Chapter 8: Conclusion
I have not reached firm conclusions on some of the matters discussed in this book, and I was not certain whether to have a concluding chapter in it. However, I will briefly summarize a few of my own views, sometimes reached after much study of previous work (and I might note that there is a considerable amount of relevant work that I have not mentioned here; this book could easily have been far longer). Determining the part of speech of some words can be quite difficult, as they may appear to have properties of more than one class. Perhaps because of this some authors have argued that parts of speech are not discrete categories. I would disagree; even classes with peripheral members can have non-fuzzy boun- daries. We have seen various criteria used for adpositional status, and perhaps the one which has come up most often here is the absence of inflection, e.g. nouns have case marking, adpositions do not. This criterion is problematic; for one thing, not all languages have inflection, so it will not be able to be applied un- iversally. Also, in many languages there are inflected words which seem to func- tion in the same way as adpositions; should they be denied adpositional status just because of the affixes which they contain? If we are looking for a universal, cross-linguistic means of determining adposi- tional status (which some authors might say is not possible), the absence of inflec- tion will not suffice, at least not on...
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