By Laurence C Thompson
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Extra resources for A Vietnamese Reference Grammar [incomplete]
Therefore someone who knows language B may be misled when reading the description of language A. Solution 3 reflects most accurately the nature of linguistic categorization. This in itself is a point in favor of this approach. However, it also has its disadvantages to the field linguist attempting to present information about a language clearly and precisely in a grammar sketch. These disadvantages include: 1 There is no explicit way of determining exactly where on the continuum between noun and verb a particular category falls.
For example, some verbs with -ing might take plurals more easily than others: his many failings eatings. This fact puts failing vs. his many closer to the noun end of the continuum than eating. These subtle differences among the behaviors of various forms are probably not available to the fieldworker faced with thousands of forms, each potentially exhibiting a cluster of from zero to about ten nominal properties. 3 The point of a grammatical sketch is to help readers understand how particular constructions func tion within the grammatical system of the language.
2 Morphological processes There are six basic morphological processes by which stems can be formally altered to adjust their meanings to fit their syntactic and communicational context. These six processes are (1) prefixation, (2) suffixation, (3) infixation, (4) stem modification, (5) reduplication and (6) suprafixation (also, suprasegmental modification). A seventh process, suppletion, may not appropriately be called morphological since it involves the replacement of one stem by another. Nevertheless any of the operations that are typically coded by the six basic processes can also be coded by suppletion, therefore it deserves at least passing mention in this section.