• Unit 8 -But What's a Dictionary For? But What's a Dictionary For? Bergen Evans The storm of abuse in the popular press that greeted the appearance of Webster's Third New International Dictionary is...

    Unit 8 - But What's a Dictionary For?

    But What's a Dictionary For?

    Bergen Evans

    The storm of abuse in the popular press that greeted the appearance of Webster's Third New International Dictionary is a curious phenomenon. Never has a scholarly work of this stature been attacked with such unbridled fury and contempt. An article in the Atlantic viewed it as a "disappointment," a "shock," a " calamity," "a scandal and a disaster. " The New York Times, in a special editorial, felt that the work would " accelerate the deterioration " of the language and sternly accused the editors of betraying a public trust. The Journal of the American Bar Association saw the publication as " deplorable," "a flagrant example of lexicographic irresponsibility,, " "a serious blow to the cause of good English." Life called it "a non-word deluge " monstrous ", " abominable" and "a cause for dismay." They doubted that "Lincoln could have modelled his Gettysburg Address" on it-a concept of how things get written that throws very little light on Lincoln but a great deal on Life.

    What underlies all this sound and fury? Is the claim of the G. R C. Merriam Company, probably the world's greatest dictionary maker, that the preparation of the work cost $3.5 million, that it required the efforts of three hundred scholars over a period of twenty-seven years, working on the largest collection of citations ever assembled in any language-is all this a fraud, a hoax?

    So monstrous a discrepancy in evaluation requires us to examine basic principles. Just what's a dictionary for? What does it propose to do? What does the common reader go to a dictionary to find? What has the purchaser of a dictionary a right to expect for his money?

    Before we look at basic principles, it is necessary to interpose two brief statements. The first of these is that a dictionary is concerned with words. Some dictionaries give various kinds of other useful information. Some have tables of weights and measures on the flyleaves. Some list historical events and some, home remedies. And there's nothing wrong with their so doing. But the great increase in our vocabulary in the past three decades compels all dictionaries to make more efficient use of their space. And if something must be eliminated , it is sensible to throw out these extraneous things and stick to words.

    The second brief statement is that there has been even more progress in the making of dictionaries in the past thirty years than there has been in the making of automobiles The difference, for example, between the much-touted Second International (1934) and the much-clouted Third International (1961) is not like the difference between yearly models but like the difference between the horse and buggy and the automobile. Between the appearance of these two editions a whole new science related to the making of dictionaries, the science of descriptive linguistics, has come into being.

    Modern linguistics gets its charter from Leonard Bloomfield's Language (1933). Bloomfield's for thirteen years professor of Germanic philology at the University of Chicago and for nine years professor of linguistics at Yale, was one of those inseminating scholars who can't be relegated to any department and don't dream of accepting established categories and procedures just because they're established. He was as much an anthropologist as a linguist, and his concepts of language were shaped not by Strunk's Elements of Style but by his knowledge of Cree Indian dialects.

    The broad general findings of the new science are:

    1. All languages are systems of human conventions, not systems of natural laws.

    The first-and essential-step in the study of any language is observing and setting down precisely what happens when native speakers speak it.

    2. Each language is unique in its pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary.

    It cannot be described in terms of logic or of some theoretical, ideal language.

    It cannot be described in terms of any other language, or even in terms of its own past.

    3. All languages are dynamic rather than static, and hence a "rule" in any language can only be a statement of contemporary practice. Change is constant-and normal

    4. "Correctness" can rest only upon usage, for the simple reason that there is nothing else for it to rest on. And all usage is relative.

    From these propositions it follows that a dictionary is good only insofar as it is a comprehensive and accurate description of current usage.

    And to be comprehensive it must include some indication of social and regional associations.

    New dictionaries are needed because English changed more in the past two generations than at any other time in its history.

    It has had to adapt to extraordinary cultural and technological changes, two world wars, unparalleled changes in transportation and communication, and unprecedented movements of populations.

    More subtly, but pervasively, it has changed under the influence of mass education and the growth of democracy.

    As written English is used by increasing millions and for more reasons than ever before, the language has become more utilitarian and more informal. Every publication in America today includes pages that would appear, to the purist of forty years ago, unbuttoned gibberish. Not that they are; they simply show that you can't hold the language of one generation up as a model for the next.

    It's not that you mustn't. You can't. For example, in the issue in which Life stated editorially that it would folly the Second International, there were over forty words constructions, and meanings which are in the Third International but not in the Second. The issue of the New York Times which hailed the Second International as the authority to which it would adhere and the Third International as a scandal and a betrayal which it would reject used one hundred and fifty-three separate words, phrases, and constructions which are listed in the Third International but not in the Second and nineteen others which are condemned in the Second. Many of them are used many times, more than three hundred such uses in all. The Washington Post, in an editorial captioned "Keep Your Old Webster's, " says, in the first sentence, "don't throw it away," and in the second, "hang on to it." But the old Webster's labels don't "colloquial" and doesn't include "hang on to," in this sense, at all.

    In short, all of these publications are written in the language that the Third International describes, even the very editorials which scorn it.

    And this is no coincidence, because the Third International isn't setting up any new standards at all;

    it is simply describing what Life, the Washing-ton Post, and the New York Times are doing.

    Much of the dictionary's material comes from these very publications, the Times, in particular, furnishing more of its illustrative quotations than any other newspaper.

    And the papers have no choice. No journal or periodical could sell a single issue today if it restricted itself to the American language of twenty-eight years ago.

    It couldn't discuss halt the things we are inter ester in, and its style would seem stiff and cumbrous.

    If the editorials were serious, the public-and the stockholders-have reason to be grateful that the writers on these publications are more literate than the editors.

    And so back to our questions: what's a dictionary for, and how, in 1962, can it best do what it ought to do? The demands are simple.

    The common reader turns to a dictionary for information about the spelling, pronunciation, meaning, and proper use of words.

    He wants to know what is current and respectable.

    But he wants-and has a right to-the truth, the full truth.

    And the full truth about any language, and especially about American English today, is that there are many areas in which certainty is impossible and simplification is misleading.

    Even in so settled a matter as spelling, a dictionary cannot always be absolute. Theater is correct, but so is theatre.

    And so are traveled and travelled, plow and plough, catalog and catalogue, and scores of other variants The reader may want a single certainty.

    He may have taken an unyielding position in an argument, he may have wagered in support of his conviction and may demand that the dictionary "settle" the matter.

    But neither his vanity nor his purse is any concern of the dictionary's; it must record the facts.

    And the fact here is that there are many words in our language which may be spelled, with equal correctness, in either of two ways.

    So with pronunciation. A citizen listening to his radio might notice that James B. Conant, Bernard Baruch, and Dwight D. Eisenhower pronounce economics as ECKuhnomiks,

    while A. Whitney Griswold, Adlai Stevenson, and Herbert Hoover pronounce it EEKuhnomiks.

    He turns to the dictionary to see which of the two pronunciations is "right" and finds that they are both acceptable.

    Has he been betrayed? Has the dictionary abdicated its responsibility?

    Should it say that one must speak like the president of Harvard or like the president of Yale, like the thirty-first President of the United States or like the thirty-fourth?

    Surely it's none of its business to make a choice.

    Not because of the distinction of these particular speakers; lexicography, like God, is no respecter of persons.

    But because so wide-spread and conspicuous a use of two pronunciations among people of this elevation shows that there are two pronunciations.

    Their speaking establishes the fact which the dictionary must record.

    The average purchaser of a dictionary uses it most often, probably, to find out what a word means.

    As a reader, he wants to know what an author intended to convey. As a speaker or writer, he wants to know what a word will convey to his auditors.

    And this, too, is complex, subtle, and for ever changing.

    An illustration is furnished by an editorial in the Washington Post (January 17, 1962).

    After a ringing appeal to those who love truth and accuracy and the usual combinations about abdication of authority and barbarism , the editorial charges the Third International with pretentious and obscure verbosity and specifically instances its definition of so simple an object as a door.”

    The definition reads:

    a movable piece of firm material or a structure supported usu. along one side and swinging on pivots or hinges , sliding along a groove, roiling up and down, revolving as one of four leaves, or folding like an accordion by means of which an opening may be closed or kept open for passage into or out of a building, room, or other covered enclosure or a car, airplane, elevator, or other vehicle.

    Then follows a series of special meanings, each particularity defined and, where necessary, illustrated by a quotation Since, aside from roaring and admonishing the gentle men from Springfield that accuracy and brevity are virtues,” the Post's editorial tails to explain what is wrong with the definition,

    we can only infer from so simple a thing that the writer takes the plain, downright, man-in-the street attitude that a door is a door and any damn fool knows that.

    But if so, he has walked into one of lexicography's biggest booby traps: the belief that the obvious is easy to define.

    Whereas the opposite is true. Anyone can give a fair description of the strange, the new, or the unique.

    It's the commonplace, the habitual, that challenges definition, for its very commonness compels us to define it in uncommon terms.

    Dr. Johnson was ridiculed on just this score when his dictionary appeared in 1755.

    For two hundred years his definition of a network as "any thing reticulated or decussated, at equal distances, with interstices between the inter sections” has been good for a laugh.

    But in the merriment one thing is always overlooked: no one has yet come up with a better definition!

    Subsequent dictionaries defined it as a mesh and then defined a mesh as a network. That's simple, all right.

    Anyone who attempts sincerely to state what the word door means in the United States of America today can't take refuge in a log cabin.

    There has been an enormous proliferation of closing and demarking devices and structure in the past twenty years,

    and anyone who tries to thread his way through the many meanings now included under door may have to sacrifice brevity to accuracy and even have to employ words that a limited vocabulary may find obscure.

    Is the entrance to a tent a door, for instance? And What of the thing that seals the exit of an air plane?

    Is this a door? Or what of those sheets and jets of air that are now being used, in place of old-fashioned oak and hinges, to screen entrances and exists? Are they doors?

    And what of that accordion-like things that set off various sections of many modern apartments?

    The fine print in the lease takes it for granted that they are doors and that spaces demarked by them are rooms-and the rent is computed on the number of rooms.

    Was I gypped by the landlord when he called the folding contraption that shuts off my kitchen a door?

    I go to the Second Inter national, which the editor of the Post urges me to use in preference to the Third International.

    Here I find that a door is the movable frame or barrier of boards, or other material, usually turning on hinges or pivots or sliding, by which an entranceway into a house or apartment is closed and opened; also, a similar part of a piece of furniture, as in a cabinet or book case.

    This is only forty-six words, but though it includes the cellar it excludes the barn door and the accordion-like thing.

    So I go on to the Third International. I see at once that. the new definition is longer. But I'm looking for accuracy, and if I must sacrifice brevity.

    To get it, then I must. And sure enough, in the definition which raised the Post's blood pressure, I find the words "folding like an accordion.”

    The thing is a door, and my landlord is using the word in one of its currently accepted meanings.

    The new dictionary may have many faults. Nothing that tries to meet an ever-changing situation over a terrain as vast as contemporary English can hope to be free of them and much in it is open to honest and informed, disagreement.

    There can be linguistic objection to the eradication of proper names.

    The removal of guides to pronunciation from the toot of every page may not have been worth the valuable space it saved.

    The new method of defining words of many meanings has disadvantages as well as advantages.

    And of the half million or more definitions, hundreds, possibly thousands, may seem inadequate or imprecise.

    To some (of whom I am one) the omission of the label "colloquial" will seem meritorious; to others it will seem a loss.

    But one thing is certain: anyone who solemnly announces in the year 1962 that he will be guided in matter s of English usage by a dictionary published in 1934 is talking ignorant and pretentious nonsense.
























    这并不是说你不应该这样做,而是你根本不可能这样做。比如,《生活》杂志曾在某一期中发表一篇社论,声明它要以《韦氏国际英语词典》(第二版)为准,可就在这一期的《生活》杂志上却出现了四十多个见之于第三版却未见于第二版的词汇、结构与意义。有一期《纽约时报》上高喊第二版是它坚决拥护的权威,而第三版则是它要摒弃的愚弄和骗人之作。可这一期的《纽约时报》上却用了一百五十三个收录于第三版却未收进第二版的单词、短语和句法结构,另外还用了十九个受到第二版指责的词语。这些单词和词组有的重复出现多次,因此在一期《纽约时报》上出现的这类词语共达三百余处。《华盛顿邮报》在一篇标题为"留着你的老韦氏"的社论中,开宗明义第一句话就说,"don't throw it away(别扔掉它)",第二句又说,"hang on to it(紧紧抱住它)"。然而,在老韦氏词典中,don't被标注为"口语用法",而"hang on to"的这个意义则根本没有收录。






























































    Key Words:

    dismay   [dis'mei] 

    n. 沮丧,绝望

    flagrant   ['fleigrənt]     

    adj. 恶名昭著的,明目张胆的

    extraneous     [eks'treiniəs]  

    adj. 外来的,无关的

    unprecedented     [ʌn'presidəntid]    

    adj. 空前的,前所未有的

    folly ['fɔli]

    n. 愚蠢,荒唐事 (复)follies: 轻松歌舞剧

    obscure  [əb'skjuə]

    adj. 微暗的,难解的,不著名的,[语音学]轻音的

    pretentious    [pri'tenʃəs]    

    adj. 自负的,自命不凡的,炫耀的


    1. 高级英语第一册(MP3+中英字幕) 第8课:词典的用途(1)_品牌英语听力 - 可可英语
    2. 高级英语第一册(MP3+中英字幕) 第8课:词典的用途(2)_品牌英语听力 - 可可英语
    3. http://www.kekenet.com/Article/201510/40367shtml
    4. 高级英语第一册(MP3+中英字幕) 第8课:词典的用途(4)_品牌英语听力 - 可可英语
    5. 高级英语第一册(MP3+中英字幕) 第8课:词典的用途(5)_品牌英语听力 - 可可英语
    6. 高级英语第一册(MP3+中英字幕) 第8课:词典的用途(6)_品牌英语听力 - 可可英语
    7. http://www.kekenet.com/Article/201510/40532shtml
    8. 高级英语第一册(MP3+中英字幕) 第8课:词典的用途(8)_品牌英语听力 - 可可英语
    9. 高级英语第一册(MP3+中英字幕) 第8课:词典的用途(9)_品牌英语听力 - 可可英语
  • had爆破辅音/d/结尾,the辅音开头,爆破遇见辅音失去爆破,所以这里d不发音. ~follow it   [ ˈ fɑlo] [ ɪ t] 当前面一个单词的结尾发音是元音 /u/,/ ʊ /,/ ə u/ , /au/ 的任何一个时,后一个...



    绿色:连读;                  红色:略读;               蓝色:浊化;               橙色:弱读


    If your dream was big enough and you had the guts to follow it, there was truly a fortune to be made.

    [ɪf] [jʊr] [drim] [wɒz] [bɪɡ] [ɪˈnʌf] [əndˌ ən] [ju] [hæd] [ðə] [gʌts] [tuˌtə] [ˈfɑlo] [ɪt] , [ðɛr] [wɒz] [ˈtruːli] [e] [ˈfɔrtʃən] [tuˌtə] [bi] [med] .


    ~big enough

    [bɪɡ] [ɪˈnʌf]


    ~had the


    ~follow it

     [ˈfɑlo] [ɪt]


    ~truly a

    [ˈtruːli] [e]



    [wɒz],[əndˌ ən] ,[tuˌtə]




    (1)、gut adj.直觉的;出于本能的

    Eg. I guess, his gut reaction is to have a fight with Tom.


    (2)、gut n.勇气,魄力,决心

    Eg. My boss is a man with plenty of guts.



    Fortune n. 大笔的钱,巨款;运气;命运

    Eg. This car must have cost him a fortune.


    Eg. Good fortune will follow you, both in this world and the next.


    学以致用:没有人敢告诉保罗他这是在犯什么样的错。(have the guts to do something

    Nobody have the guts to tell Paul what a mistake he was taking.






    When it comes to family , we are still children at heart, no matter how old we get, we always need a place to call home.

    [wɛn] [ɪt] [kʌmz] [tuˌtə] [ˈfæməli] , [wi] [ɑr] [stɪl] [ˈtʃɪldrən] [æt; ət] [hɑrt] , [no] [ˈmætɚ] [haʊ] [old] [wi] [ɡɛt] , [wi] [ˈɔlwez] [nid] [e] [ples] [tuˌtə] [kɔl] [hom] .


    When It

    when辅音/n/结尾,it元音开头,辅元连读;同理need a

    at heart

    at 爆破辅音/t/结尾,heart辅音开头,爆破遇见辅音失去爆破







    Come in /come on in 进来

    Come up 上来


    2、come on


    Come on! You are gonna to win!



    Hey guys, come on.



    Oh man. Come on. Seriously?



    3、come again 你说什么/再说一遍

    Come again? I don't quite understand what you said.



    1、call 表示称呼

    Hey, just call me Wendy.


    2、call 表示打电话

    Call me tomorrow. / give me a call tomorrow.


    3、call 表示决定

    It's my call.


    4、call off表示取消

    I have to call off the meeting.



    Call it a day.


    Call it a night..


    6、call the shots.说的算,做主,发号施令

    Hey guys, this is my place, I call the shots.



    当提到钱的时候,他保持沉默。(when it comes to…)

    When it comes to money, he keeps silent.








  • A grammar is a series of productions that generate the valid “words” of a language. It is a way to specify the syntax of a language. Another way to specify the syntax would be using plain English, ...

    grammar包括Grammar deals with syntax, morphology, and semantics.其中while syntax studies sentence structures。
    sentence structures 的最好的理解是word order。
    the English grammar follows the structure of a subject, verb, object
    ate the dog the bone, its syntax is wrong(syntax 错了 语法自然就错了。). the right order is the dog ate the bone..

    syntax只关注 a sentence 是由NP(名词短语)和VP(动词短语构成)
    但是syntax并不关心动词verb,名词noun等具体定义。也不关心word的内部结构比如 bookkeepershas four morphemes (类词根词缀复数)(book, keep, -er, -s) 。


    A grammar is a series of productions that generate the valid “words” of a language. It is a way to specify the syntax of a language. Another way to specify the syntax would be using plain English, but that would end up being very verbose for non-trivial languages if you want it to be precise enough to serve as a specification.

    As an example consider the following text:

    A program is a series of zero or more statements.
    A statement is either the keyword "var", followed by an identifier, followed by a semicolon; 
    an identifier  followed by "++" or "--",   followed by a semicolon; or the keyword "while", 
    followed by an identifier, followed by the keyword "do", followed by zero or more statements, 
    followed by the keyword "end".

    This describes the syntax of a very simple programming language, but it is not a grammar. Here is a grammar that describes the same language:

    program   ::= statement*
    statement ::= "var" ID ";"
                | ID "++" ";"
                | ID "--" ";"
                | "while" ID "do" statement* "end"



    语句是关键字“var”,后跟标识符,后跟分号; 标识符后跟“++”或“ - ”,后跟分号; 或关键字“while”,
    后跟一个标识符,后跟关键 字“do”,后跟零个或多个语句,后跟关键字“end”。


    program   ::= statement*
    statement ::= "var" ID ";"
                | ID "++" ";"
                | ID "--" ";"
                | "while" ID "do" statement* "end"

    What’s the difference between grammar and syntax? in English


    As defined from the NOAD, grammar is, “the whole system and structure of a language or of languages in general, usually taken as consisting of syntax and morphology (including inflections) and sometimes also phonology and semantics.”

    It includes the syntax, but it’s not limited to that.

    The syntax of a language is, “the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language.”
    For example, the syntax is about which order subject, verb, and object have in a sentence to form a well-formed sentence. A sentence like “like it I” is not considered a well-formed sentence, basing on the English syntax, even if people would understand that the correct sentence is “I like it.”




    As I hear them used, grammar

    is usually a subfield of English or any other specific language
    can be both descriptive and prescriptive
    seeks to define parameters for use of a specific language
    whereas syntax

    is a subfield of linguistics
    is descriptive only
    seeks to describe language use in terms of language-neutral universal parameters
    Both grammar and syntax are usually focused at the level of words-in-sentences (a level above pronunciation, a level below prose-style) but can spill over into these and other subfields.





    Syntax pertains only to the arrangement of words in sentences. Grammar deals with syntax, morphology, and semantics.

    Syntax: the grammatical arrangement of words in sentences
    Grammar: the branch of linguistics that deals with syntax and morphology (and sometimes also deals with semantics)
    Morphology: studies of the rules for forming admissible words, and sounds in words
    Semantics: the meaning of a word, phrase, sentence, or text
    Phonology: the relationships among the speech sounds that constitute the fundamental components of a language




    Grammar is a very broad term that can roughly be described as

    the implicit rules by which speakers intuitively judge which strings are well-formed in a given language.

    This includes

    syntax: The structure of phrases and sentences - see above.
    morphology: The internal structure of words.
    Questions include:

    • “How can we sort out the word antidenationalization into a meaningful structure?”
    • “What went wrong with the word undeadable, while we can say undead and unbreakable?”
    • “Why do we find un-use-ful okay, but un-ful not?”
    • “How come that it is sing-er-s and not sing-s-er? What is the difference between how a so-called derivational moprpheme -er and an inflectional morpheme like -s work?”
      phonology: The structure of sounds.
      Questions include:
    • “Why is it that we say ships, but not fishs and buss, but fishes and busses?”
    • “How do we intuitively know, without ever having heard the word imby-bimby before, that it should be an imby-bimby and not a imby-bimby?” (It has something to do with vowels and consonants.)
    • “Why can a word like rgafmp not exist in English?” Yes, this is actually ungrammatical. Grammar means more than “It’s we swam, not we swimmed”.
      Sometimes, semantics, i.e. the study of meaning, is seen as a part of grammar:
    • “Why can we read the sentence Every child sings a song both as For every child it holds that it sings some song (not necessarily the same one) and There is (at least) one song which every child sings (this being one and the same song)?”
    • “Why can bow mean both to lean forward and a thing that you use with arrows to shoot?”
    • “In the sentence John seeks a book about Norway, how can we account for the two readings 1) John is looking for a specific book about Norway he has seen the other day vs. 2) John is looking for some book about Norway, but isn’t sure that what he wants exists at all?”




    语法:短语和句子的结构 - 见上文。

    • “我们怎样才能将反国际化这个词理清成一个有意义的结构?”
    • “ 不可言喻这个词出了什么问题,而我们可以说亡灵和牢不可破?”
    • “为什么我们发现未使用-FUL不错,但非FUL不呢?”
    • “怎么,这是唱-ER-S ,而不是唱-S-ER?是有什么区别怎么所谓的派生moprpheme -er和屈折语素像-s的工作?”
    • “为什么我们说的船舶,但不fishs和巴斯,但鱼和公共汽车?”
    • “我们怎么直觉地知道,以前没有听过imby-bimby这个词,它应该是一个imby-bimby而不是imby-bimby?” (它与元音和辅音有关。)
    • “为什么英语中不存在像rgafmp这样的词?” 是的,这实际上是 不合语法的。语法是指超过“这是我们游泳,不是我们swimmed ”。
    • “为什么我们可以读出句子每个孩子唱支歌既是对每一个孩子就认为它唱一些歌(不一定是同一个),并有(至少)一首歌曲,其每一个孩子唱歌(这是一个和同一首歌)?“
    • “为什么弓箭意味着向前倾斜和用箭头射击的东西?”
    • “在约翰寻求一本关于挪威的书中,我们如何解释这两本读物1)约翰正在寻找一本关于挪威的特定书籍,他前几天曾见过他们 .2)约翰正在寻找一本关于挪威的书,但是不确定他想要什么存在吗?“
    1. Main Difference – Grammar vs Syntax
    2. http://www.differencebetween.net/language/difference-between-grammar-and-syntax/

    Syntax refers to the linguistic structure above the word level (e.g. how sentences are formed) – though without taking into account intonation, which is the domain of phonology. Morphology, by contrast, refers to structure at and below the word level (e.g. how compound words are formed), but above the level of individual sounds, which, like intonation, are in the domain of phonology.[13] No clear line can be drawn, however, between syntax and morphology. Analytic languages use syntax to convey information that is encoded via inflection in synthetic languages. In other words, word order is not significant and morphology is highly significant in a purely synthetic language, whereas morphology is not significant and syntax is highly significant in an analytic language. Chinese and Afrikaans, for example, are highly analytic, and meaning is therefore very context-dependent. (Both do have some inflections, and have had more in the past; thus, they are becoming even less synthetic and more “purely” analytic over time.) Latin, which is highly synthetic, uses affixes and inflections to convey the same information that Chinese does with syntax. Because Latin words are quite (though not completely) self-contained, an intelligible Latin sentence can be made from elements that are placed in a largely arbitrary order. Latin has a complex affixation and simple syntax, while Chinese has the opposite.

    语法是指单词级别之上的语言结构(例如句子是如何形成的) - 尽管没有考虑语调,这是音韵学的领域。相比之下,形态学指的是在单词水平上和下面的结构(例如复合词是如何形成的),但高于单个声音的水平,这与声音一样,在音韵学领域。[13]然而,在语法和形态之间没有明确的界线。分析语使用的语法来传达经由编码信息拐点在综合语。换句话说,词序不重要,形态在纯合成语言中非常重要,而形态学并不重要,语法在分析语言中非常重要。例如,中国人和南非荷兰人是高度分析性的,因此意义非常依赖于语境。(两者都有一些变形,并且在过去有更多的变化;因此,随着时间的推移,它们变得更加合成并且更“纯粹”分析。)拉丁语,高度合成,使用词缀和变形来传达相同的信息,中文用语法做。因为拉丁语单词是完全(虽然不是完全)自足,是一个可理解的拉丁语句子可以由以很大的任意顺序放置的元素构成。拉丁语有复杂的词缀和简单的语法,而中文则相反。



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