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Describing language
Describing language

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Week 2: Nouns: naming things, places, people and ideas


A man stands behind a counter on a market stall. There are a range of drinks and snacks are available.
Figure 1 A man behind a counter in a market.

Imagine you are in a shop in a country where you don’t speak the language. Picture a shop (not a supermarket) with a counter and a shopkeeper behind it. You have a list of things you need to buy. Unless you are the world’s best mime (try ‘tinned pineapple chunks’!), you are also in need of the names (in the local language, of course) for the things you want to buy.

This week you will be looking at this part of the (English) language – the part we need to name things, places, people and ideas. These are the nouns, which are sometimes called ‘naming words’. Nouns are just one type of word class. The word classes are the basis of grammatical description of any language, and forms the main content of the rest of this course.

By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • describe what a noun is
  • identify different types of noun
  • begin to know the difference between different classes of word.