be translated to apesar de cantares/teres cantado/ires cantar.

Other Romance languages (including Spanish, Romanian, Catalan, and some Italian dialects) allow uninflected infinitives to combine with overt nominative subjects. For example, Spanish al abrir yo los ojos ("when I opened my eyes") or sin yo saberlo ("without my knowing about it"). (infi-fn04)

Balto-Slavic languages
The infinitive in Russian usually ends in -t (ть) preceded by a thematic vowel; some verbs have a stem ending in a consonant and change the t to ch, such as *mogt → moč (*могть → мочь) "can".

Some other Balto-Slavic languages have the infinitive typically ending in, for example, (sometimes -c) in Polish, -t in Slovak, -t (formerly -ti) in Czech and Latvian (with a handful ending in -s on the latter), -ty (-ти) in Ukrainian, -ць (-ts') in Belarusian. Serbo-Croatian officially retains the infinitive -ti or -ći, but is more flexible than the other Slavs in breaking the infinitive through a clause, especially in Serbian variant, but nevertheless the infinitive is always found in dictionaries and in language textbooks. Slovennian and Lithuanian infinitives also end in -ti like Serbo-Croatian. Bulgarian and Macedonian have lost the infinitive altogether and, for that reason, books concerning these two languages put the present (if imperferctive) or simple future (if perfective) first-person singular conjugation.

Hebrew
Hebrew has two infinitives, the infinitive absolute and the infinitive construct. The infinitive construct is used after prepositions and is inflected with pronominal endings to indicate its subject or object: bikhtōbh hassōphēr "when the scribe wrote", ahare lekhtō "after his going". When the infinitive construct is preceded by ל (lə-, li-, lā-) "to", it has a similar meaning as the English to-infinitive, and this is its most frequent use in Modern Hebrew. The infinitive absolute is used to add emphasis or certainty to the verb, as in מות ימות mōth yāmūth (literally "die he will die"; figuratively, "he shall indeed die"). This construction is analogous to English cognate object constructions, as in he slept a sleep of peace. This usage is commonplace in the Bible, but in Modern Hebrew it is restricted to high-flown literary works.

Note, however, that the to-infinitive of Hebrew is not the dictionary form; that is the third person singular perfect form.

Finnish
To form the first infinitive, the strong form of the root (without consonant gradation or epenthetic 'e') is used, and these changes occur:

1. the root is suffixed with -ta/-t according to vowel harmony
2. consonant elision takes place if applicable, e.g. juoks+tajuosta
3. assimilation of clusters violating sonority hierarchy if applicable, e.g. nuol+tanuolla, sur+tasurra
4. 't' weakens to 'd' after diphthongs, e.g. juo+tajuoda
5. 't' elides if intervocalic, e.g. kirjoitta+takirjoittaa

A s such, it is inconvenient for dictionary use, because the imperative would be closer to the root word. Nevertheless, dictionaries use the first infinitive.

There are four other infinitives, which create a noun-, or adverb-like word from the verb. For example, the third infinitive is -ma/-m, which creates an adjective-like word like "written" from "write": kirjoita- becomes kirjoittama.

Seri
The Seri language of northwestern Mexico has infinitival forms which are used in two constructions (with the verb meaning 'want' and with the verb meaning 'be able'). The infinitive is formed by adding a prefix to the stem: either iha- [iʔa-] (plus a vowel change of certain vowel-initial stems) if the complement clause is transitive, or ica- [ika-] (and no vowel change) if the complement clause is intransitive. The infinitive shows agreement in number with the controlling subject. Examples are: icatax ihmiimzo 'I want to go', where icatax is the singular infinitive of the verb 'go' (singular root is -atax), and icalx hamiimcajc 'we want to go', where icalx is the plural infinitive. Examples of the transitive infinitive: ihaho 'to see it/him/her/them' (root -aho), and ihacta 'to look at it/him/her/them' (root -oocta).

Translation to languages without an infinitive
In languages without an infinitive, the infinitive is translated either as a that-clause or as a verbal noun. For example, in Literary Arabic the sentence "I want to write a book" is translated as either urīdu an aktuba kitāban (literally "I want that I should write a book", with a verb in the subjunctive mood) or urīdu kitābata kitābin (literally "I want the writing of a book", with the masdar or verbal noun), and in Demotic Arabic biddi aktob kitāb (subordinate clause with verb in subjunctive). Similarly, the modern Greek for "I want to write", as opposed to the ancient Greek <θέλω γράφειν/-ψειν> with the infinitive, is < θέλω να γράφω/-ψω>, which is literally "I want that I should write".

Even in languages that have infinitives, similar constructions are sometimes necessary where English would allow the infinitive. For example, in French the sentence "I want you to come" translates to Je veux que vous veniez (literally "I want that you come", with come being in the subjunctive mood). However, "I want to come" is simply Je veux venir, using the infinitive, just as in English. In Russian, sentences such as "I want you to leave" do not make use of the infinitive form. Rather, they contain the conjunction чтобы "in order to/so that" and the past tense form of the verb: "Я хочу чтобы вы ушли" (lit. "I want so that you left").

UKT: The above paragraph can be expanded to include Burmese-Myanmar:

<I want you to come>

{nga-ming:ko la-s-hkying t}
literal: (I you-{ko} come-want {t})

<I want to come>

{nga-la-hkying t}
literal: (I come-want {t})

For information on Burmese normalizers {ko} and {t}, see summary of the complete paper in my notes under Nominalizers in Burmese . The whole paper with my additions in Burmese-Myanmar and in Romabama is in Simpson-normalize.htm .

Wikipedia footnotes
infi-fn01 English Page - Gerunds and Infinitives Part 1 [sic] infi-fn01b
infi-fn02 In headlines, the verb to be is entirely omitted - eg. Prime Minister to visit...; Aid to be sent..., etc. infi-fn02b
infi-fn03 Grammar books on English simply do not deal with this tense due to its extreme rarity, hence why it has no official name. infi-fn03b
infi-fn04 Kim Schulte (1994), Pragmatic Causation in the Rise of the Romance Prepositional Infinitive: A statistically-based study with special reference to Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian. PhD Dissertation, University of Cambridge. infi-fn04b

End of Wiki article.
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inflection

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inflection 080819

In grammar, inflection or inflexion is the way language handles grammatical relations and relational categories such as tense, mood, voice, aspect, person, number, gender, case. In covert inflection, such categories are not overtly expressed (wiki-inflection-fn01). Overt inflection typically distinguishes lexical items (such as lexemes) from functional ones (such as affixes, clitics, particles and morphemes in general) and has functional items acting as markers on lexical ones (wiki-inflection-fn02). Lexical items that do not respond to overt inflection are typically invariant (wiki-inflection-fn03). Constraining cross-referencing inflection at the sentence level is known as concord or agreement.

Examples in English
In English many nouns are inflected for number with the inflectional plural affix -s (as in "dog" → "dog-s"), and most English verbs are inflected for tense with the inflectional past tense affix -ed (as in "call" → "call-ed").

English also inflects verbs by affixation to mark the third person singular in the present tense (with -s), and the present participle (with -ing). English short adjectives are inflected to mark comparative and superlative forms (with -er and -est respectively).

In addition, English also shows inflection by ablaut (mostly in verbs) and umlaut (mostly in nouns), as well as the odd long-short vowel alternation. For example:

Write, wrote, written (ablaut, and also suffixing in the participle)
Sing, sang, sung (ablaut)
Foot, feet (umlaut)
Mouse, mice (umlaut)
Child, children (vowel alternation, and also suffixing in the plural)

In the past, writers sometimes gave words such as doctor, Negro, dictator, professor, and orator Latin inflections to mark them as feminine, thus forming doctress, Negress, dictatrix, professress, and oratress. These inflected forms were never frequently used, although many English users continue to use Latin endings today in somewhat more common constructions such as actress, waitress, executrix, and dominatrix.

German, which is closely related to English, employs many of these inflectional devices, but the umlaut and ablaut are widespread, while in English they are generally considered as exceptions.

Declension and conjugation
Two traditional grammatical terms refer to inflections of specific word classes:

Nominals: nouns, and often pronouns, adjectives, and determiners as well; often involving number, case, and/or gender; and
Verbs, often involving tense, mood, voice, and/or aspect, as well as agreement with one or more arguments in number, gender, and/or person.

Inflecting a nominal word is known as declining it, while inflecting a verb is called conjugating it. An organized list of the inflected forms of a given lexeme is also called its inflection, declension, or conjugation, as the case may be.

Below is an example of the declension of the English pronoun I, which is inflected for case and number.

  singular plural
    subject   I we
    object   me us
    possessive   mine ours
    reflexive   myself ourselves

The pronoun who is also inflected in conservative English, though only according to case. One can say that its declension is defective, in the sense that it lacks a reflexive form.

  singular & plural
    subject who
    object whom
    possessive whose
    reflexive -

The following table shows the conjugation of the verb to arrive in the indicative mood. It is inflected for person, number, and tense by suffixation.

tense I you he, she, it we you they
Present arrive arrive arrives arrive arrive arrive
Past arrived arrived arrived arrived arrived arrived

The non-finite forms arrive (bare infinitive), arrived (past participle) and arriving (gerund/present participle), although not inflected for person or number, can also be regarded as part of the conjugation of the verb to arrive. Compound verb forms like I have arrived, I had arrived, or I will arrive can be included also in the conjugation of this verb for didactical purposes, but are not conjugations of arrive in the strictest morphological sense. Rather, they should be analysed as complex verb phrases with the structure

pronoun + conjugated auxiliary verb + non-finite form of main verb.

A class of words with similar inflection rules is called an inflectional paradigm. Nominal inflectional paradigms are also called declensions, and verbal inflectional paradigms are called conjugations. For example, in Old English nouns could be divided into two major declensions, the strong and the weak, inflected as is shown below:

  gender and number
Masculine Neuter Feminine
Singular Plural Singular Plural Singular Plural
case Strong Noun Declension
engel 'angel' scip 'ship' sorg 'sorrow'
Nominative engel englas scip scipu sorg sorga
Accusative engel englas scip scipu sorge sorga/sorge
Genitive engles engla scipes scipa sorge sorga
Dative engle englum scipe scipum sorge sorgum
case Weak Noun Declension
nama 'name' ēage 'eye' tunge 'tongue'
Nominative nama naman ēage ēagan tunge tungan
Accusative naman naman ēage ēagan tungan tungan
Genitive naman namena ēagan ēagena tungan tungena
Dative naman namum ēagan ēagum tungan tungum

These two terms, however, seem to be biased toward well-known dependent-marking languages (such as the Indo-European languages, or Japanese). In dependent-marking languages, nouns in adpositional phrases can carry inflectional morphemes. (Adpositions include prepositions and postpositions.) In head-marking languages, the adpositions can carry the inflection in adpositional phrases. This means that these languages will have inflected adpositions. In Western Apache (San Carlos dialect), the postposition -k 'on' is inflected for person and number with prefixes.

  Singular Dual Plural
    1st   shi-k 'on me' noh-k 'on us two' da-noh-k 'on us'
    2nd   ni-k 'on you' nohwi-k 'on you two' da-nohwi-k 'on you all'
    3rd   bi-k 'on him' - da-bi-k 'on them'

Traditional grammars have specific terms for inflections of nouns and verbs, but not for those of adpositions.

Inflection vs. derivation
Inflection is the process of adding inflectional morphemes (atomic meaning units) to a word, which may indicate grammatical information (for example, case, number, person, gender or word class, mood, tense, or aspect). Compare with derivational morphemes, which create a new word from an existing word, sometimes by simply changing grammatical category (for example, changing a noun to a verb).

Words generally do not appear in dictionaries with inflectional morphemes. But they often do appear with derivational morphemes. For instance, English dictionaries list readable and readability, words with derivational suffixes, along with their root read. However, no traditional English dictionary will list book as one entry and books as a separate entry nor will they list jump and jumped as two different entries.

In some languages, inflected words do not appear in a fundamental form (the root morpheme) except in dictionaries and grammars.

Inflectional morphology
Languages that add inflectional morphemes to words are sometimes called inflectional languages. Morphemes may be added in several different ways:

Affixation, or simply adding morphemes onto the word without changing the root,
Reduplication, doubling all or part of a word to change its meaning,
Alternation, exchanging one sound for another in the root (usually vowel sounds, as in the ablaut process found in Germanic strong verbs and the umlaut often found in nouns, among others).
Suprasegmental variations, such as of stress, pitch or tone, where no sounds are added or changed but the intonation and relative strength of each sound is altered regularly. For an example, see Initial-stress-derived noun.

Affixing includes prefixing (adding before the base), and suffixing (adding after the base), as well as the much less common infixing (inside) and circumfixing (a combination of prefix and suffix).

Inflection is most typically realized by adding an inflectional morpheme (that is, affixation) to the base form (either the root or a stem).

Relation to morphological typology
Inflection is sometimes confused with synthesis in languages. The two terms are related but not the same. Languages are broadly classified morphologically into analytic and synthetic categories, or more realistically along a continuum between the two extremes. Analytic languages isolate meaning into individual words, whereas synthetic languages create words not found in the dictionary by fusing or agglutinating morphemes, sometimes to the extent of having a whole sentence's worth of meaning in a single word. Inflected languages by definition fall into the synthetic category, though not all synthetic languages need be inflected.

INFLECTION IN VARIOUS LANGUAGES

Indo-European languages (fusional)
All Indo-European languages, such as Albanian, English, German, Russian, Persian (Frsi), Italian, Spanish, French, Sanskrit, and Hindi are inflected to a greater or lesser extent. In general, older Indo-European languages such as Latin, Irish, Slavic, Latvian, Lithuanian, and more prominently Greek and Sanskrit in all their historical forms, are extensively inflected. Deflexion caused newer languages such as English and French to lose much of their historical inflection. Afrikaans, an extremely young language, is almost completely uninflected and borders on being analytic. Some branches of Indo-European (for example, the Slavic languages, the Celtic languages, and the Romance languages) have generally retained more inflection than others (such as many Germanic languages, with the notable exception of Icelandic).

English
Old English was a moderately inflected language, using an extensive case system similar to that of modern Icelandic or German. Middle and Modern English lost progressively more of the Old English inflectional system. Modern English is considered a weakly inflected language, since its nouns have only vestiges of inflection (plurals, the pronouns), and its regular verbs have only four forms: an inflected form for the past indicative and subjunctive (looked), an inflected form for the third-person-singular present indicative (looks), an inflected form for the present participle (looking), and an uninflected form for everything else (look). While the English possessive indicator 's (as in "Jane's book") is a remnant of the Old English genitive case suffix, it is now not a suffix but a clitic. See also Declension in English.

Other Germanic languages
Old Norse was inflected, but modern Swedish, Norwegian and Danish have, like English, lost almost all inflection. Icelandic preserves almost all of the inflections of Old Norse and has added its own. Modern German remains moderately inflected, retaining four noun cases, although the genitive had already began falling into disuse in all but formal writing in Early New High German, inspiring the title of the 2004 bestseller Der Dativ ist dem Genitiv sein Tod ("the dative is the death of the genitive", using the dative where archaic or formal writing would use the genitive). The case system of Dutch, simpler than German's, is also becoming more simplified in common usage. Afrikaans, recognized as a distinct language in its own right rather than a Dutch dialect only in the early 20th century, has lost almost all inflection.

Latin and the Romance languages
The Romance languages, such as Spanish, Italian, French, Portuguese and Romanian, have more inflection than English, especially in verb conjugation. A single morpheme usually carries information about person, number, tense, aspect and mood, and the verb paradigm may be quite complex. Adjectives, nouns and articles are considerably less inflected, but they still have different forms according to number and grammatical gender.

Latin was even more inflected; nouns and adjectives had different forms according to their grammatical case (with several patterns of declension, and three genders instead of the two found in most Romance tongues), and there were synthetic perfective and passive voice verb forms.

Baltic languages
The Baltic languages (presented nowadays by Lithuanian and Latvian) are moderately inflected retaining a number of archaic Indo-European features in their grammar. Nouns and adjectives are declined in seven cases. Some grammars define more cases based on two principles:

Syncretism of case forms in Latvian where certain preposition govern different cases in the singular and in the plural. For example, the Instrumental case is identical to the Accusative in the singular and to the Dative in the plural. These forms could be described as irregular case government of certain prepositions, but there are constructions in which the Instrumental case, for example, is used without any prepositions.
dialectal and rare use of old case forms, such as Illative in modern Lithuanian which is widely used in the singular but extinct in the plural: "mik-an (ill.), į mik-ą (prep. + acc.) - (in)to the forest" and "į mik-us (prep. + acc.) - (in)to the forests"

Modern Baltic languages have also retained the old dual number. However, it is nowadays considered obsolete and included in grammar books as a reference and not as compulsory learning material. For instance, in standard Lithuanian it is normal to say "dvi varnos (pl.) - two crows" instead of "dvi varni (du.)".

Adjectives, pronouns, and numerals are declined for number, gender, and case to agree with the noun they modify/substitute. With a set of special pronominal forms, as well as four degrees of comparison, Lithuanian adjectives, for example, have the total of 147 synthetic forms.

Baltic verbs are inflected for tense, mood, aspect, and voice. They also agree with the subject in person and number (not in all forms in modern Latvian). They also demonstrate moderate fusion and high irregularity with the old morpheme seams dimmed by further evolution.

Slavic languages
The Slavic languages, including Russian, Polish, Czech, Slovak, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, Ukranian, Bulgarian, and Slovenian among others, all make use of a high degree of inflection, typically having six or seven cases and three genders (however, the case system has been ruined almost completely in modern Bulgarian and Macedonian). Many Slavic languages include a vocative case for interjections and exclamations, and Slovenian uses a rare third number, (in addition to singular and plural numbers) known as duality. In addition, in some Slavic languages, such as Polish, word stems are frequently modified by the addition or absence of endings, resulting in consonant and vowel alternation.

Arabic (fusional)
Arabic (more precisely Literary/Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) (اللغة العربية الفصحى) is a moderately-inflected language. It uses a complex system of pronouns and their respective prefixes and suffixes for verb, noun, adjective and possessive conjugation.

The following table is an example of present-tense case applications in Arabic:

Base Singular Plural Dual
  Pronoun Possessive Suffix Verb Affixes Pronoun Possess. Suffix Verb Affixes Pronoun Possess. Suffix Verb Affixes
I أنا[citation needed]

for all Arabic characters in this section

ــي أ نحن ــنا نــ - - -
you (masc.) أنتَ ــكَ تــــــ أنتم ــكم تــــــــــــون أنتما ــكما تــــــــــــان
you (fem.) أنتِ ــكِ تــــــــــــين أنتنّ ــكنّ تــــــــــــنّ " " "
he هو ــه يــ هم ــهم يـــــــــــــون هما ــهما يــــــــــــان
she هي ــها تــ هنّ ــهنّ تــــــــــــنّ " " "

* note: a long tatwiil ( ـــــــــــــــــــــ ) indicates where the verb stem would be placed in order to conjugate it.

Arabic regional dialects (e.g. Moroccan Arabic, Egyptian Arabic, Gulf Arabic), used for everyday communication, tend to have less inflection than the more formal Literary Arabic. For example, in Jordanian Arabic, the second- and third-person feminine plurals (أنتنّ and هنّ) and their respective unique conjugations are lost and replaced by the masculine (أنتم and هم).

Uralic languages (agglutinative)
The Uralic languages (comprising Finno-Ugric and Samoyedic) are agglutinative, following from the agglutination in Proto-Uralic. The largest languages are Hungarian, Finnish and Estonian, all European Union official languages. Uralic inflection is, or is developed from, affixing. Grammatical markers directly added to the word perform the same function as prepositions in English. Almost all words are inflected according to their roles in the sentence: verbs, nouns, pronouns, numerals, adjectives, and some particles.

Hungarian and Finnish, in particular, often simply concatenate suffixes. For example, Finnish talossanikinko "in my house, too?" consists of talo-ssa-ni-kin-ko. However, in the Finnic languages (Finnish, Estonian, Sami), there are processes which affect the root, particularly consonant gradation. The original suffixes may disappear (and appear only by liaison), leaving behind the modification of the root. This process is extensively developed in Estonian and Sami, and makes them also inflected, not only agglutinating languages. The Estonian accusative case, for example, is expressed by a modified root: majamajja (historical form *majam).

Basque (agglutinative)
Basque, a language isolate, is an extremely inflected language, heavily inflecting both nouns and verbs. A Basque noun is inflected in 17 different ways for case, multiplied by 4 ways for its definiteness and number. These first 68 forms are further modified based on other parts of the sentence, which in turn are inflected for the noun again. It is estimated that at two levels of recursion, a Basque noun may have 458,683 inflected forms (wiki-inflection-fn04).[4] Verb forms are similarly complex, agreeing with the subject, the direct object and several other arguments.

EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES (ISOLATING)

Some of the major Eastern Asian languages (such as the various Chinese languages, Vietnamese, and Thai) are not overtly inflected, or show very little overt inflection (though they used to show more), so they are considered analytic languages (also known as isolating languages).

Japanese
Japanese shows a high degree of overt inflection on verbs, less so on adjectives, and very little on nouns, but it is always strictly agglutinative and extremely regular. Formally, every noun phrase must be marked for case, but this is done by invariable particles (clitic postpositions). (Many grammarians consider Japanese particles to be separate words, and therefore not an inflection, while others consider agglutination a type of overt inflection, and therefore consider Japanese nouns as overtly inflected.)

Chinese
The Chinese family of languages, in general, does not possess overt inflectional morphology. Chinese words generally comprise of one or two syllables, each of which corresponds to a written character and individual morpheme. Since most morphemes are monosyllabic in the Chinese languages (wiki-inflection-fn05), Chinese is quite resistant to inflectional changes; instead, Chinese uses lexical means for achieving covert inflectional tranparency.

While European languages use more often overt inflection to mark a word's function in a sentence, the Chinese languages use to a larger extent word order as a grammatical marking system. Whereas in English the first-person singular nominative "I" changes to "me" when used in the accusative - that is, when "I" is the object of a verb - Chinese simply uses word order to mark such a distinction. An example from Mandarin: 我给了他一本书 (wǒ gěile tā yī běn shū) 'I gave him a book'. Here 我 () means 'I' and 他 () means 'him'. However, 'He gave me a book' would be: 他给了我一本书 (tā gěile wǒ yī běn shū). 我 () and 他 () simply change places in the sentence to indicate that their case has switched: there is no overt inflection in the form of the words. In classical Chinese, pronouns were overtly inflected as to case. However, these overt case forms are no longer used; most of the alternative pronouns are considered archaic in modern Mandarin Chinese. Classically, 我 () was used solely as the first person accusative. 吾 (W) was generally used as the first person nominative (wiki-inflection-fn06).

Auxiliary languages
Many auxiliary languages have very simple inflectional systems. Ido for instance has a different form for each verbal tense (past, present, future, volitive and imperative) plus an infinitive, and both a present and past participle. There are though no inflections for person or number and all verbs are regular.

Nouns are marked for number (singular and plural), and the accusative case may be shown in certain situations, typically when the direct object of a sentence precedes its verb. On the other hand, adjectives are unmarked for gender, number or case (unless they stand on their own, without a noun, in which case they take on the same desinences as the missing noun would have taken). The definite article "la" ("the") remains unaltered regardless of gender or case, and also of number, except when there is no other word to show plurality. Pronouns are identical in all cases, though exceptionally the accusative case may be marked, as for nouns.

Interlingua, in contrast with the Romance languages, has no irregular verb conjugations, and its verb forms are the same for all persons and numbers. It does, however, have compound verb tenses similar to those in the Romance, Germanic, and Slavic languages: ille ha vivite, "he has lived"; illa habeva vivite, "she had lived". Nouns are inflected by number, taking a plural -s, but rarely by gender: only when referring to a male or female being. Interlingua has no noun-adjective agreement by gender, number, or case. As a result, adjectives ordinarily have no inflections. They may take the plural form if they are being used in place of a noun: le povres, "the poor".

See also
Agreement (linguistics) | Lexeme | Marker (linguistics) | Morpheme | Periphrasis | Suppletion | Synthetic language | Uninflected word | Weak suppletion

Wikipedia note
wiki-inflection-fn01
 
For example, gender-neutral languages only have covert gender, i.e. semantically-implied genderness. wiki-inflection-fn01b
wiki-inflection-fn02
 
For example, in English cats versus cat, the affix -s expresses overtly an underlying category and, in speech recognition by actual speakers, the noun cat thus marked permits to uncover the grammatical relation in which the noun cat is embedded. wiki-inflection-fn02b
wiki-inflection-fn03
  Uninflected words do not need to be lemmatized in linguistic descriptions or in language computing. On the other hand, inflectional paradigms (such as sing, sang, sung, sings, singing, singer, singers, song, songs, songstress, songstresses in English) need to be analyzed according to criteria uncovering the underlying lexical stem (here s*ng-), the accompaning funtional items (-i-, -a-, -u-, -s, -ing, -er, -o-, -stress, -s) and their functional categories. wiki-inflection-fn03b
wiki-inflection-fn04
  Agirre et al, 1992 wiki-inflection-fn04b
wiki-inflection-fn05
 
Norman, p. 84. wiki-inflection-fn05b
wiki-inflection-fn06
 
Norman, p. 89. wiki-inflection-fn06b

Wikipedia references
Agirre, E.; Alegria I.; Arregi, X.; Artola, X.; Daz de Ilarraza, A.; Maritxalar M.; et al. (1992). XUXEN: A spelling checker/corrector for Basque based on two-level morphology. Proceedings of the Third Conference of Applied Natural Language Processing. Online version: http://acl.ldc.upenn.edu/A/A92/A92-1016.pdf
Bauer, Laurie. (2003). Introducing linguistic morphology (2nd ed.). Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. ISBN 0-87840-343-4.
Bubenik, Vit. (1999). An introduction to the study of morphology. LINCON coursebooks in linguistics, 07. Muenchen: LINCOM Europa. ISBN 3-89586-570-2.
Haspelmath, Martin. (2002). Understanding morphology. London: Arnold (co-published by Oxford University Press). ISBN 0340760257 (hb); ISBN 0-340-76206-5 (pbk).
Katamba, Francis. (1993). Morphology. Modern linguistics series. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0-312-10101-5 (hb); ISBN 0-312-10356-5 (pbk).
Matthews, Peter. (1991). Morphology (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-41043-6 (hb); ISBN 0-521-42256-6 (pbk).
Nichols, Johanna. (1986). Head-marking and dependent-marking grammar. Language, 62 (1), 56-119.
Norman, Jerry. (1988). Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-29653-6 (pbk).
De Reuse, Willem J. (1996). A practical grammar of the San Carlos Apache language. LINCOM Studies in Native American Linguistics 51. LINCOM. ISBN 3895868612
Spencer, Andrew, & Zwicky, Arnold M. (Eds.) (1998). The handbook of morphology. Blackwell handbooks in linguistics. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-18544-5.
Stump, Gregory T. (2001). Inflectional morphology: A theory of paradigm structure. Cambridge studies in linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-78047-0.
Van Valin, Robert D., Jr. (2001). An introduction to syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-63566-7 (pbk); ISBN 0-521-63199-8 (hb).

End of Wikipedia article
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isolating language

From Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isolating_language 080821
Not to be confused with language isolate .

In morphological typology (in linguistics), an isolating language (also analytic language) is any language in which words are composed of a single morpheme. This is in contrast to a synthetic language which can have words composed of multiple morphemes.

Explanation
Although historically languages were divided into three basic types (isolating, flectional, agglutinative), these traditional morphological types are best divided into two distinct parameters:

1. morpheme per word ratio
2. degree of fusion between morphemes

An isolating language can thus be defined as a language that has a one-to-one correspondence between word and morpheme. To illustrate, the English word-form

boy  - morpheme-word ratio: 1:1

is a single word (namely boy) consisting of only a single morpheme (also boy). This word-form would then have a 1:1 morpheme-word ratio. The English word-form

antigovernment - morpheme-word ratio: 3:1

is a single word-form consisting of three morphemes (namely, anti-, govern, -ment). This word-form would then have a 3:1 morpheme-word ratio.

Languages that are considered to be isolating have a tendency for all words to have a 1:1 morpheme-word ratio. Because of this tendency, these languages are said to "lack morphology" since every word would not have an internal compositional structure in terms of word pieces (i.e. morphemes) thus they would also lack bound morphemes like affixes. Isolating languages use independent words while synthetic languages tend to use affixes and internal modifications of roots for the same purpose.

The morpheme-per-word ratio should be thought of as a scalar category ranging from low morpheme-per-word ratio (near 1.0) on the isolating pole of the scale to a high morpheme-per-word ratio on the other pole. Languages with a tendency to have morpheme-per-word ratios greater than 1.0 are termed synthetic. The flectional (or fusional) and agglutinative types of the traditional typology can then be considered subtypes of synthetic languages which are distinguished from each other according to the second degree-of-fusion parameter.

Isolating language are especially common in Southeast Asia, and examples are Vietnamese (isolat-fn01) (isolat-fn02), and classical Chinese (as distinct from modern Chinese languages)(isolat-fn03). Outside China, the majority of mainland Southeast Asian languages are isolating languages with the exception of Malay. Mainland Southeast Asia is home to much of eastern Asia's analytic language families including Tibeto-Burman, Tai-Kadai, Hmong-Mien and Mon-Khmer. Even some Austronesian languages in the region, such as Cham, are more isolating than the rest of their respective family. Burmese, Thai, Khmer, Lao and Vietnamese are all major isolating languages spoken in mainland southeast Asia.

Examples
Since words are not marked by morphology showing their role in the sentence, word order tends to carry a lot of importance in isolating languages. For example, Chinese makes use of word order to show subjectobject relationships. Chinese (of all varieties) is perhaps the best-known analytic language. To illustrate:

As can be seen, comparing the Chinese sentence to the English translation, while English is fairly isolating, it contains synthetic features, such as the bound morpheme -s (a suffix) to mark plurality.

Similarly, in Burmese, whose word order is subject-object-verb, sentence constructs are isolating.

UKT: The above Wikipedia example is not quite correct because of a missing word. I prefer:
{nak-hpan-hka kywan-tau. r. thu-ng-hkying: [missing word {ka.}] mw.n. kait-moan. tic-ban: hpoat p: m}
The Wikipedia sentence is missing the word {ka.}.
My sentence in Romabama is:
literal: (tomorrow my friend-{ka.} birthday cake-{ban:} bake-p: {m})

zu ("do") remains the same in the present tense:

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The term analytic referring a morphological type is synonymous with the term isolating in most contexts. However, it is possible to define analytic as referring to the expression of syntactic information via separate grammatical words instead via morphology (with bound morphemes). Obviously, using separate words to express syntactic relationships would lead to a more isolating tendency while using inflectional morphology would lead to the language having a more synthetic tendency.

By definition, all isolating languages would also be analytic (in the sense defined in this section). However, it is possible that a language may have virtually no inflectional morphology but have a larger number of derivational affixes. For example, Indonesian has only two inflectional affixes but about 25 derivational morphemes. Indonesian can be considered slightly synthetic (and thus not isolating) and, in terms of the expression of syntactic information, mostly analytic.

Wikipedia footnotes and references

isolat-fn01 "What is an isolating language?".
   SIL International (2004). Retrieved on 080428. isolat-fn01b
isolat-fn02
  
Comrie, Bernard. 1989.Language universals and linguistic typology. 2nd edition. Chicago: University of Chicago isolat-fn02b
isolat-fn03 "isolating language".
   Encyclopdia Britannica - the Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved on 080428. isolat-fn03b

Reference:
Sapir, Edward. (1921). Types of linguistic structure. In Language: An introduction to the study of speech (Chap. 6). (Online: www.bartleby.com/186/6.html).

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