Report on the Word "Sound"

Term Paper, 2015

12 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Table of Contents:

1. Introduction

2. Meaning

3. Morphology

4. Syntax

5. Collocation - Sound as a Noun
5.1 Collocation - Sound as a Verb
5.2 Collocation - Sound as an Adjective

6. Conclusion

7. Works Cited

8. List of Figures

1. Introduction

The following report is dedicated to investigate the word “sound” (/saund/) with regards to some of the main linguistic features: meaning, morphology, syntax, collocation. First of all, this brief introduction will look at the word in its common meaning as well as its etymology. If one hears the word sound, one will automatically associate it with noise. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English sound relating to noise has its origin in two other languages: Anglo-Norman French and Latin. The former includes the noun soun and the verb suner, the latter the noun sonus. The word entered the English language for the first time in the Middle English period. At that time it was written soun like the Anglo-Norman French version and the -d was added in the Early Modern English period (, 2014).

The next section will present other main senses of the word as well as their etymology (meaning). Afterwards, the section on morphology will focus on the word classes and inflec­tions of the word “sound” (morphology). Based on these introductory sections, the analysis of this report will be examined with the help of the British National Corpus in the last two sec­tions. Therefore, it will be outlined how the word operates in English syntax as well as the regular lexical phrases it enters. Ultimately, the conclusion will discuss the results that have been discovered in the analysis.

2. Meaning

As the introduction already highlighted the most common meaning of the word “sound”, this section will deal with other main senses. The Oxford Dictionary of English provides, besides sound relating to noise, three other definitions. The first one occurs as an adjective (less fre­quently adverb) and describes something that is in good condition or not damaged. Further­more, it can also be used to specify a word or phrase in terms of being injured or diseased. The second meaning refers to the measuring of the depth of water by using sound echoes. The third and last meaning is associated with geology, using sound as a noun to describe a waterway that connects two areas of water (ibid.).

3. Morphology

The section on morphology will list all inflections and word classes of “sound”. First of all, inflection should be separated from derivation. The former adds grammatical meaning to a word, the latter produces a new word (oftentimes another word class). The English language consists of eight inflectional morphemes, which will be presented in the following list:

1. Plural: sound-s
2. Possessive: sound-’s or sound-s’
3. Comparative: sound-er
4. Superlative: sound-est
5. 3rd Person Singular: sound-s
6. Past Tense: sound-ed
7. Past Participle (follows be or have): sound-ed
8. Present Participle (follows be) sound-ing

Coincidentally, the English language also includes eight different word classes: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, determiner, prepositions and conjunctions. According to the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English the word “sound” can be attached to the fol­lowing classes: noun, verb, adjective, adverb (, 2014)

Thus, the analysis of the last two sections will cover most of the inflections and the above- mentioned word classes. Logically, not all of the words can be analysed in-depth as it would go beyond the scope of this report.

4. Syntax

This section will focus on how the word “sound” operates in English syntax. Basically, there are five different syntactic functions for words or phrases. These are: subject (S), verb (V), object (Od or Oi), complement (C), adverbial/adjunct (A). The following examples will il­lustrate how the word operates in the English language. One of the basic rules in English is that a singular subject takes a singular verb. This can be quite difficult if one takes a closer look at constructions with “sound” and “of”. Here, a plural noun can follow the combination “sound of’, which is oftentimes a source of errors. In addition, one can observe two other constructions with “sound” as subject. Either “sound” precedes another noun and functions as a modifier or sound directly precedes the verb.

Examples sentences from the BNC:

The sound of Gothic Voices is altogether more familiar than that of the Taverner Consort.

The sound quality is quite as impressive as Levine's full-price version.

A terrible roaring sound began to emanate from the doomed building.

However, “sound” as a verb can be either intransitive or transitive. The former oftentimes occurs with a complement, whereas in the second case an object follows the verb.

Example sentences from the BNC:

She sounded surprised.

Soldier termites sound an alarm by beating their large hard heads on passage walls.

The word “sound” as an adjective can either be attributive or predicative and in both cases the noun or pronoun is modified. Nonetheless, an adjective as a predicative is linked by the verb with the noun or pronoun. The following examples will clarify the difference.

Example sentences from the BNC:

Within indirect taxation there were sound reasons for favouring excise over customs duties. Your logic is sound but I'm not feeling very logical at the moment.

5. Collocation - Sound as a Noun

Collocation means that two or more words often go together and that this combination is more often than would be expected by chance. The first part of this analysis will take a closer look at sound as a noun (singular) and its collocations. The range of collocations in this report focuses on those three words that either precede or follow the investigated word. The left chart below illustrates the top five words (as measured by frequency) that occur with the word sound in the abovementioned range. The past tense “heard” is the outstanding word with 251. Surprisingly, if one analyses the strength of these collocations (MI), none of the top five words can maintain its position. This can be seen in the right chart, which presents the five strongest collocations (the higher the MI, the stronger the collocation) among the twenty most frequent words.


Excerpt out of 12 pages


Report on the Word "Sound"
University of Birmingham  (School of English)
Grammar & Vocabulary
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ISBN (eBook)
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Excellently presented and argued. You focused intelligently on interesting aspects you gained from the corpus analysis.
Linguistik, Report, Sound, Morphology, Syntax, Ethymology, Derivation, Inflection, Collocation, Grammar, Vocabulary, Linguistics, Morphologie, Etymologie
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Tim Ballschmiede (Author), 2015, Report on the Word "Sound", Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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