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[Mechanical Translation and Computational Linguistics, vol.9, no.2, June 1966] Part-of-Speech Implications of Affixes
"... This paper describes a systematic investigation of the extent to which the part of speech of words can be identified from their prefixes and suffixes. The results indicate that it is possible to determine, with 95 per cent accuracy, the inclusive part of speech of an affixed word from a consideratio ..."
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This paper describes a systematic investigation of the extent to which the part of speech of words can be identified from their prefixes and suffixes. The results indicate that it is possible to determine, with 95 per cent accuracy, the inclusive part of speech of an affixed word from a consideration of its prefixes, suffixes, and length. By "inclusive " parts of speech we mean a string that will include all of the parts of speech assigned by both dictionaries considered but that may include one or two extraneous parts of speech. The extra parts of speech will differ according to the class of words, as adjectives may have an extra part-of-speech "noun " or "adverb, " while nouns may have an extra part-of-speech "verb." The part-of-speech implications of seventy-two prefixes and of eightyseven suffixes are given. In a highly inflected language, the structure of a word is indicative of its syntactic role. A relationship between form and part of speech might also be expected in English, a language not highly inflected but closely related to more inflected languages. Such a relationship was noted by J. Dolby and H. Resnikoff, 1 who show that a high percentage of a set of words called “elementary words ” (roughly equivalent to the set of onesyllable words) can be used as nouns, adjectives, or verbs, while a high percentage of the remaining multisyllable words can be used only as nouns or adjectives. If this relation can be regarded as a general rule, and if subrules can be developed to cover the considerable number of exceptions to the general rule, it will be possible to identify part of speech by algorithm. Intuitively, it would be expected that prefixes and suffixes are key structural elements; this expectation is reinforced by the structure of the European languages whose beginnings and endings indicate the grammatical properties of words. A logical step in an effort to classify words from their structure is to examine the relationship between the affixes of words and their part-of-speech possibilities as listed in a dictionary. The part-of-speech information