part of speech
a noun is the name of a person, place, or thingwithout reference to grammatical function. By this strict definition the word toy would be a noun in the sentence
The toy is under the treeand in the sentence
It is a toy dog.However, an alternate method of defining parts of speech is in terms of the structural features and distribution patterns within a sentence. Thus toy would constitute a different part of speech in each of the above sentences since the word functions in different environments in each sentence, i.e., as a subject and as a modifier. Some English parts of speech (nouns, verbs, etc.) are productive classes allowing new members; others, with functional rather than lexical meaning (prepositions, articles, conjunctions) are nonproductive, having a limited number of members. See also inflection .
See L. Bloomfield, Language (1933); C. Fries, The Structure of English (1952); W. N. Francis, The Structure of American English (1958); O. Jespersen, The Philosophy of Grammar (1965); F. R. Palmer, Grammar (1971); C. L. Baker, English Syntax (1989).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Language and Linguistics