English Theoretical Grammar
English Theoretical Grammar
English Theoretical Grammar
Theme 1. INTRODUCTION.
Point 1. The subject of theoretical grammar and its difference
from practical grammar.
The following course of theoretical grammar
serves to describe the grammatical structure of the English language as a
system where all parts are interconnected. The difference between theoretical
and practical grammar lies in the fact that practical grammar prescribes
certain rules of usage and teaches to speak (or write) correctly whereas
theoretical grammar presents facts of language, while analyzing them, and gives
Unlike school grammar, theoretical grammar
does not always produce a ready-made decision. In language there are a number
of phenomena interpreted differently by different linguists. To a great extent,
these differences are due to the fact that there exist various directions in
linguistics, each having its own method of analysis and, therefore, its own
approach to the matter. But sometimes these differences arise because some
facts of language are difficult to analyze, and in this case the only thing to
offer is a possible way to solve the problem, instead of giving a final
solution. It is due to this circumstance that there are different theories of
the same language phenomenon, which is not the case with practical grammar.
Point 2. The main development stages of
English theoretical grammar.
English theoretical grammar has
naturally been developing in the mainstream of world linguistics. Observing the
fact that some languages are very similar to one another in their forms, while
others are quite dissimilar, scholars still long ago expressed the idea that
languages revealing formal features of similarity have a common origin.
Attempts to establish groups of kindred languages were repeatedly made from the
16th century on. Among the scholars who developed the idea of
language relationship and attempted to give the first schemes of their
genealogical groupings we find the name of J. J. Scaliger (1540-1609).
But a consistently scientific
proof and study of the actual relationship between languages became possible
only when the historical comparative method of language study was created – in
the first quarter of the 19th century.
The historical comparative method developed
in connection with the comparative observation of languages belonging to the
Indo-European family, and its appearance was stimulated by the discovery of
Sir William Jones (1746-1794), a prominent
British orientalist and Sanskrit student, was the first to point out in the
form of rigorously grounded scientific hypothesis that Sanskrit, Greek, Latin,
Gothic, and some other languages of India and Europe had sprung from the same
source which no longer existed. He put forward this hypothesis in his famous
report to the Calcutta Linguistic Society (1786), basing his views on an
observation of verbal roots and certain grammatical forms in the languages
The relations between the
languages of the Indo-European family were studied systematically and
scientifically at the beginning of the 19th century by some European
scholars, such as Franz Bopp (1791-1867), Rasmus Kristian Rask (1787-1832),
Jacob Grimm (1785-1863), and A. Ch. Vostokov (1781-1864). These scholars not
only made comparative and historical observations of the kindred languages, but
they defined the fundamental conception of linguistic ‘kinship’
(‘relationship’), and created the historical comparative method in linguistics.
The rise of this method marks the appearance of linguistics as a science in the
strict sense of the word.
After that the historical and comparative
study of the Indo-European languages became the principal line of European
linguistics for many years to come.
The historical comparative linguistics was
further developed in the works of such scholars of the 19th and 20th
centuries as F. Dietz (1794-1876), A. F. Pott (1802-1887), A.Schleicher
(1821-1868) , F.I.Buslayev (1848-1897), F. F. Fortunatov (1848-1914), F. de
Saussure (1857-1913), A.Meillet(1866-1936) and other linguists.
At the beginning of the 20th
century the science of linguistics went different ways and later formed into
various trends or schools, each of them contributing greatly to English
theoretical grammar. The process is still under way nowadays, and it is going
to be considered in detail further on.
Thus, we may tentatively trace
three main development stages of English theoretical grammar: first (the 16th
century - the first quarter of the 19th century), second (the first
quarter of the 19th century - the 1930s) and third (the 1930s -
Point 3. The classical
scientific grammar of the late 19th century and the first
half of the 20th
As it has been stated above,
the main method of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th
century was the historical comparative method. Valuable as it was for the
scientific study of languages, it had definite shortcomings and limitations.
The historical comparative method did not
give any exact definition of the object of linguistics as an independent
science. Logical, psychological, and sociological considerations were involved
in linguistic studies to such an extent as to obscure linguistics proper.
The study of numerous languages
of the world was neglected, the research being limited to the group of the
It was mainly the historical
changes of phonological and morphological units that were studied; syntax
hardly existed as an elaborate domain of linguistics alongside of phonology and
morphology. The painstaking study of the evolution of sounds and morphemes led
to an atomistic approach to language.
As a reaction to the atomistic
approach to language a new theory appeared that was seeking to grasp linguistic
events in their mutual interconnection and interdependence, to understand and
to describe language as a system.
The first linguists to speak of language as
a system or a structure of smaller systems were Beaudouin de Courtenay
(1845-1929) and Academician F.F.Fortunatov of Russia, and the Swiss linguist
Ferdinand de Saussure.
There were three major
linguistic schools that developed these new notions concerning language and
linguistics as the science that studies it: the Prague School that created
Functional linguistics, the Copenhagen School which created Glossematics, and
the American School that created Descriptive linguistics. The Immediate
Constituents Grammar was a further development of descriptive linguistics; the
Transformational Grammar, the latest.
The Prague School was founded
in 1929, uniting Czech and Russian linguists: Mathesius, Trnka, Nikolay
Trubetskoy, Roman Jakobson, and others. The chief contribution of early
Praguians to modern linguistics is the technique for determining the units of
the phonological structure of languages. The basic method is the use of
oppositions (contrasts) of speech sounds that change the meaning of the words
in which they occur.
The Copenhagen School was
founded in 1933 by Louis Hjelmslev (1899-1959) and Viggo Brondal (1887-1942). In 1939 the Prague and
the Copenhagen Schools founded the journal ”Acta Linguistica” that had been for
several years the international journal of Structural Linguistics. In the early
1930s the conception of the Copenhagen School was given the name of
’Glossematics’ (from Gk. ’glossa’ – language).
Point 4. The American
Descriptive Linguistics of the 1940s-1950s.
Descriptive linguistics developed
from the necessity of studying half-known and unknown languages of the Indian
tribes. At the beginning of the 20th century these languages were
rapidly dying out under the conditions of that time. The study of these
languages was undertaken out of purely scientific interest.
The Indian languages had no
writing and, therefore, had no history. The historical comparative method was
of little use there, and the first step of work was to be keen observation and
rigid registration of linguistic forms.
Frantz Boas, linguist and
anthropologist (1858-1942) is usually mentioned as the predesessor of American
Descriptive Linguistics. His basic ideas were later developed by Edward Sapir
(1884-1939) and Leonard Bloomfield (1887-1949). Bloomfield’s main work
”Language” was published in 1933. All linguists of the USA at one time or other
felt the influence of this book. It is a complete methodology of language
study, approaching the language as if it were unknown to the linguist
(student). The main concepts of Bloomfield’s book are:
Language is a workable
system of sygnals, that is linguistic forms by means of which people
Grammar is a meaningful
arrangement of linguistic forms from morphemes to sentence.
The chief contribution of the American
Descriptive School to modern linguistics is the elaboration of the techniques
of linguistic analysis. The main methods are the Distributional method and the
method of Immediate Constituents.
A recent development of
Descriptive linguistics gave rise to a new method – the Transformational
grammar. The TG was first suggested by Zellig S. Harris as a method of
analyzing the ”raw meterial” (concrete utterances) and was later elaborated by
Noam Chomsky as a synthetic method of ”generating” (constructing) sentences.
The TG refers to syntax only and presupposes the recognition (identification)
of such linguistic units as phonemes, morphemes and form-classes, the latter
being stated according to the distributional and the IC-analysis or otherwise.
Charles Carpenter Fries is another prominent figure of American linguistic
theory. His main work ”The Structure of English” is widely known.
Theme 1. INTRODUCTION (continued).
Point 5. Problems of ’Case’
’Case” Grammar, or role grammar,
is a method to describe the semantics of a sentence, without modal or
performative elements, as a system of semantic valencies through the bonds of
’the main verb’ with the roles prompted by its meaning and performed by nominal
Example: the verb ’to
give’ requires the roles, or cases, of the agent, the receiver and the object
He gives me a book. I am given a
book by him. A book is given to me by him.
Case Grammar emerged within the frames of
Transformational Grammar in the late 1960s and developed as a grammatical
method of description.
There are different approaches
towards Case Grammar concerning the type of the logical structure of the
sentence, the arrangement of roles and their possible combinations, i.e. ’case
frames’, as well as the way in which semantic ties are reflected in a sentence
structure by means of formal devices.
Case Grammar has been used to
describe many languages on the semantic level. The results of this research are
being used in developing ’artificial intellect’ (the so-called ’frame
semantics’) and in psycholinguistics.
However, Case Grammar has neither
clear definitions nor criteria to identify semantic roles; their status is vague
in the sentence derivation; equally vague are the extent of fulness of their
arrangement and the boundaries between ’role’ elements and other elements in a
Point 6. The main
conceptions of syntactic semantics (or semantic syntax) and text linguistics
The purpose and the social essence of language
are to serve as means of communication. Both structure and semantics of
language ultimately serve exactly this purpose. For centuries linguists have
focused mainly on structural peculiarities of languages. This may be easily
explained by the fact that structural differences between languages are much
more evident than differences in contents; that is why the study of the latter
was seen as research in concrete languages. The correctness of such an assumption
is proved by the fact that of all semantic phenomena the most studied were
those most ideoethnic, for example, lexical and semantic structure of words. As
for syntactic semantics, which is in many aspects common for various languages,
it turned out to be least studied. Meanwhile, the study of this field of
language semantics is of special interest for at least two reasons. Firstly,
communication is not organized by means of separate words, but by means of
utterances, or sentences. Learning speech communication, fully conveyed with
the help of language information, is impossible without studying sentence
semantics. Secondly, studying the semantic aspect of syntactic constructions is
important, besides purely linguistic tasks, for understanding the peculiarities
and laws of man’s thinking activities. Language and speech are the basic source
of information which is a foundation for establishing the laws, as well as the
categories and forms, of human thinking. Thus, language semantics is as
important and legal object of linguistic study as language forms are.
Point 7. Modern methods of grammatical
analysis: the I.C. method (method of immediate constituents), the oppositional,
transformational and componential methods of analysis.
The IC method, introduced
by American descriptivists, presents the sentence not as a linear succession of
words but as a hierarchy of its ICs, as a ’structure of structures’.
Ch. Fries, who further developed the method
proposed by L.Bloomfield, suggested the following diagram for the analysis of
the sentence which also brings forth the mechanism of generating sentences: the
largest IC of a simple sentence are the NP (noun phrase) and the VP (verb
phrase), and they are further divided if their structure allows.
Layer 3 The recommending committee approved his promotion.
The deeper the layer of the
phrase (the greater its number), the smaller the phrase, and the smaller its
ICs. The resulting units (elements) are called ultimate constituents (on the
level of syntax they are words). If the sentence is complex, the largest ICs
are the sentences included into the complex construction.
The diagram may be drawn
somewhat differently without changing its principle of analysis. This new
diagram is called a ‘candelabra’ diagram.
The man hit the ball.
If we turn the analytical
(‘candelabra’) diagram upside down we get a new diagram which is called a
‘derivation tree’, because it is fit not only to analyze sentences, but shows
how a sentence is derived, or generated, from the ICs.
The IC model is a complete and
exact theory but its sphere of application is limited to generating only simple
sentences. It also has some demerits which make it less strong than
transformational models, for instance, in case of the
infinitive which is a tricky thing in English.
The oppositional method of
analysis was introduced by the Prague School. It is especially suitable for
describing morphological categories. The most general case is that of the
general system of tense-forms of the English verb. In the binary opposition
‘present::past’ the second member is characterized by specific formal features
– either the suffix -ed, or a phonemic modification of the root. The past is
thus a marked member of the opposition as against the present, which is
The obvious opposition within the category of
voice is that between active and passive; the passive voice is the marked
member of the opposition: its characteristic is the pattern 'be+Participle II',
whereas the active voice is unmarked.
method of analysis was introduced by American descriptivists Z.Harris and
N.Chomsky. It deals with the deep structure of the utterance which is the
sphere of covert (concealed) syntactic relations, as opposed to the surface
structure which is the sphere of overt relations that manifest themselves
through the form of single sentences. For example: John ran. She wrote a
But: 1) She made him a good wife.
2) She made him a good husband.
The surface structures of these two sentences
are identical but the syntactic meanings are different, and it is only with the
help of certain changes (transformations) that the covert relations are brought
She became a good wife for
He became a good husband
because she made him one.
The transformational sentence model is, in
fact, the extension of the linguistic notion of derivation to the syntactic
level which presupposes setting off the so-called ‘basic’ or ‘kernel’
structures and their transforms, i.e. sentence-structures derived from the
basic ones according to the transformational rules.
E.g. He wrote a letter. – The
letter was written by him.
This analysis helps one to find
out difference in meaning when no other method can give results, it appears
strong enough in some structures with the infinitive in which the ICs are the same:
John is easy to please.
John is eager to please.
1) It is easy - - It is easy (for smb.) to
Smb. pleases John - - John is easy to please.
John is eager - -
is eager to please.
John pleases smb. - -
The componential analysis
belongs to the sphere of traditional grammar and essentially consists of
‘parsing’, i.e. sentence-member analysis that is often based on the
distributional qualities of different parts of speech, which sometimes leads to
E.g. My friend received a letter yesterday.
His task is to watch. (A+S+V(+?)
His task is to settle all matters.
Theme 2. GENERAL
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE STRUCTURE
OF MODERN ENGLISH.
Point 1. The correlation of
analysis and synthesis in the structure of English.
Languages may be synthetical and analytical
according to their grammatical structure.
In synthetical languages, such as, for
instance, Ukrainian, the grammatical relations between words are expressed by
means of inflexions: e.g. äîëîíü ðóêè.
In analytical languages, such as English,
the grammatical relations between words are expressed by means of form-words
and word order: e.g. the palm of the hand.
Analytical forms are mostly proper to
verbs. An analytical verb-form consists of one or more form-words, which have
no lexical meaning and only express one or more of the grammatical categories
of person, number, tense, aspect, voice, mood, and one notional word, generally
an infinitive or a participle: e.g. He has come. I am reading.
However, the structure of a language is
never purely synthetic or purely analytical. Accordingly in the English
language there are:
tables, brother’s, smoked).
Inner flexions (man
– men, speak – spoke).
The synthetic forms of
the Subjunctive Mood: were, be, have, etc.
Owing to the scarcity of synthetic forms
the order of words, which is fixed in English, acquires extreme importance: The
fisherman caught a fish.
A deviation from the general principle of
word order is possible only in special cases.
Point 2. Peculiarities of the structure of
English in the field of accidence (word-building and word-changing).
Affixes, i.e. prefixes and suffixes, in the
English language have a dual designation – some are used in word-building,
others – in word-changing. Word-building is derivation of new words from basic
forms of some part of speech. Word-changing is derivation of different forms of
the same word. Word-building and word-changing have their own sets of affixes:
their coincidence may only be pure accidental homonymy (cf.=confer –er in
agentive nouns – writer, and –er in the comparative degree of adjectives –
longer). There may be occasional cases of a word-changing suffix transformation
into a word-building one: I am in a strong position to know of her doings.
English prefixes perform only word-building
functions, and are not supposed to be considered in this course. As for
suffixes, they are divided into word-building and word-changing ones; the
latter are directly related to the grammatical structure.
Point 3. Peculiarities of the English
language in the field of syntax.
English syntax is characterized by the
following main features:
A fixed word order in
A great variety of
An extensive use of
substitutes which save the repetition of a word in certain conditions (one,
numerous form-words to express the grammatical relations between words in the
sentence or within the word-combination;
Point 4. Functional and semantic connection
of lexicon and grammar.
The functional criterion of word division into
parts of speech presupposes revealing their syntactic properties in the
sentence. For notional words, it is primarily their position-and-member
characteristics, i.e. their ability to perform the function of independent
members of the sentence: subject, verbal predicate, predicative, object,
attribute, adverbial modifier. In defining the subclass appurtenance of words, which is the second stage of classification, an important
place is occupied by finding out their combinability characteristics (cf., for
example, the division of verbs into valency subclasses). This is the level of
analysis where a possible contradiction between substantive and lexical, and
between categorial and grammatical, semantics of the word, is settled. Thus, in
its basic substantive semantics the word ‘stone’ is a noun, but in the sentence
‘Aunt Emma was stoning cherries for preserves’ the said substantive base comes
forward as a productive one in the verb. However, the situational semantics of
the sentence reflects the stable substantive orientation of the lexeme,
retained in the causative character of its content (here, ‘to take out
stones’). The categorial characteristics of such lexemes might be called
‘combined objective and processional’ one. Unlike this one, the categorial
characteristics of the lexeme ‘go’ in the utterance ‘That’s a go’ will be
defined as ‘combined processional and objective’. Still, the combined character
of semantics on the derivational and situational, and on the sensical level,
does not deprive the lexeme of its unambiguous functional and semantic
characterization by class appurtenance.
Point 5. Functional and
semantic (lexico-grammatical) fields.
The idea of field structure in the
distribution of relevant properties of objects is applied in the notion of the
part of speech: within the framework of a certain part of speech a central
group of words is distinguished, which costitutes the class in strict
conformity with its established features, and a peripheral group of words is
set off, with the corresponding gradation of features. On the functional level,
one and the same part of speech may perform different functions.
Theme 3. ACCIDENCE.
Point 1. The main notions of
Accidence is the section of
grammar that studies the word form. In this study it deals with such basic
notions as ‘the word’, ‘the morpheme’, ‘the morph’, ‘the allomorph’, ‘the
grammatical form and category of the word’, as well as its ‘grammatical
meaning’, and also ‘the paradigm’, ‘the oppositional relations and the
functional relations of grammatical forms’.
Point 2. The notion of the
morpheme. Types of morphemes. Morphs and
(a) One of the most widely used definitions of the
morpheme is like this: ‘The morpheme is the smallest linear meaningful unit
having a sound expression’. However, there are other definitions:
L.Bloomfield: The morpheme
is ‘a linguistic form which bears no partial resemblance to any other form’.
B. De Courtenay: The
morpheme is a generalized name for linear components of the word, i.e. the root
Prof. A.I.Smirnitsky: The
morpheme is the smallest language unit possessing essential features of
language, i.e. having both external (sound) and internal (notional) aspects.
(b) Morphemes, as it has been mentioned above, may
include roots and affixes. Hence, the main types of morphemes are the root
morpheme and the affix morpheme. There also exists the concept of the zero
morpheme for the word-forms that have no ending but are capable of taking one
in the other forms of the same category, which is not quite true for English.
As for the affix morpheme, it may include
either a prefix or a suffix, or both. Since prefixes and many suffixes in
English are used for word-building, they are not considered in theoretical
grammar. It deals only with word-changing morphemes, sometimes called auxiliary
or functional morphemes.
An allomorph is a variant
of a morpheme which occurs in certain environments. Thus a morpheme is a group
of one or more allomorphs, or morphs.
The allomorphs of a certain morpheme may
coincide absolutely in sound form, e.g. the root morpheme in ‘fresh’,
‘refreshment’, ‘freshen’, the suffixes in ‘speaker’, ‘actor’,
the adverbial suffix in ‘greatly’, ‘early’. However, very often
allomorphs are not absolutely identical, e.g. the root morpheme in ‘come-came’,
‘man-men’, the suffixes in ‘walked’, ‘dreamed’,
Point 3. The grammatical form of the word.
Synthetical and analytical forms.
The grammatical form of
the word is determined by its formal features conveying some grammatical
meaning. The formal feature (flexion, function word, etc.) is the ‘exponent’ of
the form, or the grammatical ‘formant’, the grammatical form proper being
materialized by the unification of the stem with the formant in the composition
of a certain paradigmatic row. Therefore, the grammatical form unites a whole
class of words, each expressing a corresponding general meaning in the
framework of its own concrete meaning. (E.g. the plural form of nouns:
books-dogs-cases-men-oxen-data-radii, etc.) Thus the grammatical form of the
word reflects its division according to the expression of a certain grammatical
(b) Synthetic forms are those which
materialize the grammatical meaning through the inner morphemic composition of
the word. Analytical forms, as opposed to synthetic ones, are defined as those
which materialize the grammatical meaning by combining the ‘substance’ word
with the ‘function’ word.
Theme 3. ACCIDENCE (continued).
Point 4. The grammatical
The grammatical category is a
combination of two or more grammatical forms opposed or correlated by their
grammatical meaning. A certain grammatical meaning is fixed in a certain set of
forms. No grammatical category can exist without permanent formal features. Any
grammatical category must include as many as two contrasted forms, but their
number may be greater. For instance, thre are three tense forms – Present, Past
and Future, four aspect forms – Indefinite, Perfect, Continuous, Perfect
Continuous, but there are only two number forms of nouns, two voices, etc.
Point 5. The grammatical meaning. Categorial and non-categorial meanings
The grammatical meaning is
a generalized and rather abstract meaning uniting large groups of words, being
expressed through its inherent formal features or, in an opposition, through
the absence of such. Its very important property is that the grammatical
meaning is not named in the word, e.g. countables-uncountables in nouns, verbs
of instant actions in Continuous (was jumping, was winking), etc.
The grammatical meaning in morphology is
conveyed by means of:
Flexion, i.e. a
word-changing formant which may be outer (streets, approached) or
inner (foot-feet, find-found).
Suppletive word forms (to
Analytical forms (is
coming, has asked).
The most general meanings
conveyed by language and finding expression in the systemic, regular
correlation of forms, are thought of as categorial grammatical meanings.
Therefore, we may speak of the categorial grammatical meanings of number and
case in nouns; person, number, tense, aspect, voice and mood in verbs, etc.
Non-categorial grammatical meanings are those which do not occur in
oppositions,e.g. the grammatical meanings of collectiveness in nouns,
qualitativeness in adjectives, or transitiveness in verbs, etc.
Point 6. The notion of the
paradigm in morphology.
An orderly combination of
grammatical forms expressing a certain categorial function (or meaning)
constitutes a grammatical paradigm. Consequently, a grammatical category is
built up as a combination of respective paradigms (e.g. the category of number
in nouns, the category of tense in verbs, etc.).
Point 7. Oppositional relations
of grammatical forms.
The basic method of the use of
oppositions was elaborated by the Prague School linguists. In fact, the term
‘opposition’ should imply two contrasted elements, or forms, i.e. the
opposition should be binary. The principle of binary oppositions is especially
suitable for describing morphological categories where this kind of relations
is more evident.
For example, the tense-forms of
the English verb may be divided into two halves: the forms of the present plane
and those of the past. The former comprises the Present, Present Perfect,
Present Continuous, Present Perfect Continuous, and the Future; the latter
includes the Past, Past Perfect, Past Continuous, Past Perfect Continuous, and
the Future-in-the-Past. The second half is characterized by specific formal features
– either the suffix –ed (or its equivalents) appear, or a phonemic modification
of the root. The past is thus a marked member of the opposition ‘present::past’
as against the present sub-system, which is the unmarked member. The same may
be applied to perfect and non-perfect forms, active and passive forms, singular
and plural forms in class nouns, etc.
Point 8. Functional
transpositions of grammatical (morphological) forms.
In context functioning of
grammatical forms under real circumstances of communicating, their oppositional
categorial features interact so that a member of the categorial opposition may
be used in a position typical of the other contrasted member. This phenomenon
is referred to as the functional transposition. One must bear in mind that
there are two kinds of functional transpositions: the one with a partial loss
of the functional property, and the one with a complete loss of the functional
property. The former may also be defined as the functional transposition proper
where the substituting member performs the two functions simultaneously. E.g.
the unusual usage of the plural form of a ‘unique’ object (cf.: …’that skin so
prized by Southern women and so carefully guarded with bonnets, veils and
mittens against hot Georgian suns’. (M.Mitchel)
Point 9. Neutralization of the
The second kind of functional
transposition where the substituting member completely loses its functional
property, is the actual neutralization of the opposition. Such neutralization
itself does not possess any expressive meaning but is generally related to the
variations of particular meanings (cf.: A man can die but once.(proverb)
The lion is not so fierce as he is painted.(proverb)
Point 10. Polysemy, synonymy
and homonymy in morphology.
Morphological polysemy implies
representations of a word as different parts of speech, e.g. the word ‘but’ may
function as a conjunction (last, but not least), a preposition (there was
nothing but firelight), a restrictive adverb (those words were but excuses), a
relative pronoun (there are none but do much the same), a noun in the singular
and plural (that was a large but; his repeated buts are really trying).
Morphological synonymy reflects a
variety of representations by different parts of speech for the same meaning,
e.g. due to (adjective), thanks to (noun), because of (preposition), etc.
Morphological homonymy may be
described as phonetic equivalents with different grammatical functions, e.g. He
looks – her looks; they wanted – the job wanted; smoking is harmful – a smoking
man; you read – we saw you, etc.
Point 11. The main problems of
The problems of functional
morphology are many, the main and most disputed being:
(a) the functions of ‘formal’ morphemes (affixes)
(b) the functional correlation, i.e. connection of
phenomena differing in certain features but united through others (import-to
(c) the functional classification of words as
parts of speech.
Theme 4. THE PARTS OF SPEECH.
Point 1. The problems of the
parts of speech.
The whole lexicon of the English language,
like the one of all Indo-European languages, is divided into certain
lexico-grammatical classes traditionally called ‘parts of speech’. The
existence of such classes is not doubted by any linguists though they might
have different points of view as to their interpretation. Classification of the
parts of speech is still a matter of dispute; linguists’ opinions differ
concerning the number and the names of the parts of speech.
Point 2. The principles of
division into the parts of speech. Issues of discussion in the classification
of words into the parts of speech. Notional and functional parts of speech.
Conversion of the parts of speech.
The main principles of word
division into certain groups, that had long existed, were formulated by
L.V.Shcherba quite explicitly. They are lexical meaning, morphological form and
syntactic functioning. Still, some classifications are based on some of the
three features, for any of them may coincide neglecting the strict logical
In linguistics there have
been a number of attempts to build up such a classification of the parts of
speech (lexico-grammatical classes) that would meet the main requirement of a
logical classification, i.e. would be based on a single principle. Those
attempts have failed.
H.Sweet, the author of the first scientific
grammar of the English language, divides the parts of speech into two main
groups – the declinables and the indeclinables. That means that he considers
morphological properties to be the main principle of classification. Inside the
group of the declinables he kept to the traditional division into nouns,
adjectives and verbs. Adverbs, prepositions, conjunctions and interjections are
united into the group of the indeclinables. However, alongside of this
classification, Sweet proposes grouping based on the syntactic functioning of
certain classes of words. This leads to including nouns, pronouns, infinitives,
gerunds and some other parts of speech into the same class, which is incorrect.
The Danish linguist O.Jespersen
suggested the so-called theory of three ranks (primary, secondary and tertiary
words), e.g. ‘furiously barking dog’ where ‘dog’ is a primary word, ‘barking’ –
secondary, and ‘furiously’ – tertiary.
Another attempt to find a single
principle of classification was made by Ch.Fries in his book ‘The Structure of
English’. He rejects the traditional classification and tries to draw up a
class system based on the word’s position in the sentence; his four classes
correspond to what is traditionally called nouns (class 1), verbs (class 2),
adjectives (class 3) and adverbs (class 4). Besides the four classes he set off
15 groups. And yet, his attempt turned out to be a failure, too, for the
classes and groups overlap one another.
Words on the semantic
(meaningful) level of classification are divided into notional and functional.
To the notional parts of speech of the English
language belong the noun, the adjective, the numeral, the pronoun, the verb and
Contrasted against the notional
parts of speech are words of incomplete nominative meaning and
non-self-dependent, mediatory functions in the sentence. These are functional
parts of speech. To the basic functional series of words in English belong the
article, the preposition, the conjunction, the particle, the modal word, the
From the point of view of
their functional characteristics lexical units may belong to different
lexico-grammatical classes. This kind of syntactic transition is called
conversion and represents a widespread phenomenon as one of the most productive
and economical means of syntactic transpositions. E.g. She used to comb her
hair lovingly. – Here is your comb. They lived up north a few years ago. – You
must be ready to take all these ups and downs easy.
Theme 4. THE PARTS OF SPEECH
Point 3. The parts of speech in
the onomasiologic light.
Comparing the class division of the lexicon at
the angle of functional designation of words, we first of all note a sharp
contrast in language of two polar types of lexemes, the notional type and the
functional one. Being evaluated from the informative-functional point of view,
the polar distribution of words into completely meaningful and incompletely
meaningful domains appears quite clear and fundamental; the overt character of
the notional lexical system and the covert one of the functional lexical system
(with the field of transition from the former to the latter being available) acquire
the status of the most important general feature of the form.
The notional domain of lexicon is divided into
four generalizing classes, not a single more or less. The four notional parts
of speech defined as the words with a self-dependent denotational-naming
function, are the noun (substantially represented denotations), the verb
(processually represented denotations), the adjective (feature-represented
denotations of the substantial appurtenance) and the adverb
(feature-represented denotations of the non-substantial appurtenance).
However, the typical functional positions of
these classes may be occupied by representatives of the functional classes by
virtue of substitution, that is why some scholars speak of additional notional
Point 4. The field nature of the parts of
The intricate correlations of units within
each part of speech are reflected in the theory of the morphological fields
which states the following: every part of speech comprises units fully
possessing all features of the given part of speech; these are its nucleus.
Yet, there are units which do not possess all features of the given part of
speech though they belong to it. Therefore, the field includes both central and
peripheral elements; it is not homogeneous in composition (cf.: ‘gives’ – the
lexical meaning of a process, the functional position of a predicate, the
word-changing paradigm; and ‘must’ – a feeble lexical meaning, the functional
position of a predicative, absence of word-changing paradigm).
Theme 5. THE NOTIONAL PARTS OF SPEECH.
Point 1. The noun. The grammatical meaning of
the noun. Semantic and grammatical subclasses of nouns. Grammatical categories
of the noun. The category of number. The correlation of the singular and the
plural forms. The category of case. The varying semantics of the noun in the
possessive case. Syntactic functions of nouns. The field structure of the noun.
(a) The noun is a notional part of speech
possessing the meaning of substantivity.
Substantivity is the
grammatical meaning due to which word units, both the names of objects proper
and non-objects, such as abstract notions, actions, properties, etc., function
in language like the names of objects proper.
From the point of view of
semantic and grammatical properties all English nouns fall under two classes:
proper nouns and common nouns.
Proper nouns are individual names given to
separate persons or things. As regards their meaning proper nouns may be
personal names (Mary, Peter, Shakespeare), geographical names (London, The
Crimea), the names of the months and the days of the week, names of ships,
hotels, clubs, etc. A large number of nouns now proper were originally common
nouns (Brown, Smith, Mason). Proper nouns may change their meaning and become
common nouns (sandwich, champagne).
Common nouns are names that can be applied to
any individual of a class of persons or things (man, dog, book), collections of
similar individuals or things regarded as a single unit (peasantry, family),
materials (snow, iron,cotton) or abstract notions (kindness, development).
Thus there are different groups of common
nouns: class nouns, collective nouns, nouns of material and abstract nouns.
Nouns may also be classified from another
point of view: nouns denoting things (the word ‘thing’ is used in a broad
sense) that can be counted are called countable nouns; nouns denoting things
that cannot be counted are called uncountable nouns.
(d) We may speak of three grammatical categories
of the noun.
1. The category of number. Nouns that can be counted have two numbers:
singular and plural.
2. The category of case is highly
disputable. Yet, many scholars assume that nouns denoting living beings (and
some nouns denoting lifeless things) have two case forms: the common case and
the genitive (or possessive) case.
3. It is doubtful whether the grammatical
category of gender exists in Modern English for it is hardly ever expressed by
means of grammatical forms. There is practically one gender-forming suffix in
Modern English, the suffix –ess, expressing feminine gender. It is not widely
used (heir – heiress, poet – poetess, actor – actress).
The basic meaning of
the category of number is the opposition of the singularity and the plurality
of objects. The plurality implies an amount exceeding one. The singular number
is conveyed by the basic form, i.e. by the form which has no endings and which
coincides with the stem. The plural number is graphically conveyed by the –s
formant that materializes itself as a number of allomorphs (/s/, /z/, /iz/)
depending on the character of the final sound of the stem (books, cats, dogs,
potatoes, classes, bushes). However, there are other, unproductive means of
forming the plural form (children, nuclei, phenomena, feet, mice). And finally,
there are some nouns that do not possess the formal features of either plural
or singular number (sheep, deer, swine, news, scissors, trousers).
Of the two number
forms, the singular number is compulsory for all nouns, except for pluralia
tantum. The reason for this fact is that the singular number is capable of
conveying not only the availability of quantity (one) but also the absence of
quantitative measurements for uncountables. The plural form always conveys some
quantitative relationship; it is due to this fact that the plural number is
capable of conveying the concretion of an abstract notion: a noun denoting a
generalized feature (a quality or a feeling) may also convey manifestations
which are occasional (attentions, joys).
Theme 5. THE NOTIONAL PARTS OF SPEECH
It is generally assumed
that there are two cases in English: the common case and the genitive
(possessive) case. Thus the paradigm may look as follows:
Common case: the boy the boys
Genitive case: the boy’s the boys’
Most scholars usually point to the fact
that the genitive case is mainly used with the nouns of person (Jim’s book,
Mary’s brother) but it may be occasionally used with the nouns denoting
lifeless things, namely: periods of time, distance, and price (a week’s notice,
a mile’s distance, a dollar’s worth of sugar). It may also occur, though
seldom, with the nouns which are situationally definite (The car’s front door
characteristics of the noun vary depending on the case used; the genitive case
expresses the individual characteristics of the object modified whereas the
common case denotes a generalized property which is not ascribed to any single
bearer (cf.: Shakespeare’s sonnets – the Shakespeare National Theatre; the
room’s walls – the room walls).
The field structure of
the noun is made up of the central group and the peripheral group. The central
group includes object nouns and nouns of person, both having equal number of
characteristic features; though object nouns are easily used as prepositive
attributes, they do not tend to be used so easily in the genitive case which,
in turn, is a characteristic feature of the nouns of person. The peripheral
group consists of abstract nouns and nouns of material; both of them are devoid
of the categories of number and case (with a few exceptions); they are not used
with the indefinite article. However, nouns of material are easily used as
Point 2. The pronoun. The semantic
classification of pronouns. The deictic and the anaphoric functions of
pronouns. Syntactic peculiarities of pronouns. Grammatical categories of
The pronoun is a part
of speech which points out objects and their qualities without naming them.
Therefore, the pronoun possesses a highly generalized meaning that seldom
materializes outside of the context.
classification of pronouns includes such subclasses as personal, possessive,
demonstrative, interrogative, reciprocal, relative, indefinite, negative,
conjunctive, defining and reflexive pronouns.
The deictic, or
indicatory, function of the pronoun is inherent in many subclasses except,
maybe, interrogative, indefinite and negative. The anaphoric function, or the
function of connecting with the preceding sentence or clause, is characteristic
of relative and conjunctive pronouns though it may be occasionally performed by
the other subclasses.
of pronouns are accounted for by the fact that the pronoun is very close in its
syntactic functions to those of the noun and the adjective. Hence, the main
functions it performs are the ones of the subject, the predicative, the object,
and the attribute.
The pronoun seems to
have the grammatical categories of person, gender (personal and possessive
pronouns), case (personal, and the relative and interrogative WHO – the
nominative and objective cases; indefinite, reciprocal and negative – the
common and genitive cases) and number (demonstrative, and the defining OTHER).
Point 3. The numeral. General
characteristics and problems of subcategorizing.
The numeral is a part
of speech which indicates number or the order of persons and things in a
Numerals are united by
their semantics only. They have neither morphologic nor syntactic features. All
numerals are subdivided into cardinal and ordinal. Both subclasses can perform
equally well the functions peculiar of nouns and adjectives. Numerals possess a
specific word-building system: suffixes –teen, -ty, -th. Some of them are
easily substantivized and treated as nouns.
Point 4. The adjective. The grammatical
meaning of the adjective. Semantic and grammatical subclasses of adjectives.
Grammatical categories of the adjective. Syntactic functions of adjectives.
Substantivization of adjectives. The field nature of the adjective.
(a) The adjective is a part of speech
expressing a quality of a substance.
The grammatical meaning
of the adjective lies in the fact that this part of speech names a quality
possessing certain stability unlike Participle I, for example: a fast train –
an approaching train.
According to their
meanings and grammatical characteristics, adjectives fall under two classes:
(1) qualitative adjectives, (2) relative adjectives. Qualitative adjectives
denote qualities of a substance directly, not through its relation to another
substance, as size, shape, colour, physical and mental qualities, qualities of
general estimation: little, large, high, soft, warm, white, important, etc.
Relative adjectives denote qualities of a substance through their relation to
materials (silken, woolen, wooden, metallic), to place (Italian, Asian), to
time (monthly, weekly), to some action (preparatory, educational).
Most adjectives have
degrees of comparison: the comparative degree and the superlative degree.
In a sentence the
adjective may be used as an attribute or as a predicative, the former in
preposition being more characteristic.
adjectives have acquired some or all of the characteristics of the noun, but
their adjectival origin is still generally felt. They may be wholly
substantivized (a native, the natives, a native’s hut, valuables, sweets, a
Ukrainian, Ukrainians) and partially substantivized (the rich, the poor, the
unemployed, the English, the good, the evil).
possess all the grammatical features of the adjective and belong to the central
group. The peripheral group includes relative adjectives and words of state
(asleep, awake) though there is no hard and fast demarcation line between these
Theme 5. THE NOTIONAL PARTS OF SPEECH
Point 5. The verb. The grammatical meaning
of the verb. Semantic and grammatical groups of verbs. The valency of verbs.
Grammatical categories of the verb (aspect, tense, voice and state). Transpositions
of verb-forms. Functional and semantic fields of temporality, state and
modality. Verbals, their grammatical categories and syntactic functions.
(a) The verb is a part of speech which denotes
The grammatical meaning
of action is understood widely: it is not only activities proper (He wrote a
letter) but both a state (He will soon recover) and just an indication of the
fact that the given object exists or belongs to a certain class of objects or
persons (A chair is a piece of furniture). It is important that the verb
conveys the feature as an action within some period of time, however unlimited.
grammatically English verbs are grouped as transitive (to give), intransitive
(to sleep), regular, irregular, mixed, notional, auxiliary, link (to grow, to
turn, to look), terminative (to come), non-terminative (to live) and verbs of
double lexical (aspect) character (to see).
The valency of verbs is
their combinability. For example, all verbs are characterized by their
subordination to the subject of a sentence; transitive verbs are usually
combined with an object; auxiliary and link verbs need a notional predicative,
The verb has the
grammatical categories of person, number, tense, aspect, voice, and mood.
In Modern English there are but few forms
indicating person and number in the synthetic forms of the verb. These are:
(1) The third person singular Present
Indefinite Indicative – ‘he speaks’.
(2) The Future Indefinite Tense – ‘I shall
speak’ (‘He will speak’).
The verb ‘to be’ has suppletive forms for
different persons – ‘am, is, are’.
The category of tense is very clearly
expressed in the forms of the English verb. This category denotes the relation
of the action either to the moment of speaking or to some definite moment in
the past or future. The category of tense and the category of aspect are
intermingled. There are four groups of tenses: Indefinite, Continuous, Perfect
and Perfect Continuous.
The category of aspect shows the way in
which the action develops, whether it is in progress or completed, etc. The
Indefinite form has no aspect characteristics whatever, the Continuous, Perfect
and Perfect Continuous forms denote both time and aspect relations. Each of
these forms includes four tenses: Present, Past, Future and Future-in-the-Past.
Thus there are 16 tenses in English.
Voice is the category of the verb which
indicates the relation of the predicate to the subject and the object.
There are two undoubted voices in English:
the active voice and the passive voice.
The active voice shows that the person or
thing denoted by the subject is the doer of the action expressed by the
The passive voice shows that the person or
thing denoted by the subject is acted upon.
Some scholars assume there is one more
voice in English, the so-called neuter-reflexive voice. (E.g. She was dressing
Mood is a grammatical category which
indicates the attitude of the speaker towards the action expressed by the verb
from the point of view of its reality.
We distinguish the indicative mood, the
imperative mood, and the subjunctive mood.
The Indicative Mood shows that the action
or state expressed by the verb is presented as a fact.
The Imperative Mood expresses a command or
The Subjunctive Mood shows that the action
or state expressed by the verb is presented as a non-fact, as something
imaginary or desired.
verb-forms may be connected with either substitutions of personal forms in
special cases (cf.: ‘If he were present, we’d ask him’ in the Subjunctive Mood)
or with functional transpositions of tense forms (cf.: ‘He will come tomorrow.
– He is coming tomorrow’.).
The concepts of
temporality (time correlations), state and modality are in most cases expressed
by verbs, but the fields may be different in nature. The field of temporality
may imply different functional patterns for the same action (cf.: ‘He will come
next week. – He is coming next week. – He comes next week’, where the first
sentence is grammatically central, and the other two peripheral.). On the other
hand, the field of temporality may be represented by semantically different
classes of verbs, such as terminative, non-terminative, and verbs of double
lexical character, the latter belonging to the centre of the field.
As for the functional and semantic fields
of state and modality, they may include a central group of verbs expressing
these concepts both lexically and functionally, and a peripheral group of other
parts of speech used in similar positions.
(h) There are three verbals in English: the
participle, the gerund and the infinitive.
The characteristic traits of the verbals
are as follows:
1. They have a double nature, nominal and
verbal. The participle combines the characteristics of a verb with those of an
adjective; the gerund and the infinitive combine the characteristics of a verb
with those of a noun.
2. The tense distinctions of the verbals
are not absolute, but relative.
3. All the verbals can form predicative
The participle is a non-finite form of the
verb which has a verbal and an adjectival or an adverbial character. Its
categories are those of tense-aspect and voice. In the sentence it may be used
as an attribute, an adverbial modifier, a predicative and part of a complex
The gerund developed from the verbal noun,
which in course of time became verbalized preserving at the same time its
nominal character. It has the categories of tense-aspect and voice. The gerund
can perform the function of subject, object, predicative, attribute and
The infinitive is the most abstract
verb-form which simply indicates action (in the Indefinite Aspect). That is why
it is referred to first in verb articles of dictionaries. Its categories are
those of tense-aspect and voice. It can be used as a subject, a predicative, an
object, an attribute, and an adverbial modifier.
Theme 5. THE NOTIONAL PARTS OF SPEECH
Point 6. The adverb. The grammatical
meaning of the adverb. The semantic classification of adverbs. The degrees of
comparison of adverbs. Syntagmatics of adverbs.
The adverb is a part of
speech which expresses some circumstances that attend an action or state.
The grammatical meaning
of the adverb is pointing out some characteristic features of an action or a
According to their
meanings adverbs fall under several groups:
adverbs of time (today,
adverbs of repetition
or frequency (often, seldom, over, etc.);
adverbs of place and
direction (inside, backward, etc.);
adverbs of cause and
consequence (therefore, accordingly, etc.);
adverbs of manner (kindly,
adverbs of degree,
measure and quantity (very, almost, once, etc.).
Three groups of adverbs stand aside:
interrogative (where, when, why, how), relative and conjunctive adverbs, the
former being used in special questions, and the latter two to introduce
Some adverbs are homonymous with
prepositions, conjunctions (before, after, since) and words of the category of
(d) Some adverbs have degrees of
comparison. This grammatical category finds its morphological expression only
in a limited group of adverbs, namely, the suppletive forms of ‘well’, ‘badly’,
‘much’, ‘little’, and the degrees of comparison of the adverbs ‘fast’, ‘near’,
‘hard’. In other cases the forms are analytical (wisely - more wisely - most wisely).
The adverb ‘far’ has a peculiar form.
(e) The syntagmatics of the adverb is that
of an adverbial modifier (said softly, nice in a way), and sometimes of an
attribute (the then president).
Point 7. The problems of setting off modal
words as parts of speech.
The modal words express the attitude of the
speaker to the reality, possibility or probability of the action he speaks
Formerly, they used to be referred to as
adverbs, and it was in Russian linguistics that they were identified as a part
of speech. However, H.Sweet distinguished the adverbs relating to the whole
sentence and expressing the speaker’s attitude.
Modal words stand aside in the sentence,
they are not its members. Sometimes they are used as sentence-words.
The structural field of the modal words
consists of the modal words proper used only parenthetically or as
sentence-words (perhaps, maybe, indeed, etc.) and a peripheral group of adverbs
functioning as modal words without losing their morphological and syntactic
features (apparently, unfortunately, etc.).
Point 8. The interjection as a part of
speech. Determination of the boundaries of interjections. Conversion of words
belonging to other parts of speech, and other language units, into
(a) The interjection is a part of speech
which expresses various emotions without naming them.
(b) According to Prof. Smirnitsky
interjections ‘are opposed to the words of intellectual semantics’ and their
field boundaries are limited by this characteristic feature. Nevertheless,
interjections may be primary and secondary.
Primary interjections are not derived from
other parts of speech. Most of them are simple words: ah, oh, eh, pooh, hum,
fie, bravo, hush. Only a few primary interjections are composite: heigh-ho!
hey-ho! holla-ho! gee-ho!
(c) Secondary interjections are derived
from other parts of speech or language units. They are homonymous with the
words or syntagms they are derived from. They are: well, now, why, God
gracious, damn it, etc.; they should not be confused with exclamation-words
such as ‘nonsense’, ‘shame’, ‘good’, etc.
Theme 6. THE FUNCTIONAL PARTS OF SPEECH.
Point 1. The conjunction. The place of
conjunctions in the system of connecting devices in the English language. Types
of conjunctions and their functioning in the sentence. Polysemy and synonymy of
The conjunction is a
part of speech which denotes connections between objects and phenomena. It
connects parts of the sentence, clauses, and sentences.
(b) The conjunction seems to have some
peculiar features: unlike the preposition it conveys grammatical relations in a
more abstract way, it has no nomination and it cannot be a member of the
sentence; on the other hand, it is more universal than prepositions and
conjunctive words, for it can connect various syntactic structures and units.
(c) As to their functions conjunctions fall
under two classes: coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions.
Coordinating conjunctions join coordinate
clauses in a compound sentence, or homogeneous parts in a simple sentence, or
homogeneous subordinate clauses in a complex sentence, or independent
sentences. There are four different kinds of coordinating conjunctions:
1. Copulative conjunctions: and, nor, as
well as, both…and, not only…but (also), neither…nor. They chiefly denote that
one statement or fact is simply added to another (‘nor’ and ‘neither’ express
that relation in the negative sense).
2. Disjunctive conjunctions: or, either…or,
or else, else. They offer some choice between one statement and another.
3. Adversative conjunctions: but, while,
whereas. They show that one statement or fact is contrasted with or set against
4. Causative-consecutive conjunctions: so,
for. They denote consequence, result, or reason.
Subordinating conjunctions generally join a
subordinate or dependent clause to a principal clause, or adverbial modifiers
to the predicate in a simple sentence, or sometimes they join homogeneous
(d) Polysemy of conjunctions may be
demonstrated by the example of the subordinating conjunction ‘that’ which may
introduce different kinds of clauses(subject, predicative, object, etc.).
Synonymy of conjunctions is easily seen in
such pairs as: in order – so as (that), as if – as though, etc.
Point 2. The preposition. The problem of
the meaning of the preposition. The classification of prepositions. Grammatical
functions of prepositions. Interconversion of prepositions and other parts of
(a) The preposition is a part of speech
which denotes the relations between objects and phenomena. It shows the
relations between a noun or a pronoun and other words.
(b) The lexical meaning of some
prepositions is quite concrete (e.g. in, below, between, before, after, till,
etc.), while that of some other prepositions may be weakened to a great extent
(e.g. to, by, of).
(c) According to their meanings
prepositions may be divided into:
- prepositions of place and direction (in,
on, below, under, between, etc.);
- time (after, before, at, etc.);
- prepositions expressing abstract
relations (by, with, because of, etc.).
(d) A preposition does not perform any
independent function in the sentence; it either reflects a relation between
sentence-members, or is included in a word-combination.
(e) Prepositions may function as other
parts of speech (e.g. ups and downs), while other parts of speech may serve as
prepositions (e.g. owing to, in spite of).
Point 3. Particles. Grounds for setting off
particles as parts of speech. The role of particles in the sentence.
(a) The particle is a part of speech giving
modal or emotional emphasis to other words or groups of words or clauses.
(b) The theory of particles has not yet
been elaborated well enough. Almost all the particles are homonymous with other
parts of speech, chiefly with adverbs (simply), but also with conjunctions
(but), pronouns (all), and adjectives (only). The particles ‘else, solely,
merely’ have no homonyms. Taking this latter fact into account, as well as the
emphasizing and sense-changing functions of the particle, we may set it off as
a functional part of speech.
(c) Particles have no independent function
in the sentence. Thus they may be treated dubiously: either as independent
sentence units, or as parts of the sentence-members they refer to. As the
former, they would require a specific name, apart from the traditional five
sentence-members, otherwise they should not be considered while analyzing a
sentence. As the latter, according to B.A.Illysh, they may lead to a confusion
in case of a distant position with regard to the mother-member.
Point 4. The article. The categorial status
of the article. The number of articles in the English language. The functions
of the article.
(a) The article is a structural part of
speech used with nouns.
(b) The categorial status of the article
implies that it reflects the category of definiteness or indefiniteness.
(c) Opinions differ as to the number of
articles in English. Recently, widespread has been the theory of three
articles: the definite article, the indefinite article and the so-called ‘zero’
article. The theory of the zero article is, of course, directly connected with
the theory of the zero morpheme. But if we assume that the article is a word,
the concept of a ‘zero’ word seems hardly reasonable. Consequently, it appears
more feasible to stick to the theory of two articles.
(d) The morphological function of the
article is that of indicating the noun. Its syntactical function is that of
defining the left border of an attributive word-combination. The main semantic
function of the article is that of actualizing the notion; in other words, the
article correlates a notion with the reality represented in the given text,
i.e. any utterance irrespective of its volume and contents.
Theme 7. SYNTAX.
Point 1. The subject of syntax. The main
units of syntax. Syntactic connections. Syntactic synonymy and homonymy.
Problems of semantic syntax. Problems of functional syntax.
(a) The subject of syntax is the study of
various grammatical structures which are realized as the product of
speech-thinking activity of man.
(b) The main units of syntax are the
word-combination, the sentence, and the text.
(c) Traditionally, the basic types of
connections distinguished in syntax are coordination and subordination. Besides
this two-member succession, there is another succession consisting of four
members that denote relations called predicative, objective, adverbial and
Some linguists suppose that the two-member
succession may be expanded to a three-member one to include the
“interdependence” type, as L.Hjelmslev named it.
(d) Synonymy in syntax implies that one and the same
communicative information may be conveyed by means of different syntactic
structures (cf.: Having read the book, she took up another one. = As soon as
she finished reading the book, she took up another one.).
Homonymy is the coincidence of sound forms
of different syntactic functions (cf.: a smoking man – a smoking-room; Watching
me closely, the dog slowly retreated. – I noticed a man watching me closely.).
(e) The semantic syntax covers a wide range
of problems, among which are the semantics of the word-combination constituents,
of the parts of the sentence and of the sentence as a whole, as well as of the
role meanings of the sentence components, of the phenomena of the reference, of
the presupposition and sequence, etc.
(f) The basic problem of the functional
syntax is studying and systematizing various language units (syntactic
structures) as they function in the speech-thinking activity of man. This
general problem may be subdivided into a number of minor ones, such as the
problem of combinability and valency, the problem of syntactical analysis, etc.
Point 2. The word-combination. The theory
of the word-combination in linguistics. The classification of
(a) The word-combination is defined in
different ways. Some scholars assume that it is a group of words which does not
possess any communicative purpose. This definition is, no doubt, correct, but
it is not complete. Most linguists are of the opinion that the word-combination
is any syntactically organized group of words irrespective of the type of
relations on which it is based. But in any case it is a grammatical structure.
(b) The issue of the word-combination was
first mentioned by Russian linguists in their early studies of grammar in the
18th century. But it was not until late in the 19th
century and especially early in the 20th century that a really
scientific theory of the word-combination appeared. It was developed by
outstanding Russian linguists F.F.Fortunatov, A.A.Shakhmatov and others. The
definition of the word-combination as any syntactically organized group was
predominant up to the 1950s. That viewpoint is still shared by Ukrainian
linguists (G.G.Pocheptsov and others), and it was supported by Western scholars
(L.Bloomfield and others).
In the 1950s a new approach found its way. The
term ‘word-combination’ was interpreted as a combination of at least two
notional words in subordination. This viewpoint was worded by Acad. Vinogradov
and supported by many linguists.
(c) The classification of word-combinations
may be based on space-position relations, on the one hand. The resulting types
of word-combinations are those based on the linear space-position relations and
those based on the sublinear space-position relations (independent and
On the other hand, the classification may
be based on the internal structure of word-combinations. They are then
classified as kernel and non-kernel.
Kernel word-combinations are grammatically
organized structures in which one element dominates the others. This element is
the kernel (the head, according to L.Bloomfield).
Non-kernel word-combinations are not united
by any single common structural feature. They are, in turn, subdivided into
independent (easy and simple; she nodded) and dependent (\send\ him a letter).
Theme 8. THE SENTENCE.
Point 1.1. Problems of the definition of
the sentence. The fundamental features of the sentence. Predication and
modality of the affirmation and negation. The correlation of the notions “the
sentence” and “the utterance”. The level analysis of the sentence. The
structural and syntactic characteristics of the sentence. Principal and
secondary parts of the sentence. The complicating elements of the sentence:
homogeneous, specifying, and detached parts of the sentence.
(a) The sentence is the immediate integral
unit of speech built up of words according to a definite syntactic pattern and
distinguished by a contextually relevant communicative purpose. Any coherent
connection of words having an informative destination is effected within the
framework of the sentence. Therefore the sentence is the main object of syntax
as part of the grammatical theory.
The sentence, being composed of words, may
in certain cases include only one word of various lexico-grammatical standing.
(Congratulations! Why? Certainly.)
The actual existence of one-word sentences,
however, does not contradict the general idea of the sentence as a special
syntactic combination of words. A word-sentence as a unit of the text is
radically different from a word-lexeme as a unit of lexicon, the differentiation
being inherent in the respective places occupied by the sentence and the word
in the hierarchy of language levels.
(b) The sentence not only names some
referents with the help of its word-constituents, but also, first, presents
these referents as making up a certain situation, or, more specifically, a
situational event, and second, reflects the connection between the nominal
denotation of the event on the one hand, and objective reality on the other,
showing the time of the event, its being real or unreal, desirable or
undesirable, necessary or unnecessary, etc. Thus a sentence possesses
predication, modality, form and intonation.
(c) The sentence is characterized by its
specific category of predication which establishes the relation of the named phenomena
to actual life. The general semantic category of modality is also defined by
linguists as exposing the connection between the named objects and surrounding
reality. However, modality, as different from predication, is not specifically
confined to the sentence: it is revealed both in the grammatical elements of
language and its lexical, purely nominative elements. Predication and modality
of the affirmation and negation are both reflected in language by means of
syntactical or lexical devices since they are similar intonationally.
(d) The notions of the sentence and the
utterance are very similar and often overlap each other. The above-mentioned
definition of the sentence, if compared to that of the utterance as “any
stretch of talk, by one person, before and after which there is silence on the
part of the person”(Z.S.Harris.”Method in Structural
Linguistics”.Chicago.1960,p.14), will show that both units are means of
communication. A distinct difference may be seen in the way they are organized.
Besides, the notion of the utterance is much wider as the latter may consist of
a word, a word-combination (or a phrase), a sentence and even a text.
(e) The level of the sentence, the
so-called “proposematic” level, will include smaller levels going upward from
the “phrasematic” level through the nomination and predication levels.
According to Ch.Fries, the level analysis should also go down to the lexemic
level (or rather the level of the parts of speech). The details of this type of
analysis were considered in the section dealing with modern methods of
(f) The structural scheme of an English
sentence is rather simple and fixed. It consists of the principal parts
(subject and predicate) and the secondary parts (object, attribute, adverbial
modifier). This scheme may be elementary (a simple sentence) or sophisticated
(a composite sentence) but its syntactic characteristics are generally the
same. Two-member sentences and one-member sentences are vivid examples of
purely syntactical opposition, though some scholars treat them as examples of
(g) In a sentence we distinguish the
principal parts, secondary parts and independent elements. The principal parts
of a sentence are the subject and the predicate. The independent elements are
interjections, direct address and parenthesis.
The subject is the principal part of the
sentence which is grammatically independent of the other parts of the sentence.
The subject can denote a living being, a lifeless thing or an idea. It can be
A noun in the common
A pronoun – personal,
demonstrative, defining, indefinite, negative, possessive, interrogative.
adjective or participle.
An infinitive, an
infinitive phrase or construction.
A gerund, a gerundial
phrase or construction.
Any part of speech used
as a quotation, or a quotation group.
A group of words which
is one part of the sentence, i.e. a syntactically indivisible group.
The predicate is the principal part of the
sentence which expresses an action, state, or quality of the person, thing, or
idea denoted by the subject. It is grammatically dependent upon the subject.
As a rule the predicate contains a finite
verb which may express tense, mood, voice, aspect, and sometimes person and
number. According to the structure and the meaning of the predicate we
distinguish two main types: the simple predicate and the compound predicate.
The simple predicate is expressed by a
finite verb in a simple or a compound tense form. It generally denotes an
action; sometimes, however, it denotes a state which is represented as an
action. There is a special kind of predicate expressed by a phraseological
unit, the so-called phraseological predicate.
The compound predicate consists of two
parts: (a) a finite verb and (b) some other part of speech: a noun, a pronoun,
an adjective, a verbal, etc. The second component is the significant part of
the predicate. The first part expresses the verbal categories of person,
number, tense, aspect, mood and voice; besides it has a certain lexical meaning
of its own. The compound predicate may be nominal or verbal.
The compound nominal predicate consists of
a link verb and a predicative (the latter is also called the nominal part of
The compound verbal predicate consists of a
modal verb (modal expression) or a verb expressing the beginning, repetition,
duration or cessation of the action, and an infinitive or a gerund.
There are also mixed types of predicates.
The object is a secondary part of the
sentence which completes or restricts the meaning of a verb or sometimes an
adjective, a word denoting state, or a noun. There are three kinds of object in
English: the direct object, the indirect object, and the cognate object (e.g.
to live a happy life).
The attribute is a secondary part of the
sentence which qualifies a noun, a pronoun, or any other part of speech that
has a nominal character. There is a special kind of attribute called apposition
which may be close or loose (detached).
The adverbial modifier is a secondary part
of the sentence which modifies a verb, an adjective or an adverb. There exist
adverbial modifiers of time, frequency, place and direction, attendant
circumstances, degree and measure, cause, result (consequence), comparison,
concession and purpose.
elements of the sentence are homogeneous members (two or more subjects,
predicates, etc.), specifying parts of the sentence (objects, attributes, adverbial
modifiers) and detached, or loose, parts of the sentence, i.e. those which
assume a certain grammatical and semantic independence. In spoken language they
are marked by intonation, pauses, and special stress; in written language they
are generally separated by commas or dashes.
Theme 8. THE SENTENCE (continued)
Point 1.2. Models of the sentence. The
notion of the syntactic paradigm. The word order in the sentence. Semantic and
syntactic characteristics of the sentence. The notion of predicative and
non-predicative symbols. Types of predicates. The notion of inclusive and
included predicates. The role semantics of the sentence. The notion of
(a) The sentence as a unit of information
in the speech succession sets off its own generalized model, a typical
construction which stands behind the concrete lexico-semantic composition of
the utterance bound to its context. This model is a combination of two
essential signemic functions of the sentence: the nominative and the
predicative. However, different types of sentences have their own
characteristic models that are observed in most cases. Thus we may speak of a
specific model of a declarative sentence (a fixed word order, a falling
intonation), an interrogative sentence (structural or structural and
morphological changes, a rising or/and falling intonation), a complex sentence,
There are some general
principles of constructing syntactic paradigms of predicative functions, with a
differentiation between syntactic paradigms of the ‘normal’ type and the
The normal paradigm of a sentence should
include all forms of its changing, e.g. This is true. – This isn’t true. – Is
this true? – This is true, isn’t it?, etc.
The actual paradigm should be based upon a
real sentence of the text, e.g. She couldn’t hear it. – Couldn’t she hear it? –
She couldn’t have heard it. – It couldn’t be heard by her., etc.
Arrangement, or order
of words is of especially great importance in such languages as English whose
inflexion is comparatively scarce and syntactic relations are chiefly expressed
by analytical means. Words have to be arranged in a definite order, in a
definite succession to express such syntactic relations as, say, attributive,
predicative, subject-object relations. It is preferable to distinguish between
two sets of phenomena within a sentence:
(1)normal order, which may be either the
order “subject-predicate”, as in most declarative sentences, or
“predicate-subject”, as in most interrogative and in some declarative sentences
(There are many people in the room. There came a thunderstorm.)
(2)inverted order, or inversion, which may
be the order “predicate-subject” in a special type of a declarative sentence
(Only at sunset did I leave the house.) or “subject-predicate” in a special
type of a sentence characterized in general by the order “predicate-subject”
(the latter is a very rare phenomenon indeed).
consideration the two-aspective character of the sentence as a signemic unit of
language, predication should be interpreted not simply as referring the content
of the sentence to reality, but as referring the nominative content of the
sentence to reality. It is this interpretation of the semantico-functional nature
of predication that discloses, in one and the same generalized presentation,
both the unity of the two identified aspects of the sentence, and also their
different, though mutually complementary meaningful roles.
(e) The predicate expresses two variants of
- the meaning inherent in the predicate as
a definite part of the sentence, i.e. the meaning of the predicative signal;
- the meanings connected with the
grammatical categories of a finite verb ( the meanings of mood and tense, voice,
person and number), i.e. the meanings of non-predicative signals.
There are two basic
types of predicates: the verbal predicate and the nominal predicate. Some
linguists set off a third type of predicates – the phraseological predicate.
All the three types have been mentioned and described in detail earlier, in the
lecture dealing with the predicate.
predicates consisting of only finite verbs, there may be inclusive and included
Inclusive predicates are such structures
which contain a finite verb and some other parts of speech, e.g. We are
sitting. – She had breakfast. – He is supposed to have arrived.
Included predicates are parts of larger
structures, e.g. There appeared a young girl in the doorway.
Semantic units that
represent language identification of the participants of a situation are called
semantic roles. The main bearers of role meanings are nominal groups. Semantic
roles, or rather a definite set of them, together with the action expressed by
a verb, reflect the language semantic model of a non-language situation. A set
of semantic roles which is implied by the lexico-semantic contents of a verb,
and which allows for an adequate reflection of the situation, comprises the
role structure of the verb. For instance, in the sentence ‘They showed him the
jewels’ the role structure of the verb ‘to show’ includes the agent, the object
of the action, and the object to which the action is directed. Thus role
structures reflect the nature of objective relations between things (or
persons) in reality.
Presupposition is a
judgement drawn from the sentence where it is present in a covert form (cf. He
came late. – Even he came late./here the word ‘even’ reflects the
presupposition which may be worded as ‘it is unexpected’/).
Some scholars are of the opinion that
presupposition is a condition (or conditions) that should be fulfilled before
the sentence can be used in any communicative function (cf. Please, open the
door./there must be some door, and it must be closed/).
Anyway, presupposition is characterized by
three essential factors:
- its drawability (ambiguity);
- its insensitiveness to negation (cf. Even
he came late. – Even he did not come late./the sentences are quite different in
meaning but the presupposition is the same: contrary to my expectations/);
- its pragmatic contents (it shows the
Point 2. Actual division of the sentence.
Methods of identification of the theme and the rheme.
Alongside of the
traditional nominative division of the sentence, the idea of the so-called
‘actual division’ of the sentence has been put forward in theoretical
linguistics. The purpose of the actual division of the sentence, called also
the ‘functional sentence perspective’ (FSP), is to reveal the correlative
significance of the sentence parts from the point of view of their actual
informative role in an utterance, i.e. from the point of view of the immediate
semantic contribution they make to the total information conveyed by the
sentence in the context of connected speech. In other words, the actual
division of the sentence in fact exposes its informative perspective.
The main components of
the actual division of the sentence are the theme (T) and the rheme (R). The
theme (from the Greek ‘the’ – ‘to set’, ‘to establish’) expresses the starting
point of the communication, i.e. it denotes an object or a phenomenon about
which something is reported. The rheme (from the Greek ‘rhe’ – ‘to say’, ‘to
tell’) expresses the basic informative part of the communication, its
contextually relevant center. Between the theme and the rheme are positioned
intermediary, transitional parts of the actual division of various degrees of
informative value (these parts are sometimes called ‘transition’). The theme
and the rheme of the actual division of the sentence may or may not coincide
with the subject and the predicate, respectively.
E.g. They obeyed. Here is your book.
T R T R
Point 3. The main semantic types of
sentences. Existential sentences. Qualifying sentences. Identifying sentences
classification of simple sentences should be effected at least on the three
bases: first, on the basis of the subject categorical meanings; second, on the
basis of the predicate categorical meanings; third, on the basis of the
Reflecting the categories of the subject,
simple sentences are divided into personal and impersonal. The further division
of the personal sentences is into human and non-human; human – into definite
and indefinite; non-human – into animate and inanimate. The further essential
division of impersonal sentences is into factual (It rains; It’s 5 o’clock) and
perceptional (It smells of hay here).
Reflecting the categories of the predicate,
simple sentences are divided into process-featuring (‘verbal’) and, in the
broad sense, substance-featuring (‘nominal’). Among the process-featuring
sentences actional and statal ones are to be discriminated (The window is
opening. – The window is glistening in the sun.); among the substance-featuring
sentences factual and perceptional ones are to be discriminated (The sea is
rough. – The place seems quiet.).
Finally, reflecting the subject-object
relation, simple sentences should be divided into subjective (John lives in
London.), objective (John reads a book.) and neutral or ‘potentially’ objective
(John reads.), capable of implying both the transitive action of the syntactic
person and the syntactic person’s intransitive characteristic.
On the other hand, taking into account
general semantics of sentences, we may classify them into existential,
qualifying, identifying, etc.
express the general idea of something or somebody existing by means of various
lexico-semantic facilities, of which the predicate is the signemic center.
Qualifying sentences lay
the main stress on qualifying some fact of reality conveyed in speech, whether
it is substance, action or state, etc.
mostly serve to identify various phenomena with each other to express the idea
more clearly and adequately.
Theme 8. THE SENTENCE (continued).
Point 4. Communicative types of sentences.
In accord with the purpose of communication
three cardinal sentence-types have long been recognized in linguistic
tradition: first, the declarative sentence; second, the imperative (inductive)
sentence; third, the interrogative sentence.
The declarative sentence expresses a
statement, either affirmative or negative, and as such stands in systemic
syntagmatic correlation with listener’s responding signals of attention, of
appraisal (including agreement or disagreement), or of fellow-feeling.
The imperative sentence expresses
inducement, either affirmative or negative. That is, it urges the listener, in
the form of request or command, to perform or not to perform a certain action.
As such, the imperative sentence is situationally connected with the
corresponding ‘action response’, and lingually is systemically correlated with
a verbal response showing that the inducement is either complied with, or else
The interrogative sentence expresses a
question, i.e. a request for information wanted by the speaker from the
listener. It is naturally connected with the answer, forming together with it a
question-answer dialogue unity.
Point 5. Nominative and modal-communicative
aspects of the sentence. Modus and dictum.
The nominative aspect
of the sentence is a major functional and lingual aspect of speech. Nomination
effects naming of sentential events or situations whereas modal-communicative
aspects correlate the named events or situations with reality, considering the
purpose of communication.
The modal aspect is versatile.
Structurally, the basic modal aspect is the one implied by the mood of the
verb-predicate. It is inherent in every sentence. Even verbless sentences are
thought of as belonging to some kind of aspect. The basic modal aspect presents
the described as real or unreal. Another modal layer of meanings, conveyed by
modal words and constructions, serves to enhance or diminish the general modal
meaning of the sentence, and brings in a subjective flavour, showing the
author’s attitude clearly and distinctly.
Modus (Latin –
‘measure’, ‘method’) denotes any means of reporting some communication in
speech, comprising a great variety of lexico-grammatical signals.
Dictum (from the Latin ‘dicto’ – ‘I
dictate’, ‘I order’) denotes any piece of communication within the framework of
Point 6. Pragmatic aspects of the sentence.
The correlation of semantics and pragmatics of the sentence.
(a) Pragmatic syntax studies the social
designation of language, i.e. the usage of sentences in speech activity. The
sentence is a concentration of functional peculiarities of language and speech.
Studying sentence pragmatics comprises an important sphere of language knowledge,
since language literacy presupposes not only an ability to construct sentences
(language competence) but also an ability to use them correctly in acts of
speech to achieve the desired communicative-functional result (communicative
Pragmatic aspects of the sentence include
the following notions:
- communicative intention, which is,
inherent in the sentence, directiveness to solving a definite lingual problem
- locution, which is the use of cognitive
contents of the sentence, without any communicative purpose;
- illocution, which is an intonational
framing of a communicative intention;
- perlocution, which is the effect of an
act of speech.
(b) Since the contents of sentences,
actualized in acts of speech, is not limited to lexico-grammatical in formation
only, but always includes communicative-intentional, or pragmatic, contents,
this semantic peculiarity is of great importance. Semantically identical
sentences may have various illocutionary points, e.g. the sentence ‘I’ll watch
you’ may be used as a statement, a promise, a menace, an inquiry, etc. However,
there are cases when the semantics of the sentence predetermines its
pragmatics, e.g. the sentence ‘The train will arrive in time’ cannot mean a
promise, for the reality of the action does not depend on the speaker.
Point 7. The sentence and the speech act.
Pragmatic transposition of the sentence.
(a) The definition of the sentence implies
its structural framing, as well as lexico-grammatical, semantic and pragmatic
features. We may also say that the sentence is a unit of speech. On the other
hand, the speech act is any piece of communication, which means that it may be
both smaller and larger than the sentence, or it may coincide with the
sentence, in volume.
(b) The loose character of the relations
between the form and contents, inherent in language as a whole, also shows
through in pragmatics. A sentence belonging to a certain pragmatic type by its
formal features, in speech realization may acquire the illocutionary power of
the sentences belonging to another type. For example, an interrogative in form
and contents sentence may have the illocutionary power of inducement: Are you
still here? (=Go away at once!). Uttering this sentence, the speaker does not
expect any reply from the listener. In such cases it is commonplace to speak of
‘indirect’ acts of speech.
Point 8. Structural and syntactic types of
sentences. Simple sentences (one-member and two-member sentences). Composite
sentences (compound and complex sentences). Complete and elliptical sentences.
Types of nominalization of the English sentence.
(a) According to their structure all
sentences are divided into simple and composite sentences.
(b) Simple sentences are divided into
two-member and one-member sentences.
A two-member sentence has two members – a
subject and a predicate. If one of them is missing it can be easily understood
from the context.
A one-member sentence is a sentence having
only one member which is neither the subject nor the predicate. This does not
mean, however, that the other member is missing, for the one member makes the
One-member sentences are generally used in
descriptions and in emotional speech.
If the main part of a one-member sentence
is expressed by a noun, the sentence is called nominal. The noun may be
modified by attributes.
E.g. Dusk – of a summer night. (Dreiser)
Freedom! Bells ringing out, flowers, kisses,
The main part of a one-member sentence is
often expressed by an infinitive.
E.g. To die out there – lonely, wanting
them, wanting home! (Galsworthy)
Simple sentences, both two-member and
one-member, can be unextended and extended. A sentence consisting only of the
primary or principal parts is called an unextended sentence.
An extended sentence is a sentence
consisting of the subject, the predicate and one or more secondary parts
(objects, attributes, or adverbial modifiers).
(c) The composite sentence, as different
from the simple sentence, is formed by two or more predicative lines. Being a
polypredicative construction, it expresses a complicated act of thought, i.e.
an act of mental activity which falls into two or more intellectual efforts
closely combined with one another. In terms of situations and events this means
that the composite sentence reflects two or more elementary situational events
viewed as making up a unity; the constitutive connections of the events are
expressed by the constitutive connections of the predicative lines of the
sentence, i.e. by the sentential polypredication.
Each predicative unit in a composite
sentence makes up a clause in it, so that a clause as part of a composite
sentence corresponds to a separate sentence as part of a contextual sequence.
According to the traditional view, all
composite sentences are to be classified into compound sentences (coordinating
their clauses) and complex sentences (subordinating their clauses), syndetic or
asyndetic types of clause connection being specifically displayed with both
(d) A two-member sentence may be complete
or incomplete. It is complete when it has a subject and a predicate.
It is incomplete when one of the principal
parts or both of them are missing, but can be easily understood from the
context. Such sentences are called elliptical and are mostly used in colloquial
speech and especially in dialogue.
Theme 8. THE SENTENCE (continued).
(e) The general definition of nominalizing
transformations in English reads as follows: the nominalizing transformations
are such transformations as ‘nominalize a sentence, i.e. change to a form that
can appear in one of the N-phrases positions of another sentence’.
The seagull shrieked the shriek(ing) of the seagull
loves pictures his love for pictures
man has a son the man’s son
The N-transforms show that the relations of
the sentences from which they are derived are preserved in the N-phrases: in
the first sentence these were the relations of ‘actor – action’, in the second
‘actor – action – thing acted upon’, and in the third – the relations of
possession. These relations constitute the meaning of the N-transforms.
Thus we must conclude that the definition
of nominalization given above is not exhaustive, and we must add to it the
following: ‘…and keep the same relations between their form classes that
characterize the sentences from which they are derived’.
We may distinguish three degrees of nominalization.
(1) The slightest degree when the only
trait of nominalization is the capability of standing in the NP position
E.g. What he brought is here.
(2) The lower degree when transforms
capable of standing in the NP position still have a V, but it is non-finite
E.g. His managing the bank was a
(3) The higher degree of nominalization, N
structures without V.
E.g. Their love for children was
Theme 9. COMPOSITE SENTENCES.
Point 1. Grammatical organization,
structure and semantics of the compound sentence.
A compound sentence is a sentence which
consists of two or more clauses coordinated with each other. A clause is part
of a sentence which has a subject and a predicate of its own.
In a compound sentence the clauses may be
(a) syndetically, i.e. by means of
coordinating conjunctions (and, or, else, but, etc.) or conjunctive adverbs
(otherwise, however, nevertheless, yet, etc.);
(b) asyndetically, i.e. without a conjunction
or conjunctive adverb.
We can distinguish the following types of
1. Copulative coordination, expressed by
the conjunctions ‘and, nor, neither…nor, not only…but (also)’. With the help of
these conjunctions the statement expressed in the clause is simply added to
that expressed in another.
2. Disjunctive coordination, expressed by
the conjunctions ‘or, else, or else, either…or’, and the conjunctive adverb
‘otherwise’. By these a choice is offered between the statements expressed in
3. Adversative coordination, expressed by
the conjunctions ‘but, while, whereas’ and the conjunctive adverbs
‘nevertheless, still, yet’. These are conjunctions and adverbs connecting two
clauses contrasted in meaning.
4. Causative-consecutive coordination,
expressed by the conjunctions ‘for, so’ and the conjunctive adverbs ‘therefore,
accordingly, consequently, hence’. ‘For’ introduces coordinate clauses
explaining the preceding statement. ‘Therefore, so, consequently, hence,
accordingly’ introduce coordinate clauses denoting cause, consequence and
Point 2. Classification of complex
sentences. Functional transpositions of subordinate clauses.
(a) A complex sentence consists of a
principal clause and one or more subordinate clauses. This definition is true,
however, only in a general sense. In an exact sense there is often no principal
clause; this is the case with complex sentences containing a subject clause or
a predicative clause.
Clauses in a complex sentence may be linked
in two ways:
1. Syndetically, i.e. by means of
subordinating conjunctions or connectives. There is a difference between a
conjunction and a connective. A conjunction only serves as a formal element
connecting separate clauses, whereas a connective serves as a connecting link
and has at the same time a syntactic function in the subordinate clause it
2. Asyndetically, i.e. without a
conjunction or connective.
A subordinate clause may follow, precede,
or interrupt the principal clause.
A complex sentence may contain two or more
homogeneous clauses coordinated with each other.
A subordinate clause may be subordinated to
the principal clause or to another subordinate clause. Accordingly we
distinguish subordinate clauses of the first, second, third, etc. degree of
According to their grammatical function
subordinate clauses are divided into subject, predicative, attributive, object,
and adverbial clauses.
Subject clauses perform the function of
subject to the predicate of the sentence.
Predicative clauses perform the function of
Object clauses perform the function of an
object to the predicate-verb of the principal clause. An object clause may also
refer to a non-finite form of the verb, to an adjective, or to a word belonging
to the part of speech expressing state.
Attributive clauses serve as an attribute
to a noun (pronoun) in the principal clause. This noun or pronoun is called the
antecedent of the clause. According to their meaning and the way they are
connected with the principal clause attributive clauses are divided into
relative and appositive ones.
Attributive relative clauses qualify the
antecedent, whereas attributive appositive clauses disclose its meaning.
Attributive relative clauses can be
restrictive and non-restrictive or descriptive.
1. An attributive relative restrictive
clause restricts the meaning of the antecedent. It cannot be removed without
destroying the meaning of the sentence.
2. An attributive relative non-restrictive
clause does not restrict the meaning of the antecedent; it gives some
additional information about it.
A variant of the attributive non-restrictive
clause is the continuative clause, whose antecedent is not one word but a whole
E.g. He hasn’t helped her, which is a
Attributive appositive clauses disclose the
meaning of the antecedent, which is expressed by an abstract noun.
An adverbial clause performs the function
of an adverbial modifier. It can modify a verb, an adjective or an adverb in
the principal clause.
According to their meaning we distinguish
the following kinds of adverbial clauses: adverbial clauses of time, place,
cause (reason), purpose, condition, concession, result, manner, and comparison.
(b) Subordinate clauses may be substituted
by various syntactic structures, both complex and simple, while retaining the
semantic and modal features of the kernel structures. The transforms,
therefore, may be represented by word combinations, participial, gerundial, and
Point 3. Neutralization of the opposition
There are cases when the difference between
coordinate and subordinate clauses is so small that it is rather hard to
discriminate between them with respect to both semantics and structure.
For example, cause, consequence and result
may be expressed by either coordinate or subordinate clauses:
There was something wrong with him, for he
looked grave and ill. (coordinate)
He is suspicious and jealous for fear
anyone might oust him. (subordinate)
The phenomenon of neutralization of this
kind of opposition is especially evident in attributive continuative clauses,
Drive-in cinemas are very popular in the
USA, which is not the case with Ukraine.
Point 4. Problems of implicit
Implicit nominalization refers to the
structures where nominalization is implied but is not evident. It is disclosed
only after respective transformations, e.g.
What he intends to do is very reasonable. –
His intention is very reasonable.
Their fault was that they failed to report
it. – Their fault was their failure to report it.
Theme 10. THE SUPRAPHRASAL UNITY AND THE
Point 1. The notion of the text
The general idea of a sequence of sentences
forming a text includes two different notions. On the one hand, it presupposes
a succession of spoken or written utterances irrespective of their forming or
not forming a coherent semantic complex. On the other hand, it implies a
strictly topical stretch of talk, i.e. a continual succession of sentences
centering on a common informative purpose. It is this latter understanding of
the text that is syntactically relevant. It is in this latter sense that the
text can be interpreted as a lingual element with its two distinguishing
features: first, semantic (topical) unity; second, semantico-syntactic
A text may have the form of a dialogue, or
a monologue, or both, but the two forms have a common feature: a communicative
Point 2. The main categories of the text.
As a result of comparing the sentence with
the supersentential constituents (or supraphrasal unities) of the text, the
notion of the elementary text unit called the ‘dicteme’ is developed.
The supraphrasal unity, sometimes also
called the ‘cumuleme’ is an immediate accumulation of sentences of the
The dicteme is an elementary unit of text
topicalization, which is formed by sentences. It may coincide in volume with a
sentence, a supraphrasal unity, or a paragraph.
Point 3. The problem of text grammar and
The text has been recently included in the
sphere of grammatical description of the most generalized aspects of its form
and semantics. Grammar studies the text from the point of view of its formation
by lingual means.
Text stylistics should be differentiated
from the literary term in the sense that the text stylization is a combination
of stylistic features which are natural and vital for any kind of speech.