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D00M
Posted: Friday, June 1, 2018 12:18:03 PM

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Hello respected teachers,

What's the part of speech of 'on' in the following?

There are interesting events on all year round.

The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
NKM
Posted: Friday, June 1, 2018 2:09:05 PM

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The meaning is clear enough: "Interesting events are taking place all year round."

Trying to assign a part of speech seems a bit tenuous, though I suppose it's part of a verb phrase (phrasal verb?)

D00M
Posted: Friday, June 1, 2018 2:15:50 PM

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Thank you NKM.

It seems to me to be a reduced adjective clause:

There are interesting events (that are) on all year round.

As such, I would say it is an adjective modifying 'events'.

The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
Audiendus
Posted: Friday, June 1, 2018 7:54:44 PM
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I would call "on" an adverb here. This kind of adverb is sometimes called an adverbial particle.
BobShilling
Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2018 2:28:50 AM
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Audiendus is right about the traditional classification.

Some modern grammarians* have reclassified such words as prepositions.

*
Huddleston and Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of English, 2002
Aarts, Oxford Modern English Grammar, 2011
D00M
Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2018 4:31:04 AM

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Audiendus wrote:
I would call "on" an adverb here. This kind of adverb is sometimes called an adverbial particle.


Thank you.

But what does it modify as an adverbial constituent?

The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
D00M
Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2018 4:32:20 AM

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BobShilling wrote:
Audiendus is right about the traditional classification.

Some modern grammarians* have reclassified such words as prepositions.

*
Huddleston and Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of English, 2002
Aarts, Oxford Modern English Grammar, 2011


How could it be a preposition? What's its object?

The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
Audiendus
Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2018 8:43:30 AM
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D00M wrote:
But what does it modify as an adverbial constituent?

"There are interesting events on" can be thought of as a shortened form of "There are interesting events that are on". "On" describes how they are - their mode of 'being'. (The events could, instead, be "off", i.e. cancelled.)

Similarly, the words in bold below are adverbs (sometimes used after a verb, sometimes directly after a noun):

She was not there.
He is out.
I was away.
I was not yet up.
They will be (a)round soon.
Is this the way out? [= the way for going out]
They could not find a way through. [= a way to get through]
The problem here is that they do not speak English. [= the problem that is here]

Some modern grammarians have their own definition of 'preposition', according to which the above words would be prepositions, not adverbs. Personally, I think this is unhelpful to learners of English, since it blurs the distinction between the 'real' prepositional use (e.g. "the computer is on the table"), and the adverbial use (e.g. "the computer is on the whole day").
D00M
Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2018 8:52:21 AM

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Thank you very much, Audiendus.

The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
BobShilling
Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2018 12:47:45 PM
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D00M wrote:
How could it be a preposition? What's its object?


Those who have redefined the preposition class consider that there are transitive and intransitive prepositions. The latter have no object.
NKM
Posted: Saturday, June 2, 2018 5:36:32 PM

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To those who insist on redefining everything they seem to feel is not as they'd prefer, I offer the classic advice:

"If it ain't broke, don't fix it!"

BobShilling
Posted: Sunday, June 3, 2018 12:20:17 AM
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The traditional adverb class was 'broke'.
NKM
Posted: Sunday, June 3, 2018 5:30:02 PM

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So we redefine "preposition" in order to fix a broken concept of "adverb"?  "Oh, what a tangled web we weave … !"

Boo hoo!

Actually, I suppose some of those latter-day definitions make sense, but I have neither time nor inclination to learn them. (After all, it's not as if I were a linguist.)

BobShilling
Posted: Monday, June 4, 2018 12:40:23 AM
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Most of us tend to stick with the grammar we learnt at school, blissfully unaware that not only the language itself but also the way people look at the language have change, and continue to change, over the years. The categories of word classes (parts of speech) that most of us are familiar with today came down to us from those Dionysius of Thrax first proposed for Greek over two thousand years ago. His categories (noun, verb, participle, adverb, article, pronoun, preposition. conjunction,) were taken up by Latin grammarians for their rather different language. Because of the differences in the languages, the Latin grammarians dropped the article (Latin having no articles) and added the interjection. Later they came up with the adjective class and dropped the interjection.

Early English grammarians, also working on a rather different language. took over the categories, though the article became part of the adjective class. the participle part of the verb class, and the interjection came back.

The analysis of adverbs and prepositions has, like other categories, changed frequently. Blome (1686) considered prepositions to be a sub-class of adverbs For Douglas (1720), they were both sub-classes of the particle category, an idea accepted by other writers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

By the end of the nineteenth century, most grammarians accepted the system of eight categories, (noun, verb, adjective, adverb, pronoun, preposition, conjunction, interjection) so familiar to older members of the forum educated in the 1950s and 1960s. However,there was not universal agreement. As long ago as 1924, Jespersen proposed a a re-organisation of the adverb and preposition classes very similar to that later taken up by Huddleston and others. Not long after I began my TEFL career in the late 1960s, most writers accepted the new class of determiners (determinatives to some).

So, there has never been universal agreement on how words should be categorised. Quirk et al (1985) noted:

Although they have deceptively specific labels, the word classes tend in fact to be rather heterogeneous, if not problematic categories. There is nothing sacrosanct about the traditional parts-of speech classification [...]. The class of adverbs is notoriously heterogeneous.
D00M
Posted: Monday, June 4, 2018 7:24:53 AM

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There are also other considerations which make us fix and reconsider our traditional grammar.

The following is a good example where traditional grammar (Latin-based) fails to get into the English grammar:


Captain Kitk's infinitive


The infinitive in English has the form to + the base form of the verb, as in to go, and can be used with an adverb such as boldly. At the beginning of each of the older televised Star Trek episodes, one of the main characters, Captain Kirk, always used the expression To boldly go. . . . This is an example of a split infinitive. Captain Kirk’s teacher might have expected him to say To go boldly or Boldly to go, so that the adverb didn’t split the infinitive. If Captain Kirk had been a Roman space traveler, speaking Latin, he would have used the expressions ire (‘to go’) and audacter (‘boldly’)
. Now, in saying Ire audacter . . . in Latin, Capitaneus Kirkus would not even have the opportunity to split his infinitive (ire), because Latin infinitives are single words and just do not split. It would be very appropriate in Latin grammar to say you cannot split an infinitive. But is it appropriate to carry this idea over into English where the infinitive form does not consist of a single word, but of two words, to and go? If it is a typical feature of the use of English that speakers and writers regularly produce forms such as to boldly go, to solemnly swear or to never ever say goodbye, then we may simply wish to note that there are structures in English that differ from those found in Latin, rather than think of the English forms as ‘bad’ because they are breaking a rule of Latin grammar.


George Yule, the Study of Language

The custom of speaking is the original and only just standard of any language. Joseph Priestly- Rudiments of EG, 1761.
Audiendus
Posted: Monday, June 4, 2018 8:28:20 AM
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D00M wrote:
The infinitive in English has the form to + the base form of the verb

Sometimes, of course, it is just the base form of the verb, e.g. "go" - the 'bare infinitive'.

Here is an example of the same word acting as both a 'to' infinitive and a bare infinitive:

"You are entitled to, and indeed should, complain."
Audiendus
Posted: Monday, June 4, 2018 8:51:12 AM
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BobShilling wrote:
The class of adverbs is notoriously heterogeneous.

I agree. But I wonder if Huddleston & Pullum's 'preposition' class is also too heterogeneous. I would like to discuss this further, perhaps in a new thread.

If it is not too much trouble, could you please list all the words, or the main ones, that H & P class as prepositions. Are there any words that they class as prepositions but you would not, or vice versa? Do you think their classification of these words is consistent?
NKM
Posted: Monday, June 4, 2018 12:22:08 PM

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Wow! Did I open a can of worms, or was it just waiting to burst?

When I offered that quote ("If it ain't broke, don't fix it!") I certainly didn't mean to suggest that there has ever been an entirely satisfactory description of the grammar of English. I have long been well aware that our two-piece infinitives were born to be split, and that sometimes the only appropriate word to end a sentence with is a (so-called) preposition.

While we're at it, let's admit that English has a perfectly good set of disjunctive pronouns. Just because ours, unlike their French counterparts, happen to be identical to the object forms, that's no good reason to pretend that they don't exist. After all, we use them all the time when we say things like "Who, me?" or "That's him." (Why should the French have all the fun?)

Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, June 4, 2018 4:08:19 PM

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NKM wrote:
Wow! Did I open a can of worms, or was it just waiting to burst?


Nah . . . it's been there all along.

What I think is . . .

Rather than try to make an old (designed for another language) grammar fit in - and rather than "re-define" words so that they no longer mean the definitions in the dictionaries - someone (a genius who has actually studied how English works) could write a grammar using totally new words where needed.

Rather than saying "OK - from now on the definition of "clause" in all dictionaries is wrong. "Clause" now means "clause or some specified phrases which I know and understand even if no-one else does)" - he would say "The old grammars had 'clauses' and 'phrases', which are well defined. However, it is helpful to group together clauses and some infinitive phrases and some participle phrases. We will call these "clayses", and the full definition of "clayse" is . . ."

This was done in the 70s (well, earlier in the lofty circles of a few linguists) with 'determiner'.
"The Determiner" is a set of words which do a particular job. Some of them are articles, some are possessive adjectives, some are quantifying adjectives, and so on.
This works well - it could be a little confusing at the start, but it is assimilable data. It does not try to re-define an already-defined word.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
NKM
Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 11:20:43 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:

… someone (a genius who has actually studied how English works) could write a grammar ….

Anybody else miss tunaafi's insights?

BobShilling
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2018 6:42:48 AM
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Audiendus wrote:
BobShilling wrote:
The class of adverbs is notoriously heterogeneous.

I agree. But I wonder if Huddleston & Pullum's 'preposition' class is also too heterogeneous.

I agree.

Quote:
I would like to discuss this further, perhaps in a new thread.

If you start one, I will try to join in, though I can drop in only occasionally these days.

Quote:
If it is not too much trouble, could you please list all the words, or the main ones, that H & P class as prepositions.

As soon as I have time.

Quote:
Are there any words that they class as prepositions but you would not, or vice versa? Do you think their classification of these words is consistent?

I'll leave my responses to those for the new thread if you start one
.
BobShilling
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2018 7:20:59 AM
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H & P say (p 603):

The most important properties that distinuish prepositions from lexemes of other categories are as follows:

i. COMPLEMENTS - the most central prepositions can take NP complements; in addition, non-expandable content clauses are almost wholly restricted to occurrence as complement to a subset of prepositions. More generally, most prepositions license a complement of one kind or another.

ii. FUNCTIONS - All prepositions can head PPs functioning as non-predicative adjunct; many can also head PPs in complement function.

iii. MODIFIERS - A subset of prepositions are distinguished by their acceptance of such adverbs as right and straight as modifiers.


(p 611) The main prepositions that are homonymous with gerund-participle or past participle forms of verbs are as follows:

according T, allowing F, barring, concerning, counting, excepting, excluding, failing, following, including, owing T, pertaining T, regarding, respecting, saving, touching, wanting, given, gone (BrE), granted. [...]

As prepositions, these items take an obligatory complement - an NP, except for those marked T or F, which take a to or for phrase respectively. The prepositions during, notwithstanding, and pending contain the -ing suffix, but are not homonymous with a verb.
There are slso a few deverbal prepositions that take content clause complements: given, granted, provided, providing, seeing.



More later
BobShilling
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2018 9:09:41 AM
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H & P explain (ps612-613) why they think words that are traditionally considered as prepositions when they take an NP but not when they don't should always be classed as prepositions. They give a sample list of these:


aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, alongside, apropos, around, before, behind, below, beneath, besides, between, beyond, by, down, for, in, inside, near, notwithstanding, off, on, opposite, outside, over, past, round, snce, through, throughout, to, under, underneath, up, within, without.

Their list of words (p614) that cannot take an NP complement but should be cclassed as prepositions is:

abroad, abreast, adrift, aground, ahead, aloft, apart, ashore, aside, away,
here, there, where, hence, thence, whence.
east, north, south, west,
aft, back, forth, home, together,
downhill, downstage, downstairs, downstream, downwind,
uphill, upstage, upstairs, upstream, downwind,
indoors, outdoors,overboard, overhead, overland, overseas, underfoot, underground
backward(s), downward(s), eastward(s), forward(s), heavenward(s), homeward(s), inward(s), leftward(s), northward(s), onward(s), outward(s), rightward(s), seaward(s), skyward(s), southward(s), upward(s) westward(s)
.


That will have to do for the moment.

Audiendus
Posted: Thursday, June 7, 2018 9:52:43 PM
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Thanks, that is very helpful.
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 2:35:17 AM

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BobShilling wrote:
H & P explain (ps612-613) why they think words that are traditionally considered as prepositions when they take an NP but not when they don't should always be classed as prepositions. They give a sample list of these:


aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, alongside, apropos, around, before, behind, below, beneath, besides, between, beyond, by, down, for, in, inside, near, notwithstanding, off, on, opposite, outside, over, past, round, snce, through, throughout, to, under, underneath, up, within, without.

Their list of words (p614) that cannot take an NP complement but should be cclassed as prepositions is:

abroad, abreast, adrift, aground, ahead, aloft, apart, ashore, aside, away,
here, there, where, hence, thence, whence.
east, north, south, west,
aft, back, forth, home, together,
downhill, downstage, downstairs, downstream, downwind,
uphill, upstage, upstairs, upstream, downwind,
indoors, outdoors,overboard, overhead, overland, overseas, underfoot, underground
backward(s), downward(s), eastward(s), forward(s), heavenward(s), homeward(s), inward(s), leftward(s), northward(s), onward(s), outward(s), rightward(s), seaward(s), skyward(s), southward(s), upward(s) westward(s)
.


That will have to do for the moment.



Thanks for the explanation, yet I remain skeptical.

It seems to me eminently more useful to describe a word as multifunctional according to context — a preposition is a word that is placed before another or other words to form a certain type of phrase — rather than to ossify and constrain a word to only one function when it quite evidentially can function polymorphicly.
Think



"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 4:01:33 AM

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leonAzul wrote:
It seems to me eminently more useful to describe a word as multifunctional according to context — a preposition is a word that is placed before another or other words to form a certain type of phrase — rather than to ossify and constrain a word to only one function when it quite evidentially can function polymorphicly.
Think


You mean that the word 'ship' isn't a noun in "They decided to ship the car by sea"? Think Whistle

It seems 'natural' to me to say (something like):
I have a sentence "They went upwards" - obviously the word "upwards" qualifies how they went. It's an adverb.
A similar sentence is "They went aloft" - obviously "aloft" qualifies where they went. It's an adverb.
"They went up the mast" is a similar sentence - obviously "up the mast" is an adverb, it qualifies where they went. "Up" is a preposition, it introduces, and shows relationships of, the noun-phrase "the mast".

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 4:10:49 AM

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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
leonAzul wrote:
It seems to me eminently more useful to describe a word as multifunctional according to context — a preposition is a word that is placed before another or other words to form a certain type of phrase — rather than to ossify and constrain a word to only one function when it quite evidentially can function polymorphicly.
Think


You mean that the word 'ship' isn't a noun in "They decided to ship the car by sea"? Think Whistle


Soytently!
Whistle

Adenoidenally haft eye scene dap ship fudged.
8^0


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Audiendus
Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 8:33:26 PM
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BobShilling wrote:
H & P explain (ps612-613) why they think words that are traditionally considered as prepositions when they take an NP but not when they don't should always be classed as prepositions. They give a sample list of these:

aboard, about, above, across, after, against, along, alongside, apropos, around, before, behind, below, beneath, besides, between, beyond, by, down, for, in, inside, near, notwithstanding, off, on, opposite, outside, over, past, round, snce, through, throughout, to, under, underneath, up, within, without.

Their list of words (p614) that cannot take an NP complement but should be classed as prepositions is:

abroad, abreast, adrift, aground, ahead, aloft, apart, ashore, aside, away,
here, there, where, hence, thence, whence.
east, north, south, west,
aft, back, forth, home, together,
downhill, downstage, downstairs, downstream, downwind,
uphill, upstage, upstairs, upstream, downwind upwind,
indoors, outdoors,overboard, overhead, overland, overseas, underfoot, underground
backward(s), downward(s), eastward(s), forward(s), heavenward(s), homeward(s), inward(s), leftward(s), northward(s), onward(s), outward(s), rightward(s), seaward(s), skyward(s), southward(s), upward(s) westward(s)
.


I notice that 'clockwise' and 'anticlockwise' are not on the list. Yet they can be used parallel to some of the above 'prepositions', e.g:

Move the handle outwards and clockwise.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Saturday, June 9, 2018 2:52:47 AM

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There are many (you can invent your own) of the '-wards' and '-wise' ones.
Dick Whittington set off citywards with his cat.

Also widerdshins, dexter and sinister. (in poetic writing only)

Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
BobShilling
Posted: Saturday, June 9, 2018 3:38:28 AM
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Audiendus wrote:


I notice that 'clockwise' and 'anticlockwise' are not on the list. Yet they can be used parallel to some of the above 'prepositions', e.g:


I don't think H & P intended their list to be comprehensive
.
BobShilling
Posted: Saturday, June 9, 2018 4:43:00 AM
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One problem that often crops up in discussions such as this is what exactly we mean by the categories we call parts of speech or word classes.

In inflected languages such as Latin, it is possible to categorise many words by form alone. This the Latin equivalent of 'carry' has suffixes that change the meaning to I/you/he/etc love/loved/will love/etc. The Latin equivalent of 'boy' has suffixes that change to meaning to boy/boy's/boys/boys'/to a boy/with boy/by boys/etc. These changes makes it fairly straightforward for us to put amo (love) in the category of verbs and puer (boy) in the category of nouns.

However, form along was not always sufficient, which is why early Latin grammariand could/did not have separate noun and adjective categories. Later, tehy started to use both form and function when defining categories =and split sdjectives from nouns.

In English, t has always been impossible to distinguish categories by form alone. We can distinguish functions, as in:

I will brick up up that window next year.
The brick wall collapsed in the big storm.
The brick flew through the window.

It is fairly straightforward to say that the underlined word in the first sentence functions as a predicatior, in the second s a modifier, and in the third as a subject. It is not quite so straightforward when it comes to word class. Is 'brick' a nun or an adjective in the second?

Fromm the very first English grammar (1586) most grammarians have defined word classes in terms of both form and function. As grammarians have acquired more insight into the language, particularly as ever larger corpora became available, so they have refined their word classes - usually to the dismay of people who grew up with earlier definitions. The word classes will never be perfect - it is simply not possible to slot every single word into eight or nine neat, watertight categories.
Audiendus
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2018 10:02:42 AM
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I think it would be difficult to argue that the words in bold below belong to different word classes:

He often writes unintelligibly, illegibly or backwards.
leonAzul
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2018 12:42:55 PM

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Audiendus wrote:
I think it would be difficult to argue that the words in bold below belong to different word classes:

He often writes unintelligibly, illegibly or backwards.


Confirmation bias muchly™?

Polymorphism is so rampant in the English language that the mention of it verges on a banality.

It is the root of so many puns (keeping in mind that two-thirds of a pun is "P-U" ;) that it has to be considered a feature, not a bug.

Kontekst is Quing™ (please forgive the "phun with fonix referens")

Straight to the point, each of your embolded™ examples sounds like an adverb to my ear. Yet does my patent neologism sound natural to yours?


"Make it go away, Mrs Whatsit," he whispered. "Make it go away. It's evil."
Audiendus
Posted: Monday, June 11, 2018 9:29:16 PM
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leonAzul wrote:
Straight to the point, each of your embolded™ examples sounds like an adverb to my ear. Yet does my patent neologism sound natural to yours?

"Embolded"? Yes, I think so. Emboldened, embodied, embolded...
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 4:28:12 PM

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BobShilling wrote:
The brick wall collapsed in the big storm.Is 'brick' a noun or an adjective. . .?

Thanks for the data on Latin (and Latin grammarians) - it's very interesting.

As a 'dismayed old-timer', my answer to the above is that 'brick' is obviously Anxious (in that sentence, not in others) an adjective.
The wall collapsed in the big storm.
The red wall collapsed in the big storm.
The high wall collapsed in the big storm.
The brick wall collapsed in the big storm.


The 'part of speech' of a word is dictated by what it does in a specific sentence.
In that sentence, "brick" describes "wall".
If you really want to refine it, and say "it's a word which is often used as a noun which is being used as an adjective in this sentence" (or - "It's an attributive noun"), then of course you may.

However, I find it much simpler (for practical purposes) to say that no word has an intrinsic "part of speech". There are some which (just by convention) are used as a particular 'part of speech' 99.9% of the time.
A word may have a word class - a participle '-ing' is a participle.
It can be used as an adjective, a noun, a verb (part) or sometimes an adverb. This 'part of speech' depends on the job it is doing in a specific sentence.

However, as you said, "it is simply not possible to slot every single word into eight or nine neat, watertight categories" - particularly when it comes to conjunctions & prepositions - and adverbs are a bit 'cloudy' too.d'oh!


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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