Студопедия — Non-finite forms of the verb in English and Ukrainian languages
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Non-finite forms of the verb in English and Ukrainian languages






 

1. Non-finite forms of the verb: general characteristics

Besides personal or finite forms of the verb that perform in the sentence the function of simple predicate in both languages there are also the so-called non-finite forms of the verb (неособові форми дієслова). The system of non-finite forms (also called verbals or verbids) of Ukrainian and English verbs differs. The only common verbal form in these systems is the Infinitive (the indefinite form of the verb). The English language besides possesses a peculiar verbal form – the Gerund, which does not have its counterpart in Ukrainian. The third verbal form of the English language – Participle (in Ukrainian grammars rendered correspondingly as – дієприкметник) has a number of such qualities and functions that correspond in Ukrainian to two non-finite verb forms – дієприкметник and дієприслівник [5; 96].

The verbids have certain features of their own distinguishing them from the finite verb.

1. Their lexico-grammatical meaning is of dual nature. The verbal meaning of “action, process” is presented as some kind of “substance” (for gerunds, infinitives) or “quality” (for participles).

The lexico-grammatical meaning of verbids, though essentially that of the verb (denoting actions) has something of the lexico-grammatical meanings of other parts of speech. The gerund, for instance, denotes an action partially treated as a substance. Thus, in the sentence Going there put an end to her anxiety the gerund going, though denoting an action, presents it at the same time as a substance which produced the act of putting an end to something. The participle denotes a “qualifying action” that is an action as a property of some substance (like an adjective) or a circumstance of another action (like an adverb), e.g.: He looked at his son with twinkling eyes. “Let me do it”, he said kneeling beside her.

2. Verbals have peculiar morphemes, e.g. in English: -ing (gerund and participle I), -ed, -en (participle II), to (infinitive); in Ukrainian -ти (for infinitives), -ий (for participles).

The mentioned morphemes of English verbids are very peculiar. They are not lexical or lexico-grammatical morphemes because they do not characterize all the words of the verb lexeme. Compare, for instance, the suffix -ize and -ing in real ize s, has real ize d, to real ize, real iz ing, being real ize d. The suffix -ize is found in every word of the lexeme, the suffix -ing only in some words.

The -ing morpheme differs from grammatical morphemes as well. Grammatical morphemes are used to form grammatical opposemes. Compare: ask s – ask edwill ask. The suffix -ing of the gerund is not used to form any grammatical opposemes. It serves to oppose all the gerunds to all the non-gerunds. Thus, it is a peculiar group-suffix within the verb-lexeme.

The same could be said about the homonymous -ing suffix of the participle but with two additional remarks.

a) The participial -ing morpheme does not unite all the system of the participle. The so-called participle II (written, asked) has different suffixes.

b) Since Participle I is used to form analytical “continuous aspect” grammemes, the -ing suffix of the participle has become a grammatical morpheme of the finite verb as well. The suffixes of Participle II are not group suffixes because Participle II is a one word-system. In all other respects they resemble the participial -ing suffix. They are used as grammatical morphemes participating in the formation of “passive voice” and “perfect tense” grammemes.

Of great interest is the “to” word-morpheme of the infinitive. It is a word-morpheme because it has only the form of a separate word, but not the content, and it functions as part of a word. It is a group morpheme (like -ing), but unlike the participial -ing it is not used as a grammatical morpheme. Compare: shall come, not shall * to come [24; 183–185].

3. There is duality in verbids’ combinability. They form connections with adverbs, nouns, pronouns (denoting objects of action) like finite verbs, and with finite verbs like nouns or adverbs.

The gerund, for example, may be preceded by a preposition and a possessive pronoun, like a noun, e.g.: One could see that without his even speaking.

The participle is regularly connected with nouns, like adjectives, and with verbs, like adverbs, e.g.: his smiling eyes; smiling slyly, he stretched out his hand.

4. Their syntactical functions are quite different from those of the finite verb. They are rarely used as predicates, but they are used in almost any other function in the sentence.

One of the peculiarities of English verbids is their being used as secondary predicates. In the sentence I saw them dancing two actions are named as well as two doers of those actions. But there is a great difference between I saw and them dancing. I saw is more or less independent. It makes a predication that is the core of the sentence or the sentence itself. Them dancing can exist only in a sentence where there is predication (therefore it is called “secondary”). The tense and mood relations of the finite verb are then reflected in the verbid and it becomes a secondary predicate, and combinations like them dancing become secondary predications (called “nexuses” by the prominent English grammarian Otto Jespersen, who was one of the first to draw attention to this kind of a grammar phenomenon). The phenomenon of “secondary predication” constructions is a peculiar feature of the English language not found in Ukrainian.

Therefore, there can be noticed a lot of differences both in qualities and in usage of verbals in both contrasted languages.

 







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