93180

The English verb, its basic categories

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Иностранные языки, филология и лингвистика

The general categorial meaning of the verb is process presented dynamically i.e. developed in time. The main syntactical functions and combinability differ with the finite and non- finite verbs. Finite forms perform the function of the predicate, non-finite forms alongside this function can perform the function of the adverbial modifier...

Английский

2015-08-28

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7 чел.

The English verb, its basic categories.

The verb form identifies the type of connection between the situation named in the utterance and the reality.

Verb forms make up two distinct classes: finites and non-finites, also called verbals, verbids. Finites serve to express a primary predication, i.e. they ‘tie’ the situation described by a proposition to the context. Non-finites serve to express a secondary predication. The non-finite forms of the verb combine the characteristics of the verb with the characteristics of other parts of speech. The English verbids include four forms: the infinitive, the gerund, the present participle and the past participle.

The general categorial meaning of the verb is process presented dynamically i.e. developed in time. The main syntactical functions and combinability differ with the finite and non- finite verbs. Finite forms perform the function of the predicate, non-finite forms alongside this function can perform the function of the adverbial modifier, the object, the subject and even the attribute

Traditionally we speak about the following grammatical categories of verbs. 

  1.  The Category of Person. Only the third person present tense singular form expresses person grammatically; therefore, the verb forms are obligatorily associated with personal pronouns. Modal verbs, with the exception of shall/should and will/would, do not show person grammatically. The verb be is more grammaticalized: it has two grammaticalized persons in the singular – first and third person – and no grammaticalized persons in the plural. In the past tense, the verb be does not distinguish person. To sum up, the category of person is represented in English by the two member opposition: third person singular vs. non-third person singular.
  2.  The Category of Number shows whether the process is associated with one doer or with more than one doer. The category of number is a two-member opposition: singular and plural. The categories of person and number are heavily relied on the subject: it is the subject that is generally responsible for the expression of person and number in English.
  3.  The meaning of the category of Tense is the relation of the action expressed by a finite verb to the moment of speaking. In traditional linguistics grammatical time is often represented as a three-form category consisting of the “linear” past, present and future forms. Present denotes coincidence, past denotes a prior action, future denotes a posterior action which follows the moment of speaking.
  4.  The Category of Aspect is traditionally treated as represented by the opposition of continuous durative, progressive aspect and non-continuous indefinite, non-durative, recurrant aspect. Some linguists refer to the category of aspect the category of time correlation alongside the category of development. The realization of the category of aspect is closely connected with the lexical meaning of verbs. There are some verbs in English that do not normally occur with progressive aspect, even in those contexts in which the majority of verbs necessarily take the progressive form. Among the so-called ‘non-progressive’ verbs are think, understand, know, hate, love, see, taste, feel, possess, own, etc.
  5.  The Category of Time denotes correlation of the action expressed by the finite verb to some moment in the past, present or future. This category is based on the opposition “perfect vs. non-perfect”. Perfect forms denote priority to the moment in the past, present or future. Non-perfect forms denote simultaneity with a moment in the past, present of future.
  6.  The Category of Mood expresses the relation of nominative content of the sentence towards reality. The category of mood is represented by two oppositions: the indicative mood and the oblique mood. The indicative mood is the basic mood of the verb. Morphologically it is the most developed system. Semantically, it is a fact mood; it is the least subjective of all the moods. The oblique mood, which includes the traditional imperative and the subjunctive mood, represents a process as a non-fact, i.e. as something imaginary, desirable, problematic, contrary to reality. The imperative variety of the oblique mood is morphologically the least developed mood: it is only expressed by the bare infinitive form.
  7.  The Category of Voice reflects the objective relations between the action itself and the subject or object of the action: The category of voice is realized through the opposition Active voice :: Passive voice. Three types of passive constructions can be differentiated: 1) direct primary passive; 2) indirect secondary passive; 3) prepositional tertiary passive. The realization of the voice category is restricted because of the implicit grammatical meaning of transitivity/intransitivity. In accordance with this meaning, all English verbs should fall into transitive and intransitive.

The verb is the most complex part of speech due to the role it performs in the expression of the predicative function of the sentence.


 

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