Open class (linguistics)  

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In linguistics, an open class (or open word class) is a word class that accepts the addition of new items, through such processes as compounding, derivation, coining, borrowing, etc. Typical open word classes are nouns, verbs and adjectives.

Open-class words are not considered part of the core language and as such they can be changed, replaced or dropped from the common lexicon, which can encompass many thousands of them. For living languages, this change is noticeable within an individual lifespan, and usually faster. Closed-class words, on the other hand, are always relatively few and resistant to change. (For example, most English-speaking people employ more or less the same prepositions and pronouns as their great-grandparents, but different and probably more nouns and verbs.)

English open word classes

In English, open classes include the following parts of speech:

Interjections are formed as new words standing in for sounds, and are added not only from technical backgrounds, but also from sources such as comics and subtitling. It is in these that one will encounter the noises of motor revving, sirens, mechanical sounds and violence, continuously being updated. Examples here are: vroom!, va-va-voom!, zonk!, grrh!, and so on.

Slang is one of the major sources of new open-class words. Slang words appear first in small segments of the population, and then spread to the mainstream speaking community and become standard, or fade after a period of being in fashion.

In some constructed languages, for instance Volapük, prepositions and conjunctions are open-class words as they can be formed by the use of affixes from root nouns or verbs.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Open class (linguistics)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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