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Typological differences in morphemic-syllabic word structure in English and Chinese

The article considers typological features of morphemic-syllabic word structure in the analytical English and isolating Chinese languages. Due to the linear nature of the signifying language signs, differences in the form of denotative language units primarily concern their length, i.e. their syllabic spread. The author makes a strong case for the study of morphemic-syllabic word organisation in differentiating semiological word classes of words and individual parts of speech, and identifies the most common models of morphemic- syllabic structure as applied to ‘words in general’, as well as to semiological classes of words and individual parts of speech in the languages studied. Depending on the semiological function they perform, and subject to the degree of their lexicality and grammaticality, denominating words (notional words proper) are more complex and longer than their non-denominating counterparts – deictic/pronominal (pronouns) and linking (form) words. The paper traces the number one principle of language signs, the linear nature of the signifying component, acting as a restrainer of the second major principle – the arbitrariness of the language sign – in differentiating various verbal signs: longer polysyllabic models are assigned to denominating signs, while shorter models are associated with pronominal and linking signs. The author also considers the relevancy of the functional-stylistic factor. In general, the findings presented in the paper may prove beneficial in establishing the patterns of regular dependence of the units of morphological and phonetic segmentation, as well as in developing systemic typological classification of languages.

KEYWORDS: semiological word classes, notional words, pronominal words, form words, morphemic- syllabic structure

Aryuna Ivanova. Assistant Professor in Foreign Languages Dpt, Faculty of Economics, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University). Teaches courses in Chinese and English. Research interests mainly cover typological and comparative linguistics. Author of 31 articles and one monograph. Member of the Business and Vocational Foreign Languages Teachers National Association.


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