Part IV. WORDS and PHRASES in a “grammar”
IV.A What’s in a WORD?
IV.1 Like other elements of language and discourse, the English WORD merits a “three-sided” description (II.1). On the linguistic side, the WORD is a key unit whereby the linear sequences of speech or writing can be organised to express less linear meanings, topics, ideas, and so on. It has an acoustic and visual identity, such that it can be spoken, or read off a page, by itself, e.g. a NOUN , a VERB , an ADJECTIVE , or an ADVERB  (cf. IV.46).
 “It is only love that can keep from bitterness!” “Love!” cried Erica; she could have screamed it. (We Two)
 Then Harriet pronounced the monosyllable “Go!” “Go where?” asked Philip. (Where Angels Fear to Tread)
 “You have been, in the eye of the law, a Bad Baronet.” “Bless my heart, was I very bad?” “Awful!” (Ruddigore)
 “Smitten, my lord?” inquired Ormiston, maliciously. “Hopelessly!” replied the earl, with a deep sigh. (Midnight Queen)
IV.2 When WORDS do not occur alone, we can use PATTERNS as our practical term for any mutually relevant sequence of WORDS we wish to describe, whilst ITEM can serve as our practical term to include either a WORD or a PATTERN. A PATTERN is rarely just the total of the individual WORDS added up. A lot of “grammatical work” can be done by a compact PATTERN that attracts little notice:
 I cannot imagine Angela Carter as a pillar of the literary Establishment, for all that she enjoyed recognition. She was a genuine radical. (Telegraph)
 Tom shoved a piece of candlestick into the middle of a corn-pone that was in Jim’s pan, and when Jim bit into it it most mashed all his teeth out. Jim he never let on but what it was just a piece of rock that’s always getting into bread (Huckleberry Finn)
I think more formal paraphrases might sound wordy or weighty: for , “notwithstanding the considerable extent to which she enjoyed…”; for , “Jim gave no indication that he contemplated any other explanation than it was…”
IV.3 Prominent linguistic features of the WORD in written English include “spacing” and “punctuation”, which make the sequence of WORDS seem tidier and more divisible than it is. Those of spoken English include PROSODY and STRESS, which make the sequence of WORDS seem more untidy and indivisible than it is.
IV.4 In both media, the arrangements of WORDS are influenced by the factor of BALANCE, i.e., the relative length and weight in a unit like a PHRASE or a CLAUSE. For example, NOUN PHRASES with many more than two MODIFIERS in front of the NOUN tend to seem weighty for special effect ; So does a lengthy DIRECT OBJECT at the front of a SENTENCE ; or POST-MODIFIER that could easily have been placed as a PRE-MODIFIER .
 If you want the whole rumbustious, arrogant, self-satisfied, smug, righteous, courageous, opinionated, dedicated, class-ridden, adventure-seeking, patriotic life of an era, you can do no better than collect Victorian bindings. (Book-Collecting.)
 Anything more scrupulously correct than your conduct, it would be impossible to desire. (Ruddigore)
 Conversation the most polished and brilliant revived her spirits. (Madame D'Arblay)
The preferred BALANCE for FOCUS in English is END WEIGHT (cf. VI.22). So FOCUS falls on the “vanishing” in  but on its “swiftness” in [9a]; and if the two are spoken, you should hear a stronger STRESS on the last WORD (cf. VI.16).
 Mr Toots swiftly vanished. (Dombey)
[9a] Toots vanished swiftly.
The once sprightly but now destitute bounder Alfred Jingle seems to extenuate himself somewhat but focusing on “suffering” in , whereas [10a] would rather imply “serves me right”.
 Deserved it all -- but suffered much. (Pickwick)
[10a] Suffered much -- but deserved it all.
IV.5 On the cognitive side, the WORD is a key unit for organising and sharing meaning and knowledge about PROCESSES such as ACTIONS, EVENTS, and STATES (cf. V.10). Here we see the “same WORD” being the key indicator of three quite distinct ACTIONS: greeting , rescuing , and understanding .
 Karl jumped up, grasped Herr Nordern’s hand, and beamed into his face. “What a pleasure to see you again.” (Bury the Dead)
 He ran to the edge of the swampland, reached out, grasped Mandy’s outstretched hand, and pulled her back to safe, solid ground. (Brownie Stories)
 The Bolsheviks had grasped the supreme political importance of the railways and the press as instruments for an all-Russian revolution. (One Step Backwards)
In Part V, I shall present a three-sided description of the LEXICOGRAMMAR that powerfully “drives along” the more familiar GRAMMAR of WORDS, PHRASES, and CLAUSES.
IV.6 On the social side, the WORD is a key unit for organising human relations and interactions. A perfunctory marriage performed in the fug of a shabby chapel ended in a burst of 18th-century political incorrectness triggered by the WORD “free”:
 “Let’s breathe some free air”, said Harry, and laid hold of his wife. The parson chuckled. “Free? You’ll never be free again, my lord. You ha’ sold your birthright for a mess of pottage, ain’t you? And mighty savoury pottage, too, says you.” He rolled his eyes and smacked his lips. (Highwayman)
The interaction turns on bodily events with strong social meanings: “laid hold” (to protect and move out), “chuckled” (to mock), and “rolled his eyes” and “smacked his lips” (to ironicise sexual desire). The broader social context is set by irreverent ATTITUDES about marriage as a loss of “freedom” and a gain of property, since Harry looked poorer than his wife. The beery parson unctuously blends in the Biblical story of Esau “selling his birthright”: in the King James Bible, for “bread and pottage of lentiles” (Genesis 25:34).
IV.7 The importance of ATTITUDES, termed AMELIORATIVE, PEJORATIVE, and NEUTRAL, was affirmed back in II.8-10 to permeate well beyond what most “grammars” acknowledge. They get more notice when the wording is fairly marked, e.g.:
 The Head of Fashion remembers Katharine Hamnett, fashion’s fireball, as “an outstanding character, a marvellous girl, amusing and sparky”. (Independent)
 The President of the United States is an incompetent, sub-intelligent, inhuman and wet-brained mass murderer with a Messiah complex. (Carte Blanche)WWW
The very WORD “word” can be cognitively or socially charged: “having no word” ; “giving the word” ; “keeping one’s word” ; and “breaking one’s word” .
 He was kidnapped by terrorists. We had no word since. It is common practice for diplomats to be tortured for information. (Sons of Heaven)
 Taking her courage in both hands, Mildred gave the word: “Down broom! Fast!” Instantly they plunged into a vertical nose-dive. (Bad Spell)
 He was beaten to death and, as a result [huh?], swore that he would forever haunt the local area. [...] He kept his word, for he was seen on countless occasions over the years, often passing through walls and machinery, and terrifying anyone who saw him. (Railway Ghosts)
 “Marriage? But I’ve been promised to Craig for years, I can’t break my word.” “You may have to break your word, Emily.” (Shoemaker’s Daughter.)
Moreover, the power is acknowledged of one “word” [22-23] or of several “words” to “hurt” as bad as sticks and stones [24-25],[Note 1] viz:
 “Your parents abandoned you”. [...] “How dare you!” Marguerite roared. Abandoned. Like garbage. The word made her wither inside. (TLW Fix Stories)WWW
 “My life is ordinary.” Ordinary. The word made her shoulders slump and tears slip into her plain brown eyes. (Chris Freeburn)WWW
 “You’ve done ‘em all a favour by writing yourself off the promotion list.” He screwed up his eyes with pain. She was right of course, but her words hurt just the same. [...] He was finished as a rising executive. (Man at the Sharp End)
 “I’ve no intention of standing by and watching Emma get hurt because of a deadly man-trap like you.” Lissa gasped. His words hurt her more deeply than she would have imagined. (Waters of Eden)
Indeed, a “war of words” can escalate into a war of weapons:
 After this nothing more serious than a war of words occurred until July 11, when an event happened which aroused the feeling of both parties to the fighting pitch. [...] Civil chaos ensued. (Story of the Mormons)
IV.8 Such a three-sided description might help to account for the profound, at times reverent, respect for the “word” as a language item, perhaps endowed with special powers like the magic one that Mildred’s zealous broom in  took a mite too literally. Perhaps this respect has also affected or limited the study of language and grammar. At any rate, the WORD must remain a basic unit of description, and so merits some exploration as such before we dive into the kaleidoscope of WORD-CLASSES, which is where many “grammars”, unlike this one, both start and stop.
IV.9 A WORD-PIECE is a meaningful unit which regularly appears as an integrated part in some MULTI-PIECE WORD rather than by itself.[Note 2] English has a fair assembly of them, which, like our GRAMMAR, LEXICON, PRONUNCIATION, and ORTHOGRAPHY, has been complicated by variation among the “family” of Englishes; and by the evolution of coinings and borrowings throughout a long history (cf. II.77, 109; III.5; IV.14).
IV.10 Still, four main types of WORD-PIECES might be straightforwardly defined by their positions. The STEM (like in a plant) is the core of the WORD and is most apt to indicate what meaning it might contribute, which is further determined by the whole WORD and the CONTEXT. The PREFIX is “previously fixed” before the STEM; the SUFFIX is “subsequently fixed” after the STEM; and the ENDING is tacked on at the end. These four may be easy to spot, even if they change their forms somewhat when they get combined:
IV.11 Whereas the quantity of STEMS in English is far too massive to be reliably listed, the other three classes of WORD-PIECES are not so unmanageable. The PREFIXES mainly alter the MEANING, say, to make it NEGATIVE, e.g., “un‑” in “unfair” or “dis‑” in “disregard”; or PEJORATIVE, e.g., “mis‑” in “misinformed”; or pseudo‑” in “pseudo‑intellectual” The SUFFIXES mainly alter the WORD‑CLASS, say, to make a NOUN out of a VERB, e.g., “amaze + ment” => “amazement”; or an ADJECTIVE out of a NOUN, e.g., “fool + ish” => foolish”. The ENDINGS (the least numerous of all) mainly alter the form of the same WORD, say, to make a NOUN into a PLURAL, e.g. “farthing +s” => “farthings”, or a VERB into a PARTICIPLE, e.g., “talk + ing” => “talking”.
IV.12 The finer details are more diffuse and complicated. Some WORD-PIECES are not easy to spot; some alter their forms to accommodate each other; some are blurred by borrowing or by language change; and some have quite other functions than those just mentioned. Moreover, I doubt whether many of them are actively selected and registered during ordinary discourse, where the combinations of WORDS are more informative than their PIECES.
IV.13 Still, such problems are less intrusive for PRODUCTIVE WORD-PIECES that can form new MULTI-PIECE WORDS. In a broad sense, the most PRODUCTIVE might be seen in the PLURAL ENDING added to newly-formed NOUNS, as in “printouts” (electronic data “out” on paper) and “mouses” (hand-held computer controls):
 yeah that´s what they use up the school on proper computers, the screens and printouts and mouses (conversation)bnc
Indeed, this ENDING can spontaneously generate alternative PLURALS, sometimes more than one, viz.:
 use the criterions of deployment or a readiness exercise […] and sustainment based on functional inspection criterions (Air Force)WWW
 Student was weak in two criterias of the exemplary performance for this objective. (Baylor University)WWW
 Use of datums in product definition is required in order to specify part features in functional relationship with other features. (Candoris)WWW
 I am having a problem to get all datas into one table. I must get datas from 2 other tables. (databasejournal)WWW
This ENDING might also be termed PRODUCTIVE when the PLURAL form is distinct in meaning or usage from the SINGULAR. If you “take pain”, you passively withstand physical hurt ; but if you “take pains” (far more common), you exert yourself for a specific result . Or, “information” is the popular term, e.g. , whereas “informations” occurs in my British data only for official submissions in legal proceedings, e.g. .
 I am more than a little saddened that your instructor finds an ability to take pain so impressive a trait to possess. (Aiki Web Aikido Forums)WWW
 The head of a Catholic School took pains to tell the real story when juvenile crime in East Leeds hit the headlines. (Leeds Diocesan Catholic Voice)bnc
 This account [...] includes some historical and other background information in the wider contexts of the Western Isles. (Rural Development in Lewis and Harris)
 The defendant [...] carried on a restaurant business. Informations were laid against him relating to offences under the Food Hygiene Regulations (Criminal Law Review)
In return, I reasoned intuitively that some NOUNS should never occur with a PLURAL ENDING. But in every test I ran, I found a handful, though they sounded odd to me, as in:
 He afterwards regarded making friends with Lord Halifax as one of the happinesses of the York years. (Michael Ramsey)
 That pink-cheeked dancing-master to marry Katharine? [That] fantastical fop [with] his innumerable spites and prides and pettinesses? (Night and Day)
These PLURALS suggest to me concrete events or episodes rather than the more abstract emotions associated with the SINGULAR.
IV.14 Historically, English WORD-PIECES and their PRODUCTIVITY show a parti-coloured and interventionist mix of native and borrowed elements. The SUFFIXES coming down from Old English are not represented in many WORDS in my corpora: “‑ship” in “friendship” and “kingship”; “‑hood” in “neighbourhood” and “brotherhood”; or “‑dom” in “kingdom” and “chiefdom”. Still, the Internet seems briskly PRODUCTIVE of socially loaded creations like “loserhood” or “loserdom” (opposite of “cooldom” or, rarely, “coolhood”), “old‑timerhood” and “nerdhood” (among computer professionals), whilst “stardom” has been inexorably jazzed up into “superstardom”, “megastardom”, and, rarely, “hyperstardom”. Intriguingly, the SUFFIX “hood” has been chopped to stand alone for “neighborhood”, which attracted much publicity in African American English to the title of John Singleton’s acclaimed film Boyz n the Hood (1991).
IV.15 Ironically, one fine Old English SUFFIX has been, in the purview of language guardians, too PRODUCTIVE. The SUFFIX “‑wise” developed out of a 10th-century NOUN for “manner” or “way”; nowadays, it’s a popular tool for making NOUNS into ADVERBS [39-41].
 Now is there going to be enough there, salad-wise? (conversation)BNC
 what I think I’ll do swimming-wise is go down to seven thirty (conversation)BNC
 Japan could not really be considered a top-class rugby-playing country strength-wise and have therefore decided not to bid. (Shiggy Konno)
 I don’t think that language-wise they have the vocabulary in the school to be able to pluck out meaningful comments (teachers” conference)bnc
The motives for scorning this usage are no clearer to me than the dwarfish “war” against “hopefully” (cf. II.43).
IV.16 PRODUCTIVITY fades when old Words blend strongly with a SUFFIX whilst the STEM is not easily recognised. A “butler” isn’t said to “*butle”; the word derives from an old VERB “bottle” meaning not, as it does today, “put into bottles”, but “pour out”, namely wines and liquors, as was indeed the ancient office:
 And he [Pharaoh] restored the chief butler unto his butlership again; and he gave the cup into Pharaoh’s hand (Genesis 40:2)
Nor can a “monger” be said to “*mong” as a revival of the Old English VERB for “trade”. The NOUN has sunk in social status from honest dealers like the “fishmonger”, “cheesemonger”, “woodmonger”, and “ironmonger” in my older data, to the opprobrious “gossip-monger”, “scandal-monger”, “gloom-monger”, and “scare-monger” in my newer data.
IV.17 PRODUCTIVITY has helped the native stock of WORD-PIECES to be overrun by borrowings. The SUFFIX “‑able” or “‑ible” apparently passed from Latin through Old French into Middle English to expand a VERB into an ADJECTIVE for what an ACTION can (or cannot) be done to, as in “drink” => “drinkable” or “resist” => “irresistible”. Here too, the corresponding VERB STEM may be absent: what is “edible” cannot be “*edded”: what is “potable” cannot be “*poted”. Such STEMS you can find in Latin (“edere” for eat, “potāre” for drink); but English STEMS are now fashionable, even if some products may seem trendy [44-45], overloaded [46-47], or ironic [48-49].
 I experienced the medical practice side, I went out for two or three assignments to get a feel for it and it’s doable. I’m afraid that’s an Americanism that’s crept into our language. (interview)BNC
 Scholar places different sorts of bristles: nonbubbleable and bubbleable, that, in their turn, may be unbubbled or bubbled. (Silvaco Resource Center)WWW
 Defective goods can be unmerchantable per se, as in the case of underpants impregnated with sulphate (Sale and Supply of Goods)
 NPAs [National Park Authorities] will be informed of all proposals likely to alter significantly the character of moorland, including non-grant-aidable changes. (Agriculture and Nature Conservation in Conflict)
 because of the way things work in academic life, [...] I was just about unsackable. (Part of the Furniture)
 Some books are considered to be “unputdownable” but this one [The Severed Alliance] seems to be “unpickupable” (Steven Patrick “Jim” Morrissey of The Smiths, unflatteringly portrayed)
Yet Latin STEMS would have their due. Unless you rely on dictionaries or spell‑checkers, the only to know in advance whether to write “‑able” or “‑ible” is to know the “conjugation” of the original Latin VERB.
IV.18 NOUNS formed with a SUFFIX may also change meaning and usage in the PLURAL (cf. § IV.10). They too may be abstract in the SINGULAR, like “necessity”, “antiquity”, “facility”, and “fraternity”, yet concrete in the PLURAL: “necessities” for food, drink, and clothing; “antiquities” for old, valuable objects of art or craft; “facilities” for places with specific purposes, such as child care, medical aid, or just toilet and shower; and “fraternities” for boarding-houses near US campuses for non-stop booze-ups and snog-ups..
IV.19 Creations with borrowed STEM plus borrowed SUFFIX can be pedantic or euphemistic “empowering” NOUNS for “formal” use (cf. IV.71-74). We are thus blessed with a stately parade of supremely refined WORDS for decidedly unrefined bodily events: “expectoration” (spitting), “oscitation” (yawning), “tussiculation” (coughing), “sternutation” (sneezing), “eructation” (belching), “aerophagy” (burping), “sudation” (sweating), “bromhidrosis” (offensive body odour), “micturation” (pissing), and “flatulation” (farting) -- all confirmed on the Internet.
IV.20 As if in ironic reversal, “solidarising” NOUNS for “informal” use have been created by chopping WORDS down from the end inwards to a single SYLLABLE, which functions like a bare STEM even though its form might not correspond to one [50-51]. Not too surprisingly, one form may be the remnant of more than one WORD [52-55].
 Cautiously, the Doctor poked his head out of the door. “Hang on a mo”. (White Darkness) [moment]
 They are planning a huge weekend skating festival, to take place early on during the school Summer hols (Skateboard!) [holidays]
 It was the bottle that first got Frank into diffs. He goes on binges. (Diamond Waterfall) [difficulties]
 One of those four switches across the top is the pulse tone, [but] you can tell the diff. (conversation)BNC [difference].
 Davis didn’t bother entering the comp so as to give everyone else a chance (Skateboard!) [competition]
 They are still single sex boarding schools, [but] the “Comp” goes some way to redressing the balance. (careers meeting)BNC [comprehensive]
Sometimes the new ITEM was the stressed SYLLABLE of the old [50-53], and sometimes not [54-55].
IV.21 PRODUCTIVE PREFIXES entail mostly differing conditions from SUFFIXES. We find manifestly less inclination to alter the WORD-CLASS: “garment” and “undergarment” are both NOUNS, “stay” and “overstay” are both VERBS; and so on. PREFIXES are more aimed at altering the meaning, sometimes radically, e.g., “seer” versus “overseer”, or “go” versus “undergo”. Yet, more like SUFFIXES, some bare STEMS without the usual PREFIX may be rare and odd, e.g., “joyed” rather than “overjoyed”  and “doubtedly” rather than “undoubtedly” .
 I am joyed to have the opportunity to share with you. ()WWW
 The schedule will be updated while Burning Man commences, as there most doubtedly will be some very cool impromptu offerings (Solarium)WWW
And the customary alternative to “non-fat milk” is not “fat milk”, but “whole milk”.
IV.22 PREFIXES differ from SUFFIXES, and are unlikely to be PRODUCTIVE, if they undergo ASSIMILATION to make nearby SOUNDS more “similar”. The NEGATIVE PREFIX “in‑” has been so adapted in “il‑literate”, “im‑mune”, “in‑numerable”, “ir‑relevant”. The PREFIX “ex‑” for “out of”, as in “expel”, has been adapted in “eccentric” or “effluent”; moreover, it reduces to simple “e‑” in “egress” or “emotion”; and it recently pops up alone to mean “previous but no longer”.
 “His ex came!” “What, his ex‑wife?” “Yeah.” “Or ex‑girlfriend or what?” “Ex‑wife.” (conversation)bnc
IV.23 Similarly, a PREFIX may limit the range of forms for a given usage. A “believer” “believes”, whilst an “unbeliever” is rarely, perhaps ironically, said to “unbelieve” .[Note 3]
 If you don’t “unbelieve” the way the unbeliever “unbelieves”, you are wrong in your way of thinking. (Body of Messia)WWW
“Official” can be either NOUN or ADJECTIVE, but “unofficial” only an ADJECTIVE. “Act” and “robe” can be NOUN or VERB, but “interact” and “disrobe” only a VERB. And so on.
IV.24 Especially PRODUCTIVE are NEGATIVE PREFIXES: the distinctive “un‑”, “non‑”, and “anti‑” as well as the more subtle “in‑”, “de‑”, and “dis‑”. Some formations may seem a trifle callous [60-61] or ostentatious [62-64].
 We find disutility from being unemployed, with individuals disliking unemployment even more after the first three months (Oxford Economic Papers)
 Evidence presented at the International Ornithological Congress has suggested that the de-beaking of chickens, widely used in the poultry industry, may not be as benign a practise as previously thought. (Environmental Digest)
 If, after the time of making the contract, it is found to operate unreasonably or unfairly, [...] it was possible to have supervening unenforceability. (Restraint of Trade)
 The irremediablenss of marriage, as it is at present constituted, undoubtedly deters many from entering into that state. (Principle of Population)
 Conventional heuristic‑based fuzzy logic systems cannot learn, and fail to work with many complex applications, [but] the company gets round the problem by using new defuzzification algorithms. (Computergram)
 well I’m fairly discomknockerated if the truth be told (conversation)BNC
Whereas [60-64] all seem implicated in POWER, only  seems more directed at self-deprecating SOLIDARITY.
IV.25 Ostentatious prefixing can furnish the gnarled shibboleths of medical journals who dote on “hyper‑” (too much) and “hypo‑” (too little), even though (or because?) the two are so easy to confuse. Try to digest the original  before reading my “de‑prefixed” revision [66a].
 Metabolic abnormalities include hyperglycaemia, hyperinsulinaemia, raised catecholamine concentrations, and probably hypophosphataemia and hypomagnesaemia. (British Medical Journal)
[66a] The metabolism may enter abnormal states with too much glucose, insulin, or neurotransmitters, and probably with too few agents to process phosphoric esters and magnesia antacids.
The subject-matter is far from abstruse. The companion journal Lancet (a tactless name, I’d say) reports that “hypophosphataemia” can participate in “cardiac complications” that are “the most common cause of death”.
IV.26 Creating MULTI-PIECE WORDS on your own from PRODUCTIVE WORD-PIECES should be done with care to stay clear of such infelicitous products as we have seen. Bear in mind that many users of English may not pick the pieces out, but just see or hear complete WORDS. You should feel confident that any you produce will be easy to grasp, e.g.:
 She ran with long gandery strides, it was a wonder she didn’t rip up her skirt at the side (Ulysses)
 Wise to the ways of two of the most notoriously sharkish industries, TV and pop, Kylie was not going to Hollywood [to be] eaten by the star system (Kylie Minogue)
 Just for those seconds a mocking vision danced gnomelike through his brain. (Lamp in the Desert)
In writing, marking off the pieces with a HYPHEN may be friendly:
 Toss the onion and carrots in with the butter into a non‑stick saucepan (Total Health)
 What Poland needs, quips Mr Bronislaw Geremek, Solidarity's hirsute and widely respected parliamentary leader, is a liberal-conservative-social-democratic-rural party. (Economist)
 Spirit Of Eden offered spontaneous improvisation, yearning wails of pain and desire, [and] other lost-in-my-muse soul searching noises. […] Talk Talk quickly signed with the smaller home-of-the-weird label, Verve. (Hot Press)
The freedom to build WORDS this way can express your meanings in a more creative and interesting manner than with ready-made WORDS.
IV.C MULTI-WORD UNITS
IV.27 MULTI-WORD UNITS resemble MULTI-PIECE WORDS except that the parts can also occur as authentic WORDS. They may be written as single WORDS, as in [73-74]; or with hyphens, as in [75-76]; or as visually separate WORDS, as in [77-78]; or again, as some mixture of these, as in [79-80].
 Those partners include Pakistan, whose military is getting our best counter-terrorist train-and-equip efforts. (Doug Feith, Dept. of “Defense”)
 The current push for reform started in 1989 with “Chickengate”. Lonnie Bo Pilgrim, a wealthy Texan chicken magnate […] handed $10,000 cheques to several legislators during the debate on a bill about compensating workers for job injuries. (Economist)
 Live music and comedy will be used as the audience enters an absurdist world of fish-throwing bicyclists. (Northern Echo)
 Footsteps, then the door opened: a man [in] patent leather house shoes. (Wycliffe)
 In certain circumstances, the vehicle will be exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty Road Tax. (Health Promotion)
 As boys, they were generally able to patch up their quarrels with a joky song‑and‑dance routine (“Me and My Shadow”). (Telegraph)
 One of his specialities is a droning refrain, performed some years ago on one of those Saturday morning comedy‑pop‑and‑hobbies programmes (same)
But all are linguistic, cognitive, and social units just the same, in contrast to sardonic indicators of rapid, formulaic speech, e.g.:
 Stand, attention, sir! Heels‑together-and-on-the-same-line, toes-equally-turned-out, draw-in-your-chin, throw-out-your-chest [etc] (Colored Cadet at West Point)
 A female reporter asked me “Are you a Jewess-Catholic-Protestant-Mohammedan-Buddhist-Atheist-Zoroaster-Theist-or-Deist?”, [...] all that in a breath, accenting the syllables haphazard, and making of the whole one word so wildly incoherent (Sarah Bernhardt)
IV.28a Yet sometimes the meaning of the whole usage is clear from the parts, as in “steel” + “works” => “steelworks” or “house” + “boat” => “houseboat”, but the relations among parts can be subtle. Creative items may be formed from blending as well as combining. Thus, a “celebutard” would be a “celebrity debutante” who seems “retarded” [82a].
[82a] Residents of a posh Los Angeles apartment complex that's home to her boy toy, Cardinals quarterback Matt Leinart, say every time Paris Hilton visits, the celebutard thoughtlessly pulls into the handicapped spot. (jalopnik)www
A “tanorexic” would be obsessed with being slender and tan [82b].
[82b] I love Christina Aguilera, [but] she's looking a little too tanorexic. I'm not a really big fan of the dress. It just looks odd. (Grammys Red Carpet)www
“Smirting” is “smoking” and “flirting” at the same time, usually outside clubs and bars where smoking inside is prohibited [82d], and is reportedly a smash hit in Ireland [82e].
[82c] Trust me, the smoking ban is sexy. […] There's a frisson to smirting that you just don't get with daytime smoking. […] Smirting is efficient;you don’t have to waste half an hour trying to not to be too obvious in making eye contact across a crowded bar. […] Every cigarette break brings a fresh opportunity, offering putative couples a ready-made assessment period of five minutes (Sunday Times Scotland)
In contrast, “snirting” (using “snuff” instead) seems utterly unpromising [82e].
[82e] Unlike smirting, snirting was unlikely to take off. Snuff and flirting do not make happy bedfellows. Sneezing forcefully in somebody’s face has never been much of a come-on. (same)
The Times glumly concluded that “our smoking ban backfired; all over Ireland, the number of social smokers has sky-rocketed”.
IV.28b Yet some blends leave modest traces of one unit. “Shambolism” is a “sham” of “symbolism” [82c], as when the Millennium Dome in Greenwich was touted as "a triumph of confidence over cynicism, boldness over blandness, excellence over mediocrity" (Tony Blair). It was closed down on 31 December 2000 after attracting just half the expected visitors.
[82c] It's the quaintness, the shambolism, the cobbled-together-ness which makes England the quirky place it so clearly is. (Dear Witho)www
IV.29 A scan of corpus data may detect a significant historical drift in social attitudes, e.g., among the MODIFIERS directly bearing upon the NOUN. In my EPC of older data, the most common are “good” and “little”, followed by a prim spread of “pleasant, bright, active, busy, tidy, sober, prudent, sensible, notable, skilled, excellent”, and indeed “managing”. Gervase Markham’s English Housewife (1637) pronounced the “most principal knowledge” to be “a perfect skill in Cookery”, lacking which “shee may love and obey, but shee cannot cherish and keepe her husband”.
IV.30 In the BNC of recent data, I find the MODIFIERS (besides the inevitable “good” and “little”) across a grim spread of “terrible, tubby, drab, dowdy, frumpy, stooping, undersexed, stressed, harassed, downtrodden, fractious, rebellious”. The sole occurrence of “happy” in the BNC rang hollow , though almost rapturous next to the sole occurrence of “happy wife” .
 The Happy Housewife beamed at the world from countless advertisements, looking out of her gadget-lined nest. (The Fifties)
 Brigitte Bardot, 58, took a drugs overdose on Saturday just after featuring in the magazine Hello! as a “happy wife”. (Today)
If we believe her (and I sure don’t), the happiest on record might be a “nineteen-year-old [!!] housewife in Memphis, Tennessee”:
 By her own admission in front of a grand jury, [she] slept with around 5,000 officers of the force. [...] She explained her appetite for policemen as “something to do with my belief in law and order”. (Sexual Trivia)
Even so, she too was not happy: she reportedly filed a million-dollar suit against a health spa whose “sauna had changed her from a devout Catholic housewife into a raving nymphomaniac”. Well, raving anyway.
IV.31 Socially, the modern business element of the “housewife” leans toward an idealised consumerism . But recent data hardly show them deliriously happy with the designation ; and those who say they are may protest too much .
 She lives in a new four-storey house on a recently completed private estate, and typifies the perfect housewife of television advertising: her house has fitted carpets throughout, and every modern gadget. (Sociology of Housework)
 “I’m not married to a house! I hate the word “housewife”. They say to you, “what are you? Just a housewife!” The hardest job in the world! (Elaine Cawthorne, in same)
 I am a good housewife I am a mother of four children I am a hard worker I am a good cleaner I am a good washer (Janet Gallagher, in same)
IV.32 I found very few MULTI-WORD UNITS in my corpora containing the term, the most common unexpectedly being the signally disempowering “cabbage housewife” . At the opposite end, so to speak, I found a MULTI-WORD UNIT for a concept blissfully freed from traditional duties .
 The image of the housewife as a cabbage [was] mentioned by twelve of the forty women. A “cabbage” housewife is someone entirely immersed in domestic affairs, a colourless personality, a drab, uninteresting automaton. (same)
 To express warmth, to be constantly person-oriented and conciliatory, it is clearly “necessary” that the housewife-wife-mother not be occupied with such highly instrumental tasks as cleaning the house, budgeting the housekeeping money, laundering the clothes, and throwing out the rubbish. (same)
IV.33 The social tension might be resolved by adopting alternative terms, two proximate candidates in
 “Househusband” was made on analogy with “housewife” and is a relatively new term to describe the husband who stays at home and does the domestic work. [...] Since advertisers and food page editors now need an inclusive word for addressing the person who runs the house, “houseperson” too may prosper.
Internet data are not encouraging. Most designated “househusbands” seemed awkward and not altogether free of self-pity or sarcasm, viz.:
 Linc had no idea what it really meant to be a househusband. To stay home every day, folding laundry, cleaning soap scum, and teaching his little girl to use the potty. To be ignored at parties by his wife’s colleagues. [etc etc] (Ad Hudler)WWW
Though it ought to be the most logical and straightforward, “housespouse” seems doomed even on the Internet , probably by the gauche sound echo.
 This may sound strange, but I actually enjoy doing dishes and cleaning and stuff. [...] Besides, it’s somehow good for my stress levels. I could probably make a good housespouse if I were so inclined, haha. (Matamari’s Rant-O-Rama)WWW
Nor is “houseperson” prospering on the Net. Only a few hits designate what some might call a “housewife”, and a bit uneasily . Instead, thousands of websites designate a hired, hard-working domestic, viz. .
 She lives in a Victorian cottage in south London with her husband Roger and their baby daughter Hannah. “I am completely undomesticated and disorganised: it doesn’t come naturally to me to be a houseperson”. (BBC Good Food)BNC
 The Houseperson is responsible for shampooing and extracting carpets as well as grout, window, and furniture cleaning. This person must have good communication skills. (Hyatt Hotels)WWW
At Hyatt, it seems, you talk to the “carpets” and “furniture”, perhaps beseeching them to come clean.
IV.34 The US Census Bureau, with its own legalistic curiosity about who’s with whom, created the anagram “POSSLQ” -- from “Persons of the Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters” -- which the 1991 Webster’s, in all seriousness, tell us to pronounce “possle-queue”, sounding like where weary Brits wait in line to dispatch “parcels” at the Royal Mail (late Consignia). I found no hits at all in the BNC; and most of those on the Internet are from dictionaries and the like, tamely explaining it. Actual uses are predictably sardonic, viz:
 Come live with me and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove.
There’s nothing that I wouldn’t do,
If you would be my POSSLQ. (rosinstrument)WWW
The prissy Census Bureau seemed incapable of imagining “Persons of the Same Sex”, which could yield “PSSSLQ” and be pronounced “pissle-queue”, sounding like where beery Brits at football matches anxiously twirl their legs outside public loos at half time.
IV.35 Creating MULTI-WORD UNITS on your own should also be done with care. Although many users of English could pick the out the individual WORDS, the relations between them, and the total meaning, may be unclear. When I found irreverent websites calling Robin Cook “ginger nut” and William Hague “slaphead”, I had to surf extensively to determine that the former designates not the familiar cookie, but a head with hair of that colour ; and the latter a head visibly deficient in hair .
 Any “ginger nut” will tell you of the taunts they get over their hair color (Ginger Nation)WWW
 Welcome to the furiously balding Tory buffoon, William Hague; [...] gaze on that expanse of pate and remember that whining, whinging, smug Tory drone of his...and then give the slaphead a well deserved slap! (urban 75)WWW
Many newish MULTI-WORD UNITS can be DISEMPOWERING:
 What banana brain thinks that a curved edge to the lid is more important than removing an excess 200g? (What Personal Computer)WWW
 Howard jumped the shark dating that horsefaced golddigging girlfriend of his. (Stern Fan Site)WWW
These are at least clear enough, though “jump the shark” is less so. According to the Web, it means to peak out and go into decline, originally said of TV shows. The original loser was the American sitcom Happy Days, after “Fonzie jumped over a tank containing a shark while on water skis” (Wikipedia).
IV.36 Other usages can be EMPOWERING:
 a banana skin Bath Rugby Club sent Gloucester tumbling to their first league defeat of the season on Saturday, 20-9. (TV News)BNC
 “You’re like a dryad”, he told her, “or a golden-limbed lioness in human form.” (Lover’s Charade)
On both sides, the effectiveness might arise from cognitive novelty combined with social piquancy.
IV.D “Naming the Parts of Speech” revisited
IV.37 The term parts of speech is among the oldest and most widespread in the whole study of “grammar” since classical antiquity; in November 2006, it showed a whacking 969,000 hits on the Internet (via AltaVista). Pity it happens to be both misleading and mistranslated. What you find under the topic, especially in “exercises”, is not speech but written language. Besides, the original Greek term “meroi logou” and its dutiful Latin translation “partes orationis” both meant “parts of the utterance or sentence”, which ought to highlight combination rather than partition.
IV.38 Nonetheless, “naming the parts of speech” has long held its place on the agenda as if it were the key to a sovereign command of English. Yet surely the crucial tasks, which obtrude most incessantly when learning English as a foreign language from the ground up, are finding the “parts of speech” and putting them together to make sense in the continuing stream of sounds. The arid practices of “naming” have addressed a stage where those tasks have already been done. The “sentence” stood transfixed on the page or blackboard, and got dismantled as a frog might be dissected in biology class, and with similarly distasteful results.
IV.39 To my mind, the implication is -- and some grammarians and linguists (or “psycho-linguists”) have repeatedly asserted as much elsewhere -- that real users of English routinely identify the “parts” of the speech they speak or hear. If so, “naming” would merely make explicit what is implicitly known; and the “names” themselves would be natural categories of our language, if not indeed “universals” of all. In return, the exercise should be superfluous in principle and much smoother in its proceedings than has so often been experienced.
IV.40 So “naming the parts” calls for some other account. In my view, it wets its toes in “English grammar” but never dives in, much less explores the ripples and currents of the depths. Its longevity is hardly remarkable within the peculiar tactics of public education (cf. II.7).[Note 4] In theory, it represents one more triumph of form over function. In practice it is a well-fenced, easily prepared “exercise” with “correct” and “incorrect” answers -- provided it works with carefully invented sentences, such as these thrillers from one such website (Rancho Milpitas Middle School):
 The geese indolently waddled across the intersection.
 The manager confidently made his presentation to the board of directors.
The blandness of the exercise is seconded by such predictable and soporific data -- even “geese waddling confidently” and “managers presenting indolently” would be a minor relief.
IV.41 When that “Grammar Crammer” programme for English teachers was announced on the BBC Online, as mentioned back in II.104, the public was reassured by the “Director of the National Centre for Literacy and Numeracy” (trendy names, I suppose, for “reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic”) that “it won’t just be a naming of grammatical parts, but a very active, investigative approach to understanding how to improve writing”. However, as I also mentioned, I can recover no information anywhere about how this “approach” would (or did) proceed, nor whether it really “improved writing skills” (BBC).
IV.42 I now propose to shelve the term “the parts of speech” in favour of the term WORD-CLASS, described as usual from three sides. On the linguistic side, it constitutes a grammatical grouping of WORDS with typical forms and positions, e.g., most NOUNS being able to follow an ARTICLE and to make a PLURAL by adding “-s” or “‑es”. On the cognitive side, it expresses communal knowledge and meanings, e.g., many NOUNS expressing persons as AGENTS. And on the social side, it supports or “tunes” a consensus among the community about the organisation and layout of communication, e.g., a NOUN from a previous utterance being repeated to convey doubt or surprise. To be sure, this three-sided approach cannot produce a tidy, much less definitive, classification, since the CLASSES themselves are roguishly untidy; nor can the three interact in equal prominence across all contexts, since some do more or less “communicative work” in particular contexts. But the perspective can, I hope to show, provide insights not readily open to a narrowly one-sided linguistic one (cf. II, 3, 5, 101).
IV.43 We might start from provisional distinctions among the more familiar WORD-CLASSES of English. Some CLASSES are quite small, such as the ARTICLES, with just the DEFINITE “the” and the INDEFINITES “a” and “an”. Other CLASSES are quite large, such as the NOUNS running into the millions, and constantly growing (e.g. “double-pole humbucker”, whatever that is, in the periodical Guitarist). Besides, NOUNS are briskly inclined to absorb other CLASSES by the guidelines of NOMINALIZATION (“nomen” being Latin for both “noun” and “name”).
IV.44 Some WORD-CLASSES are closed, i.e., resist admitting new ITEMS, such as the DEMON-STRATIVES with “this”, “that”, “these”, “those”, and (in regional usage) “them”. Others are open, welcoming new ITEMS; and again the NOUNS stand out, almost garishly in academic or bureaucratic discourse (cf. IV.25, 71). Beside, NOUNS supply labels for the flood of new commodities, such as like “laptop” and “pentium” in the computer industry. And they form the cores of insidious new euphemisms (cf. II.131): a bill collector was a “persistency specialist” for the Chase Manhattan Bank; fleas were “hematophagous arthropod vectors” in the American Journal of Family Practice; the narrowly avoided nuclear explosion at Three Mile Island was a “spontaneous energetic disassembly” for the Metropolitan Edison agent, who instantly fled the podium rather than explain. Someday, somewhere, a few million “disassembled” citizens may find out for dead sure.
IV.45 Some WORD-CLASSES are more static, i.e., allowing few if any changes in their forms, e.g., DEMONSTRATIVES. Others are more dynamic, not just NOUNS having NUMBERS and VERBS having TENSES, but all those CLASSES that have the potential for joining in creative MULTI-WORD UNITS like “bufflehead” (Samuel Pepys), “dumbfoundered” (Dr. Livingstone) or “headers-off” (Managing Education).
IV.46 Some WORD-CLASSES are self-centred, i.e., drawing attention to themselves and often able to stand by themselves as whole utterances, such as NOUNS like “Silence!” (Bleak House), VERBS like “Stay!” (Dr Jekyl), ADJECTIVES like “Impossible!” (Dorian Gray) and ADVERBS like “Quietly!” (Master of Ballantrae) (IV.1). The rest are more other-centred, i.e., drawing attention to other ITEMS, whence such names as “PREPOSITIONS” (put in front of something) or “CONJUNCTIONS” (joining things); they rarely stand as whole utterances, e.g., “*At!” or “*Whilst!” nowhere occurring in my data.
IV.47 Some self-centred WORD-CLASSES are fairly rich in supplying indications about plausible contexts, e.g. “Silence!” suggesting a COMMAND in a courtroom, classroom, or military barracks. Some other-centred ones are fairly sparse in supplying few indications; if your teacher entered the classroom, said “If!”, and bustled out again, you’d be right befuddled, I dare say.
IV.48 Although these distinctions are neither clear-cut nor free of exceptions, they may have encouraged “grammars of English” to subdivide the WORD-CLASSES into two main sets. Some of the ensuing terms have been a wee bit vague, viz.:
 Function words [...] have little or ambiguous meaning, but instead serve to express grammatical relationships with other words. [...] Words which are not function words are called content words or lexical words (Wikipedia)WWW
 A content word has semantic content or meaning: nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. A function word or empty word or form word has grammatical meaning, rather than lexical meaning: prepositions, auxiliary verbs, conjunctions, interjections, articles, etc (Linguistic Glossary)WWW
In terms of my own “grammar”, all WORDS are “lexical” as units in the “lexicon” (and mostly in a dictionary as a printed “lexicon” too). And the supposed distinctions between “content” versus serve “function” is far from secure, and still less those among types of “meaning” (“semantic”, “lexical”, “grammatical”, etc).
IV.49 I shall work instead with a straightforward distinction between the MAJOR WORD-CLASSES, such as NOUNS, VERBS, ADJECTIVES and ADVERBS; versus the MINOR WORD-CLASSES, such as ARTICLES, PRO-NOUNS, AUXILIARIES, PREPOSITIONS, CONJUNCTIONS, and INTERJECTIONS.[Note 5] This distinction is happily not elusive. The MAJOR WORD-CLASSES carry a rich range of contents and functions, such as signifying or modifying the persons and things that participate in actions, events, or states; setting the topic of a stretch of discourse like a sentence, utterance, or paragraph; and sustaining the linguistic, cognitive and social organisation of the discourse. The MINOR WORD-CLASSES are by themselves in principle not authorised to perform these functions, but rather to assist the MAJOR ones with a deal of largely unobtrusive “grammatical work” (cf. IV.2).
IV.50 A modest range of less familiar SUB-CLASSES will be featured as well, such as DETERMINERS, QUANTIFIERS, and PRO-FORMS. Ideally, a full set of dynamic terms would point toward the operations in using the GRAMMAR, but such is not readily practical nor likely to be accepted. Just a few of the conventional terms have this potential, such as “PHRASING” and “PARAGRAPHING”, but I have not seen “CLAUSING” or “SENTENCING” (as grammar, not the law), though all of these equally point to the operations of selecting one PATTERN over others.
IV.51 When an ITEM in one WORD-CLASS plausibly appears to have been shifted over from another, we can indicate its source with a suitable modifier: NOUN => NOMINAL, VERB => VERBAL, ADJECTIVE => ADJECTIVAL, ADVERB => ADVERBIAL, and so on. Thus, we can distinguish between the VERBAL NOUNS in , and the NOMINAL VERBS in .
 He had arrived at the dignity of death -- the only immortal who treats us all alike: [...] the soiled and the pure -- the loved and the unloved. (Mark Twain)
 “It was almost too easy, wasn’t it?” “Hilary” -- “Don’t ‘Hilary’ me! Don’t ever ‘Hilary’ me!” she shouted (Stranger’s Trust)
Here too, I must say “plausibly” (cf. I.12). Which WORDS should belong in which WORD-CLASS is often a matter of stronger or weaker surmise; “classifying” is most “plausible” when supported by a reasonable quantity of straightforward data, of which I have the space to present here only those I found most usable (I.7).
IV.52 A further conundrum is that the WORD-CLASSES in the real GRAMMAR do not fall into any obvious, let alone necessary sequence for presentation. For the MAJOR WORD-CLASSES, the custom has been to group NOUNS with ADJECTIVES on one side, and VERBS with ADVERBS on another, which seems reasonable. But the MINOR WORD-CLASSES are not so smoothly arrayed; and they continually obtrude as soon as we move from WORDS to PHRASES or CLAUSES. So my presentation will group the MAJOR WORD-CLASSES with their derivatives, and later focus mainly on those MINOR WORD-CLASSES that have not been dealt with by then, such as those rumbustious INTERJECTIONS.
IV.53 One set of derivatives not familiar from most “grammars” I’ve seen are the “stand-in” PRO-FORMS (cf. iv.147-69, 191, 239, 259-61, 293). Much attention has been devoted to English PRO-NOUNS , but little to PRO-ADJECTIVES , PRO-VERBS , or PRO-ADVERBS .
 “if you [i.e., Marullus the tribune] be out, sir, I can mend you.” “What mean’st thou [i.e., the cobbler] by that?” (Julius Caesar)
 Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; [...] such [i.e., lean and hungry looking] men are dangerous. (same)
 He loves no plays, as thou dost [i.e., love plays], Antony; (same)
 ‘Twas Annet who did speak with you so gentle and nice. [...] I’ll tell you how ‘twas that Annet acted so [i.e., gentle and nice]. (Lovers’ Tasks)
Indeed, one encounters several such apparent blind-spots within the texture of “traditional grammars”, precisely because their fealty to traditions, as described in II.E, discouraged them from looking for other types or categories of evidence. No doubt I’ve missed many as well; but, God willing, what I find in the future will be incorporated into this “cyberbook”.
Notes to Part IV, NUMBER One
1. See especially Dwight Bolinger, Language: The Loaded Weapon (London: Longman, 1980).
2. Linguistics calls them “morphemes” and defines them as “minimal meaningful units”, but substantial problems lay in wait. See my New Foundations, II.31-37.
3. On the Internet, “unbelieve” also appears as a NOUN, either for “unbeliever” or “thing not believed”.
4. For a full account, see my New Introduction, section II.C and references cited there.
5. Much the same organisation was used by Leech and Svartvik’s Communicative Grammar of English (cited in II.29), whose “communicative” approach seems closest to mine.
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