Grammatical particle

Grammatical particle

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Encyclopedia
In grammar
Grammar
In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

, a particle is a function word
Function word
Function words are words that have little lexical meaning or have ambiguous meaning, but instead serve to express grammatical relationships with other words within a sentence, or specify the attitude or mood of the speaker...

 that does not belong to any of the inflected grammatical word classes (such as noun
Noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

s, pronoun
Pronoun
In linguistics and grammar, a pronoun is a pro-form that substitutes for a noun , such as, in English, the words it and he...

s, verb
Verb
A verb, from the Latin verbum meaning word, is a word that in syntax conveys an action , or a state of being . In the usual description of English, the basic form, with or without the particle to, is the infinitive...

s, or articles
Article (grammar)
An article is a word that combines with a noun to indicate the type of reference being made by the noun. Articles specify the grammatical definiteness of the noun, in some languages extending to volume or numerical scope. The articles in the English language are the and a/an, and some...

). It is a catch-all term for a heterogeneous set of words and terms that lack a precise lexical definition. It is mostly used for words that help to encode grammatical categories
Grammatical category
A grammatical category is a semantic distinction which is reflected in a morphological paradigm. Grammatical categories can have one or more exponents. For instance, the feature [number] has the exponents [singular] and [plural] in English and many other languages...

 (such as negation, mood
Grammatical mood
In linguistics, grammatical mood is a grammatical feature of verbs, used to signal modality. That is, it is the use of verbal inflections that allow speakers to express their attitude toward what they are saying...

 or case
Grammatical case
In grammar, the case of a noun or pronoun is an inflectional form that indicates its grammatical function in a phrase, clause, or sentence. For example, a pronoun may play the role of subject , of direct object , or of possessor...

), or filler
Filler (linguistics)
In linguistics, a filler is a sound or word that is spoken in conversation by one participant to signal to others that he/she has paused to think but is not yet finished speaking. These are not to be confused with placeholder names, such as thingamajig, which refer to objects or people whose names...

s or discourse markers that facilitate discourse such as well, ah, anyway, etc. Particles are uninflected
Uninflected word
In the context of linguistic morphology, an uninflected word is a word that has no morphological markers such as affixes, ablaut, consonant gradation, etc., indicating declension or conjugation...

. In English, the infinitive marker to and the negator not are examples of words that are usually regarded as particles.

Related concepts


Depending on its context, the meaning of the term may overlap with such notions as "morpheme
Morpheme
In linguistics, a morpheme is the smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language. The field of study dedicated to morphemes is called morphology. A morpheme is not identical to a word, and the principal difference between the two is that a morpheme may or may not stand alone, whereas a word,...

", "marker
Marker (linguistics)
In linguistics, a marker is a free or bound morpheme that indicates the grammatical function of the marked word, phrase, or sentence. In analytic languages and agglutinative languages, markers are generally easily distinguished. In fusional languages and polysynthetic languages, this is often not...

", or even "adverb
Adverb
An adverb is a part of speech that modifies verbs or any part of speech other than a noun . Adverbs can modify verbs, adjectives , clauses, sentences, and other adverbs....

" as in phrasal verb
Phrasal verb
A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and a preposition, a verb and an adverb, or a verb with both an adverb and a preposition, any of which are part of the syntax of the sentence, and so are a complete semantic unit. Sentences may contain direct and indirect objects in addition to the phrasal...

s such as out as in get out.
Under the strictest definition, which demands that a particle be an uninflected word, English deictics
Deixis
In linguistics, deixis refers to the phenomenon wherein understanding the meaning of certain words and phrases in an utterance requires contextual information. Words are deictic if their semantic meaning is fixed but their denotational meaning varies depending on time and/or place...

 like this and that would not be classed as such (since they have plurals) and are therefore inflected, and neither would Romance articles (since they are inflected for number and gender).

Articles, infinitival, prepositional, and adverbial particles

  • The definite article the (the indefinite article a or an cannot really be classed as uninflected due to their inherently singular meaning, debarring them from plural usage)
  • the infinitive to, as in to walk
  • prepositions, such as over in I went over the hill
  • adverbs and adverbial portions of phrasal verb
    Phrasal verb
    A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and a preposition, a verb and an adverb, or a verb with both an adverb and a preposition, any of which are part of the syntax of the sentence, and so are a complete semantic unit. Sentences may contain direct and indirect objects in addition to the phrasal...

    s, such as off in we put it off too long

Interjections, sentence connectors, and conjunctions


Sentence
Sentence (linguistics)
In the field of linguistics, a sentence is an expression in natural language, and often defined to indicate a grammatical unit consisting of one or more words that generally bear minimal syntactic relation to the words that precede or follow it...

 connectors, tags or tag question
Tag question
A question tag or tag question is a grammatical structure in which a declarative statement or an imperative is turned into a question by adding an interrogative fragment . For example, in the sentence "You're John, aren't you?", the statement "You're John" is turned into a question by the tag...

s, and conjunctions
Grammatical conjunction
In grammar, a conjunction is a part of speech that connects two words, sentences, phrases or clauses together. A discourse connective is a conjunction joining sentences. This definition may overlap with that of other parts of speech, so what constitutes a "conjunction" must be defined for each...

 connect to what has been said in a previous clause or sentence. These three types of grammatical particles (similarly to modal particle
Modal particle
In linguistics, modal particles are always uninflected words, and are a type of grammatical particle. Their function is that of reflecting the mood or attitude of the speaker or narrator, in that they are not reflexive but change the mood of the verb. Languages that use a lot of modal particles in...

s in some other languages) also reflect the speaker's mood and attitude toward what has come before in the conversation, or is likely to follow later. A particle may be defined simply as an invariable word, in that interjection
Interjection
In grammar, an interjection or exclamation is a word used to express an emotion or sentiment on the part of the speaker . Filled pauses such as uh, er, um are also considered interjections...

s are to be classed as particles. Because of their similar functions, interjections, sentence connectors, and conjunctions should be grouped together:

Interjections

  • ah
  • alas
  • farewell
  • goodbye
  • hello
  • hi
  • hmm
  • hum
  • no
  • oh
  • ouch
  • wow
  • yes


The list of interjections is probably never-ending as it belongs to the open class word category and is subject to new creations at all times.

Sentence Connectors

  • so (as in So what)
  • well (as in Well, we can’t help that)
  • still (as in Still, it could have been a lot worse)
  • yet (as in I am older now, yet I still enjoy some of the things I used to do)
  • as
  • also
  • however
  • nevertheless
  • otherwise
  • moreover
  • in addition
  • furthermore
  • besides
  • first
  • second
  • finally
  • last but not least
  • lastly
  • thus
  • hence
  • on the other hand
  • anyway
  • then
  • too (as in that, too, has been said in the past)

Conjunctions

  • and (together with)
  • or
  • nor
  • but
  • while (as in The repair takes only a short time while you wait.)
  • although/though
  • for (as in she could not see the film, for she was too young)
  • because
  • unless
  • since (as in since you asked, I will tell you)

Other languages


The term particle is often used in descriptions of Japanese
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

 and Korean
Korean language
Korean is the official language of the country Korea, in both South and North. It is also one of the two official languages in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture in People's Republic of China. There are about 78 million Korean speakers worldwide. In the 15th century, a national writing...

, where they are used to mark noun
Noun
In linguistics, a noun is a member of a large, open lexical category whose members can occur as the main word in the subject of a clause, the object of a verb, or the object of a preposition .Lexical categories are defined in terms of how their members combine with other kinds of...

s according to their case
Grammatical case
In grammar, the case of a noun or pronoun is an inflectional form that indicates its grammatical function in a phrase, clause, or sentence. For example, a pronoun may play the role of subject , of direct object , or of possessor...

 or their role (subject
Subject (grammar)
The subject is one of the two main constituents of a clause, according to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle and that is associated with phrase structure grammars; the other constituent is the predicate. According to another tradition, i.e...

, object
Object (grammar)
An object in grammar is part of a sentence, and often part of the predicate. It denotes somebody or something involved in the subject's "performance" of the verb. Basically, it is what or whom the verb is acting upon...

, complement
Complement (linguistics)
In grammar the term complement is used with different meanings. The primary meaning is a word, phrase or clause that is necessary in a sentence to complete its meaning. We find complements that function as an argument and complements that exist within arguments.Both complements and modifiers add...

, or topic) in a sentence or clause. Some of these particles are best analysed as case markers and some as postpositions
Adposition
Prepositions are a grammatically distinct class of words whose most central members characteristically express spatial relations or serve to mark various syntactic functions and semantic roles...

. There are sentence-tagging particles such as Japanese and Chinese question markers. Thai
Thai language
Thai , also known as Central Thai and Siamese, is the national and official language of Thailand and the native language of the Thai people, Thailand's dominant ethnic group. Thai is a member of the Tai group of the Tai–Kadai language family. Historical linguists have been unable to definitively...

 also has particles.

See also

  • Chinese particles
    Chinese particles
    In classical Chinese philology, words are divided into two classes: the shízì and the xūzì . The former include what modern linguists call verbs, nouns, and adjectives, while the latter includes what modern linguists call particles. Opinions differ as to which category pronouns and adverbs belong to...

  • Function word
    Function word
    Function words are words that have little lexical meaning or have ambiguous meaning, but instead serve to express grammatical relationships with other words within a sentence, or specify the attitude or mood of the speaker...

  • Japanese particles
    Japanese particles
    Japanese particles, or , are suffixes or short words in Japanese grammar that immediately follow the modified noun, verb, adjective, or sentence. Their grammatical range can indicate various meanings and functions, such as speaker affect and assertiveness....

  • Korean particles
    Korean particles
    Korean particles are suffixes or short words in Korean grammar that immediately follow the modified noun, verb, adjective, or sentence.-Particles:-References:...

  • Okinawan particles
  • Proto-Indo-European particle
    Proto-Indo-European particle
    The particles of the Proto-Indo-European language have been reconstructed by modern linguists based on similarities found across all Indo-European languages. The following article lists and discusses their hypothesized forms....

  • Uninflected word
    Uninflected word
    In the context of linguistic morphology, an uninflected word is a word that has no morphological markers such as affixes, ablaut, consonant gradation, etc., indicating declension or conjugation...