Discuss parts of speech as open and closed classes.

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Generally speaking, open class words allow for the addition of new words pretty easily whereas closed classes do not.

Consider, for example, nouns. As new things are invented and new ideas are considered, people create new vocabulary words to accompany these new inventions, and these become normalized if speakers of the language readily accept these new words into their vocabulary. For example, in English, when the "internet" was invented, we accepted the word "interne" and assigned new meanings to words that were associated with it (browser, cache, refresh, etc). This example illustrates how easy it is to accept new nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs.

Other parts of speech don't change over time as easily. These are considered closed classes. The closed classes in most languages include pronouns, articles, conjunctions, prepositions, and determiners (e.g., first, this, that, most, etc). For instance, in American English we still have 3 basic articles: "a," "an," and "the." Our conjunctions (and, but, or, nor, yet, so, etc.) don't change much over time, either. Pronouns are a closed class as well; this is what makes the recent effort to introduce gender neutral pronouns in American English so difficult—words are not very easily added or dropped from closed classes.

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Open classes of words are the classes that may continually be added to. For instance, Verbs are an Open class of words because new verbs may be created at any time and, in fact, are created all the time. "Texting" is a new verb formed from the noun "text" as in the new compound noun "text message." Which points out that Nouns are also an Open class of words. Other new nouns or new meanings of old nouns are widget (1925-1930), mouse (computer related useage), upquark, and stranglet. Adjectives and Adverbs are other Open classes of words as new adjectives and adverbs can be and are created, though less readily than nouns and verbs.

Closed classes of words are those that do not change in terms of the collection of words therein. Determiners are a Closed class of words: any, some, a, each, etc. won't be added to. Prepositions and Conjunctions are the two other word classes that are Closed and that will not be added to. One subgroup of words is also Closed. The Pronoun subgroup of the Noun class, which is Open, is another Closed class: we will not have any new pronouns...unless discoveries of extraterrestial life forms demands it.

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