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    German, Dutch, Deutsch, Teuton, Almain: A Germanic Etymology

    What do the words German, Dutch, Deutsch, Teuton, and Almain have in common? I recently learned the Norwegian word tysk, which translates to “German, of or relating to the German people.” The word tysk comes from Old Norse þýðverskr, þýzkr, which comes from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz meaning “of or relating to a people.” The English cognate […] More

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    Learning Norwegian as an English Speaker: Learn, Teach, Why, Live, Nearby

    I love language, both language in general and specific languages. From my early encounters with grammar in elementary school to the depths of linguistic study during high school and throughout my undergraduate years, I have continually nurtured this fascination. Spanish served as my primary focus, complemented by semester-long studies in German and Old English. Embracing […] More

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    Using Prepositional Phrases as Noun Phrase Modifiers

    Traditional grammars define prepositions as words that “link to other words, phrases, and clauses” and that “express spatial or temporal relations.” Prepositions are lexical-function words, expressing discernible lexical meanings and grammatical relationships. A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition plus another nominal word, phrase, or clause functioning as the prepositional complement. In grammar, a noun […] More

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    Grammatical Functions of English Adjectives and Adjective Phrases

    Adjective phrases including adjectives perform four main grammatical functions within sentences in the English language. The four functions of adjectives and adjective phrases are: Adjectives are traditionally defined as “words that describe nouns.” (But not all words that describe nouns are adjectives.) Adjective phrases are defined as phrases that consist of an adjective plus any […] More

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    Using Adjective Clauses as Noun Phrase Modifiers

    As a type of dependent or subordinate clause, adjective clauses consist of a relativizer followed by a clause that consists of a subject and a predicate. Sometimes the relativizer also functions as the subject. Relativizers are a type of subordinating conjunction. Relative pronouns and relative adverbs are both relativizers. Also known as relative clauses, adjective […] More

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    Determiners Are Not Adjectives

    Traditional grammars categorize determiners with either adjectives or pronouns. But determiners are not adjectives. Repeat after me: Determiners are not adjectives. Notional grammars define adjectives as “words that modify nouns.” (But not all words that modify nouns are adjectives.) Adjectives describe attributes of nouns, pronouns, and noun phrases, functioning as noun phrase modifiers, subject complements, […] More

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    Nouns Do Not Support Transphobia

    A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet from a TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) who attempted to exclude trans women from the definition of woman by arguing that nouns are “words for concepts that have a series of definitions to narrow categories and exclude other concepts.” My initial reaction was: “Do not try to use […] More

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    Using Prepositional Phrases as Conjunct Adverbials

    Notional grammars traditionally define the preposition as a word that “links to other words, phrases, and clauses” and that “expresses spatial or temporal relations.” A prepositional phrase consists of a preposition plus another word, phrase, or clause functioning as the prepositional complement. In grammar, the conjunct adverbial is a word or phrase that expresses a […] More

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    Using Verbs and Verb Phrases as Conjunct Adverbials

    Notional grammars traditionally verbs as “words that denote actions and states of being.” A verb phrase consists of a verb plus any auxiliary verbs, particles, modifiers, complements, and objects. In grammar, a conjunct adverbial is a word or phrase that expresses a textual relationship. Verb phrases in the form of infinitives sometimes function as conjunct […] More

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    Using Verbs and Verb Phrases as Disjunct Adverbials

    Notional grammars traditionally verbs as “words that denote actions and states of being.” A verb phrase consists of a verb plus any auxiliary verbs, particles, modifiers, complements, and objects. In grammar, a disjunct adverbial is a word or phrase that provides additional information to frame an entire clause. Disjunct adverbials denote the attitude of the […] More

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    Grammatical Functions of English Verbs and Verb Phrases

    English verbs and verb phrases perform nine primary grammatical functions within sentences in the English language. Traditional grammars define verbs as words that name actions and states. Verb phrases consist of a verb plus any modifiers, complements, particles, and auxiliaries. The nine prototypical functions of English verbs and verbs phrases are: The following sections explain […] More

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    Sentence Purpose: Declarative, Interrogative, Imperative, and Exclamatory

    Whereas sentence structure refers to the form of sentences in a language, sentence purpose refers to the function of sentences. Four types of sentence purposes exist in the English language: declarative sentences, interrogative sentences, imperative sentences, and exclamatory sentences. Declarative Sentences The first type of sentence in the English language is the declarative sentence. Declarative […] More

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    Grammatical Functions of English Nouns and Noun Phrases

    Noun phrases including nouns and pronouns perform eleven main grammatical functions within sentences in the English language. The eleven functions of nouns and noun phrases are: Nouns are traditionally defined as “persons, places, things, and ideas.” Noun phrases are defined as phrases that consist of a noun or pronoun and any number of constituents including […] More

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    Language Is Arbitrary

    Language is arbitrary. I recently stated that language is arbitrary on Twitter in response to the erroneous claim that language is a code. Language is not a code because language is arbitrary. When I state that language is arbitrary, I often receive bewildered and sometimes disdainful replies such as (1) English is 80% predictable, (2) […] More

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