Students understanding the complexity of language

Chapter 01-01: Introduction


Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 1 is the starting point for analyzing grammar in context effectively, at the smallest level: WORDS. The focus of this chapter will be on form-class words and structure-class words.
Form-class  words are open-ended, not limited in the number of their members, as  new words are being invented all the time. New inventions, observations,  sciences, sports, ideas, etc. require us to constantly create new  form-class words. In this chapter, we will describe form-class words as  nouns, verbs, adjectives, or adverbs. 
Structure-class words are mostly closed, relatively small groups of words. They work with (or replace) form-class words to create phrases and clauses. Structure-class words add depth and nuance to our language, and can be used to describe any relationship between form-class words.
At their core, words are made up of morphemes, which are the smallest unit of meaning in a language. In terms of this chapter, you should understand
that a morpheme is either a FREE morpheme or a BOUND morpheme (but never both). Words  can be made up of one of three combinations: 1) a single
free morpheme;  2) a free morpheme plus one or more bound morphemes; or 3) two or more  bound morphemes. While we won’t describe morphemes in detail in this chapter, we recommend that you read the Morphology section to get a better understanding of the ways that, especially, form-class words are created from morphemes. Reading the Morphology section will help you understand, primarily, bound morphemes as either derivational or inflectional.
But we will focus on the words only in this chapter, so the primary goal for this chapter is to help you develop analytical strategies at the WORD level. This means an ability  to identify and analyze in context:     
  • FORM-CLASS WORDS – nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs in a larger context (phrase, clause, sentence or passage)
  • STRUCTURE-CLASS WORDS – structure-class words in conjunction with form-class words and in a larger context (phrase, clause, sentence or passage)
Once you have read all of the pages in this chapter, you can develop your analytical skills further by reviewing the Analyzing Examples page to gain an understanding for the analytical process for words, then working your way through the Chapter 1 Practice Exercises.