This is the first OER for Linguistics’ grammatical patterns and principles that aims to engage the wider community with our teaching and learning methods. It is presented in a multimedia format that includes text, pictures and videos. It will briefly focus on the following topics: basic morphology, grammatical categories, types of linguistic definitions, identifying lexical and phrasal categories, writing systems and syntactic analysis.

The purpose of this OER is to digitise and make available some of the teaching materials and methods used in Unisa’s module entitled ‘LIN1501: Grammatical Patterns and Principles’ in the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages.

The digitised material will be freely and openly available for anyone to use, reuse and improve for teaching, learning and research

Basic Morphology

Part of linguistics involves looking at grammatical analysis that involves recognising the basic units (or building blocks) in a linguistic expression and classifying them into various types. Morphology helps you see how words can be built up out of morphemes, which are the smallest units of meaning or grammatical function.

Identifying lexical and phrasal categories

You have now seen that a full definition of each of the lexical categories must contain both the semantic definition as well as the distributional definition (the range of positions that the lexical category can occupy in a sentence).

Types of linguistic definitions

Lexical items are usually categorised into different lexical categories through their meanings. These are often called semantic definitions for word categories as semantics is the area of linguistics that deals with the meanings of words, phrases and sentences.

Grammatical categories

Grammatical category refers to a set of specific syntactic properties of words that can cause those words and/or other related words to change in form for grammatical reasons (ensuring agreement between words). The various kinds of grammatical categories include the following: number, definiteness, tense and aspect, case, person, gender and mood.