Posted by Bob on September 26, 2003
In Reply to: Re: We Need More Parts Of Speech posted by Lewis on September 25, 2003
: : : : Despite still just about remembering my French and German grammar, have I gone mad when I claim that, in the English language, there are nine parts of speech? My mother unearthed a Victorian children's book that only delineated eight (in nursery rhyme form), but I'm claiming that the definite and indefinite articles form a part of speech in their own right.
: : : : P.S. I'll brook no nonsense about gerunds and gerundives here.
: : : I believe that the official line when I went to school was that there were eight. Webster's Unabridged, 2nd ed. , s.v. "part of speech," lists eight. The OED says "Usually reckoned as eight . . . (sometimes as nine, the article being reckoned separately from the adjective)."
: : Even 9 is inadequate. We should add the Slobovial, as in "Yo," "Dude," and the Slobovial-Indicitave "YoDude!" Then there's the Gassicator,a word or fog of words which subtracts meaning, found frequently in political speech.. And the Emptitude, as in teen ramblings, like in like you know like "whatever." We could even postulate the existence of the Demiplural, as when "their" is used, desperately, to avoid specifying a gender.
: Like the "demi-plural"! (or "indefinite-single")
: That always annoys me about our fine language - if you do not know the gender of a single individual, you cannot say "him/his" or "her" - I will now feel less incorrect saying "their".
Indefinite singles hang out in nightspots that I avoid, so DemiPlural should be the preferred term. Better still, we should make it DemiPlurals, since "their" is the only one.