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What is a concrete noun : explanation

What is a concrete noun : a general definition of the term and introduction to the main corpus of linguistics

Linguistically speaking, any noun in any language represents a class of words that denote the subject and is characterized by categories of gender, number and case. The noun clause traditionally plays the role of subject or object. Extensional, which includes all values that a particular noun can acquire with regard to items, is understood rather widely (or ‘generally’ in the grammatical sense). Nouns can designate items (“table”, “light”) as well as living beings (“people”, “dog”), the state (“disease”) and so on. Most nouns form a correlative number. All nouns, except for pluralia tantum, are distributed by gender. Let us overlook the lexicogrammar groups of nouns. Depending on the meaning and grammatical forms, all nouns are divided into several categories. Thus, the first classification divides all nouns into common nouns and proper nouns. Proper nouns point to items that are individualized, such as names, nicknames, names of pets and animals, astronomical appellations, geographical and administrative names, titles of works of literature and art. Proper nouns distinguish the person or phenomenon from the whole class of typical items or characters; in other words, they make items unique that surely will come in handy next time you will want to know how to write a speech. Proper nouns have at least one striking grammatical feature: they can be used only in the singular or plural form, which means they have no correlative forms of numbers. There exist exceptions in cases of which proper names refer to persons or objects with the same name.

Common nouns represent generic, non-personalized names. The main part of common nouns is characterized by the correlative form of numbers. There are no rigid boundaries between proper nouns and common nouns as we often observe transitions (“Boston” and “boston”). Moreover, now we can provide an even more detailed classification of nouns and give the answer to the main question: what is a concrete noun ? Four groups of common nouns are as follows:

    • concrete subject nouns – these are names of objects, persons, living beings that are capable of changing quantitatively and are specific enough according to semantics. They can be combined with quantitative numerals and ordinal numbers;
    • concrete material nouns – these are nouns quite specific on the lexical value, but which indicate specific substances featuring no correlative forms, such as comestibles ( “salami”, “cream”), metals and minerals ( “iron”), pharmaceutical substances, scientific terms and other words. It should be noted that it is also possible to use plural forms of nouns when it comes to different sorts or types of substances (for example, “cheese”), or the space filled with some substance/material ( “snow”);
    • abstract nouns – these are nouns that denote features, action and conditions (“dourness”). Apparently, words that belong to this category cannot be combined with quantitative numerals and ordinal numbers. As a rule, they are generally used either in the singular or in the plural;
    • collective nouns – these nouns represent a set of objects, people and other living beings (for instance, “youth”, “peasantry”).

It is necessary to note that linguists’ opinion on the categorization of nouns is not always the same, so do not be surprised if the same word is attributed to one category by one scientist and to a completely different one by other scientists (for example, some complex nouns; however, it is advisable to determine their category depending on the context). Could it be that exactly this problem impedes the understanding of what is a concrete noun ? Once again, recall that in special cases it is possible to put in language practice plurals of some nouns that do not provide such forms. This happens due to the specifics of particular linguistic situations and the presence of specific meanings of certain nouns. Concrete subject nouns, in their turn, are divided into animate and inanimate. The former indicates phenomena of nature, while the latter points out, specifically, on phenomena of inanimate nature. In addition to semantic differences, these groups have a grammatical distinction, which relates to the category of case; therefore, it is very important to know what is an annotated bibliography before approaching such a complicated segment of linguistics. First and foremost, you should know that ‘grammatically animate’ nouns often mismatch with ‘actually animate’ nouns. On the whole, many semantic units that describe dead bodies, corpses and toy- or doll-like concepts refer to animate nouns, whereas nouns that describe biological terms (and many of them are representatives of wildlife) behave grammatically as inanimate nouns. Animate nouns, formally, are characterized by genitive and accusative cases that have identical forms, while accusative and genitive cases of inanimate nouns are not the same. Moreover, feminine and neuter forms of animate nouns feature the same accusative and genitive plurals (there are no “flowers”, I am able to see “flowers”).

What is a concrete noun : discussing essential basics and modern views of structural linguistics

Structural linguistics is a set of views on language and methods of testing, which are based on an understanding of language as a system of signs that features clearly distinguishable structural elements (units of language, classes and so forth). Main elements of the language system have different functions and values. The aggregations of principal elements of language formulate, in the narrow sense of the term, certain “levels” of the language system, that is, phonemes make phonemic level, morpheme – morphemic level and so on. Language levels, at the same time, represent some “parts” of language; they are subsystems of the overall language system, each of which is characterized by a set of relatively homogeneous units and a set of rules governing their use and grouping into different classes and subclasses. We can distinguish the following basic language levels: phonemic, morphemic, lexical (word), syntactic (sentence level). Only the language units that obey the rules of level compatibility can have properties and abilities that allow them to create the levels, in other words, they have the ability to enter into a paradigmatic and syntagmatic relations with elements of the same language level. Structural linguistics works on the maximally formal description of language (‘maximally’ means ‘approaching hard science’). However, is it able to answer what is a concrete noun ? SL received its name due to special attention to the structure of language, which is understood by this science as a network of relations (oppositions) between the elements of the language system arranged in a hierarchical dependence within certain levels. The structural description of language implies the analysis of a real text, which allows the scientist to emphasize the generalized invariant units (schemes of proposals, morphemes, phonemes) and correlate them with specific speech segments on the basis of strict rules of implementation. These rules define the limits of variation of language units in a language itself – limits that are permissible in terms of maintaining their self-identity. Hence, with such rules we have, basically, a fixed set of valid synonymous transformations of language units. Also, the understanding of such rules permits us to perform academic tasks better – thus, they enrich our ability to find out how to write a philosophy paper. Depending on the deepness of the analysis of implementation the rules are formulated according to the positional distribution of specific embodiments of the unit, such as the principle of complementary (also, phonological) distribution or transformation rules in the syntax (in case of transformational analysis) governing the transition from the invariant deep structure to the set of its implementations (which is a superficial understanding). Taking into account the movement of research interests from static presentation to the dynamic structure of language, generative grammar developed, mostly, on the basis of structural linguistics, whereas the formulation and solution of problems related to machine translation were defined, in many ways, by the idea of structural analysis of language. The combination of SL with typology has resulted in structural typology, which studies general rules of the structure of the language system’s individual fragments and the structure of language in general. Thus, SL opened the way for starting linguistic research of mathematical methods (mathematical linguistics).

What is a concrete noun : the historical background

One can name more than one APA essay that describe several stages in the development of SL. The first phase (no later than the 50th of the 20th century) is characterized by high and, in some cases, exceptional attention to the structure of the plan of expression as to a more affordable for a rigorous description; consequently, that led to the neglect of content, exaggeration of the role of relationships between elements of the system and neglect of the elements themselves as a linguistic entity. Quite often, SL was also criticized for being too static and “correct” when it goes for the system of language as well as for ignoring the social and psychological factors and variations of language functioning. After the 50th began the second stage of the development of SL, which marked its pacing by a turn to the study of the content and dynamic models of language (in particular, the transformational analysis in grammar sprung from that period). Just then, the methods and analytic techniques originally developed in phonology were transferred to the fields of grammar and semantics.

After the 70th SL ceased to exist as a separate direction that is opposed to “traditional” linguistics; more than one business paper of that time witness the disappearance of the resistance aimed at SL – and it flourishes along with other linguistic disciplines (psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, etc.). SL influenced the development of the structural methods of research in the humanities: literary criticism, art history, ethnology, history, sociology, psychology have come to us in their contemporary appearance thanks to the efforts of structural linguists. It is the ground of these sciences that made structuralism emerge as a philosophical and methodological basis of specific scientific Humanities Research. Structuralism in this sense should be distinguished from structural linguistics as a special stage in the development of the linguistic way of thinking associated with the transition from the empirical “atomistic” linguistic description of facts to their systemic comprehension. The basis of this transition was made from vast ideas of structural analysis, modeling, formalization of linguistic procedures. By that time, the conception of structuralism in the humanities had developed by intensive and numerous paces. Lots of scientists asked themselves: what is a concrete noun ? Clear outlines of linguistic structuralism viewed as a special system of scientific estimation of language were blurred already while the basic concepts and principles of structural linguistics have become an integral part of the general theory of language. All-in-all, expansion of research and simultaneous use of other techniques alongside with structural methods have led to the fact that SL still deepens our understanding of the language units by developing a rigorous description of the system of language; we also believe that it can evolve in new directions and bring to life new theoretical searches.

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