Conjunctions and Other Parts of Speech

by Alan Reed Libert (Author)
©2017 Monographs 164 Pages


The classification of words in terms of parts of speech is frequently problematic. This book examines the classification of conjunctions and similar words of other classes. It reviews work done from the 19th century to the present on a wide range of languages, including English, German, French, Latin, Ancient Greek, Welsh, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, Ute, and Abun. Most chapters treat conjunctions as opposed to one of the other traditionally recognized parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, adpositions, and interjections. The book’s major focus is on the terminology used to describe words on or near the borders between conjunctions and other parts of speech, such as «deverbal conjunctions», «conjunctional adverbs», «prepositional conjunctions», and «so-called conjunctions».

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • List of Abbreviations
  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • 1.1 Terms and Types of Words not Covered
  • 1.1.1 Particles
  • 1.1.2 Complementizers
  • 1.1.3 Connectives and Connectors
  • 1.1.4 Other Terms/Word Classes not Covered
  • 1.2 Complex Situations
  • 1.3 “Conjunctions are Verbs”, etc.
  • 1.4 Words “Used as Conjunctions” and Similar Phrases
  • 1.5 Neutral Wording
  • 1.6 Unechte and Uneigentliche Konjunctionen
  • 1.7 Genuine Conjunctions
  • 1.8 True Conjunctions
  • 1.9 False Conjunctions
  • 1.10 Pure Conjunctions
  • 1.11 Half-Conjunctions
  • 1.12 Semi-Conjunctions
  • 1.13 Mixed Conjunctions and Mongrel Parts of Speech
  • 1.14 Quasi-Conjunctions
  • 1.15 So-Called Conjunctions
  • 1.16 Conjunction-Like Words
  • 1.17 Conjunction-Equivalents
  • 1.18 “Conjunctions”
  • 1.19 Other Terminology
  • 1.20 Conjunctiveness
  • 1.21 Imprecise Descriptions
  • 1.22 Heterosemy and Polyfunctionality
  • Chapter 2: Conjunctions and Nouns
  • 2.1 Nominal Conjunctions
  • 2.2 Conjunctive Nouns and Conjunctional Nouns
  • Chapter 3: Conjunctions and Pronouns
  • Chapter 4: Conjunctions and Verbs
  • 4.1 Verbal Conjunctions
  • 4.2 Deverbal Conjunctions
  • 4.3 Verb-Like Conjunctions
  • 4.4 Participial, Departicipial, and De-Participial Conjunctions
  • 4.5 Conjunctional Verbs and Conjunctive Verbs (including Conjunctive Auxiliary Verbs)
  • 4.6 Coverbs
  • 4.7 Converbs
  • Chapter 5: Conjunctions and Adjectives
  • 5.1 Adjectival Conjunctions
  • 5.2 Conjunctional and Conjunctive Adjectives
  • Chapter 6: Conjunctions and Adverbs
  • 6.1 Adverbial Conjunctions
  • 6.2 Ambiguous Adverb/Conjunctions
  • 6.3 Conjunct Adverbs
  • 6.4 Conjunctive Adverbs
  • 6.5 Conjunctional Adverbs
  • 6.6 Relative Adverbs
  • Chapter 7: Conjunctions and Adpositions
  • 7.1 ‘With’ vs. ‘And’
  • 7.2 Prepositional Conjunctions
  • 7.3 Conjunctive Adpositions
  • 7.4 Conjunction-like Adpositions
  • Chapter 8: Conjunctions and Interjections
  • Chapter 9: Conjunctions in Artificial Languages
  • 9.1 Apparently Erroneous Classifications
  • 9.2 Words “Used as Conjunctions” and Similar Phrases
  • 9.3 Neutral Treatments
  • 9.4 Conjunctive Adverbs
  • 9.5 Combining Prepositions and Conjunctions into One Class
  • 9.6 Other Descriptions
  • 9.7 Conclusion
  • References

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In some cases I have modified the gloss of an example taken from a source, and in one case the morpheme boundary marking of the example itself, but I have not changed anything of substance; likewise I have corrected or changed the punctuation, spelling, or formatting in some quotations, but without changing the meaning. I thank the Interlibrary Services section of the University of Newcastle for their fast and efficient acquisition of materials for this book. I thank Jesper Gulddal and Marie-Laure Vuaille-Barcan for help with some Danish and French data respectively.

My usage of ellipsis points is as follows: if they are enclosed in square brackets, I have omitted one or more complete sentences from a quotation, otherwise only a part of a sentence has been removed.

It will be noticed that I have used some sources dating from before the beginning of modern linguistics (whenever one considers that to have been), which most current authors do not do. However, discussion about word classes goes back a long way, and (most of) the people writing about language in the 1800s were not idiots; some of their ideas are unusual, or simply incorrect, but nevertheless they are often interesting and may give us insights.

I dedicate this book to the memory of my father, Jack Libert (formerly Herbert “Buddy” Cohen), who died during the long period of time that I was writing it. He was one of the first people outside of school to talk to me about language, and my strong prescriptivist streak may be at least partly due to him.

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List of Abbreviations

3MAN “3rd person classifier/pronoun for male humans” (Paperno 2012:114)

3WOMAN “3rd person classifier/pronoun for female humans” (Paperno 2012:114)

A3 “3rd person ergative prefix” (Paperno 2012:114)

ABSOL absolutive mood (in Kotava)

ACC accusative

ADV adverbial

ART article

ASP one of the “aspect markers” (Tsai 2006:68) of Chinese

ASPPRT “[a]spectual particle” (Chappell, Peyraube, and Wu 2011:334)

ASS associative

ATTR “attributive marker” (Bisang 1991:551)

CAUS causative

CC correlative clause

CL classifier

CLA numeral classifier

CLM clause linkage marker

CNS consecutive

COM comitative

COMPAR comparative

CONC connective (case)

CONJ conjunction

CONN connective

CONTIN continuous aspect

CONV converb

CP correlative pronoun

DAT dative

DE “verbal suffix or marker for modifying phrases like genitive phrases, relative clauses, and noun complement clauses” (Tsai 2006:68)

EQ “equational particle” (van der Auwera 1998:xv)

ESS essive

EZ ezafe

GEN genitive ← 11 | 12 →

HON honorific

IC incompletive (aspect)

IMM immediate (aspect)

INDEF indefinite

INF infinitive

INSTR instrumental

INTS intensifier

LAT lative

LOC locative

M masculine

MG my gloss (I have provided the gloss (and divided words into morphemes), while the translation comes from the source.

MT my translation (rather than being from the source)

N neuter

NEG negative

NOM nominative

NOMZ nominalizer

NONPST non-past

OB object

OBJP objective perspective

PASS passive

PC postnominal clitic

PERF perfect

PFV perfective

PL plural

PN pronoun

PREP preposition

PRES present

PREV preverbal particle

PRO pronoun

PRP preposition

PST past

PST0 “[p]ast [z]ero” tense (Satre 2010:47; “the least marked tense” of Bamileke-Ngomba (ibid.))

PTCP participle

QUOT quotative

RC relative clause

REAL realis ← 12 | 13 →

RECIP reciprocal

RED reduplication

REM remote (aspect)

RP relative pronoun

SBJN subjunctive

SEQ sequential (converb)

SG singular

SP “[s]tructural particle” (Chappell, Peyraube, and Wu 2011:334)

SPRF simple perfect (in Sidaama)

SU subject

TOP topic

TR transitive

VOAGR vowel agreement (In Kotava if a noun ends with a vowel, adjectives (whether attributive or predicative), determiners, etc. modifying that noun will take the same vowel as an ending.)

= means the boundary between a word and a clitic (or between two clitics)

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Chapter 1: Introduction

The borders between conjunctions and some other word classes are not always clear. In this book I examine words which are on or close to these borders, as well as terminology used to label such words. It is not my main purpose here to define conjunction, although if there were a clear and generally agreed upon definition of it, there might be less difficulty in determining whether some words were conjunctions or not (and less controversy on this matter).

There will be many who do not see conjunctions as a unified class, since coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions are too different in behavior to be grouped together.1 If this view is correct, it does not affect the basic theme of the present book; whether coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions are properly classified as one part of speech or two, there will be difficulties and disagreement about the distinctions between other parts of speech and (one or both of) them.2


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2017 (August)
Adverbs Word Classes Morphology Syntax
Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2017. 164 pp.

Biographical notes

Alan Reed Libert (Author)

Alan Reed Libert completed his BA in Greek and Latin at New York University (USA) and his PhD in linguistics at McGill University (Canada). He works at the University of Newcastle (Australia), where he is a senior lecturer in linguistics. His research interests include Turkic languages, artificial languages, and onomastics.


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166 pages