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The categories of person and number of the verb.



The categories of person and number must be considered in close connection with each other, since in languages of the IndoEuropean family they are expressed simultaneously, i. e. a morpheme expressing person also expresses number, e. g. in Latin the morpheme -nt in such forms as amant, habent, legunt, amabant, habebunt, legerunt, etc., expresses simultaneously the 3rd person and the plural number. We shall, however, start by considering the meaning of each of these categories, and then proceed to the analysis of their state in Modern English.

The category of person in verbs is represented by the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person, and it expresses the relation between the speaker, the person or persons addressed, and other persons and things. The 1st person, of course, expresses the speaker or a group of which the speaker makes a part; the 2nd person, the person or persons spoken to, and the 3rd, that person or thing (or those persons or things) which are neither the speaker nor the person (s) spoken to.

The category of number expresses the quantity of the subjects (one or more than one). However, this system does not hold good for the Modern English verb, and this for two reasons. First, there is no distinction of persons in the plural number. Thus, the form live may, within the plural -number, be connected with a subject of any person (1st, 2nd, or 3rd). Second, there is no distinction of numbers in the 1st or 2nd person. Thus, the form live in these persons may refer both to one and to more than one subject.

So what we actually find in the Modern English verb is this:

3rd person singular — lives

All the rest — live

If we analyse this state of things in the Modern English verb in exact terms we shall reach the following conclusion. The opposition lives /live, or, in general terms, stem + s / stem + 0, expresses the relation: 3rd person singular/any person of both numbers except 3rd person singular.

It is quite clear that the first item of the opposition is marked both in meaning (3rd person sing.) and in form (-s), whereas the second item is unmarked both in meaning (everything except the 3rd person sing.) and in form (zero-inflection). We ought to add that the category of mood is implied in this opposition, the form lives belonging to the indicative mood only, whereas live may also be any person of both numbers in the subjunctive mood (as far as we recognize its existence at all). Another consequence of this analysis is, that the -s-inflection in verbs conveys 4 meanings: 1) 3rd person, 2) singular number, 3) present tense, 4) indicative mood. The present tense is of course characterized by other signs as well: by the absence of the -d (or -t) morpheme denoting the past tense in regular verbs, and by alternation of the root vowel (e. g. [i] in drinks as against [ae] in drank) in irregular verbs. But in verbs of the type put the -s is the only distinctive sign of the present.

The ending -s having four meanings to express simultaneously is of course a synthetic feature, standing rather by itself in the general structure of Modern English. Some verbs do not fit into the system of person and number described above and they must be mentioned separately both in a practical study of-the language and in theoretical analysis. We will limit ourselves to the verb can (the verbs may, shall, and some others sharing some of its features) and the verb be, which stands quite apart and, of course, is very widely used. The verb can, as is well known, takes no -s-inflection parallel to such forms as lives, writes, takes, etc. Hence it follows that this verb has no category of person or number at all.

The verb be has a system of its own both in the present indicative and in the past. Its system in the present indicative is as follows: 1st person singular — am; 3rd person singular — is; 2nd person (without distinction of number) –are. Plural (without distinction of person) - are

In the past tense the system is: 1st and 3rd person singular — was; 2nd person (without distinction of number) –were. Plural (without distinction of person)- were.

In analysing the system of person and number we have so far bypassed the forms of the type livest, takest, livedst, tookest. These forms are associated with the personal pronoun thou .and are only used in religions and occasionally in poetical texts and among Quakers. As they stand outside the received grammatical system we can not go into details concerning them. Suffice it to say that with these forms the category of number appears within the category of the 2nd person and the whole system of person and number (including the past tense) must be presented in a different shape.

2) 30) 8.4. The category of voice.

There are various approaches to defining voice. Ильиш points out 2 main approaches to defining voice.

According to the 1stthe category of voice expresses the relation between the subject and the action, and according to the 2ndone, the category of voice expresses the relation between the subject and the object of the action. Those definitions of voice are more widely accepted as which indicate the direction of an action in respect of the subject => 1st approach (by Ильиш). If the subject of the sentence is the doer of the action, they say that the action comes from it. If the subject of the sentence is the recipient (or the object) of the action, they say the action comes to it. 1st case – Active voice, 2nd case – Passive voice. The category of voice can be analyzed according to the oppositional theory: It’s the opposition of active form of the verb and the passive form of the verb. The marked member (strong) is Passive voice –it has a marker, the discontinuous morpheme be + -en in symbolic denotation.

The number of voices is a controversial problem, since some linguists single out 3 more voices in addition to Active and Passive They are reflexive, reciprocal, and middle.

The reflexive voice is found in “I will shave (myself) in no time. I will wash in no time”. The direction of the action in the examples is different from that of the Active Voice since the action is performed on the subject himself. Some linguists say it comes from subject and back to it. This kind of grammatical meaning is called reflexive. It can be rendered explicitly, with the help of reflexive pronouns, or implicitly as in the 2nd example. The trouble is that the reflexive meaning is not expressed by the form of the verb since the verb is in the active form. Ильиш says that in order to acknowledge the existence of the reflexive voice it’s not necessary to prove that the reflexive pronoun used in it is an auxiliary word, not a direct object. However, Ильиш doesn’t recognize the existence of the reflexive voice, he leaves the question open.

The reciprocal voice is found in sentences like “Nelly and Chris divorced 2 years ago”, “The friends will be meeting tomorrow morning”. You can also use these sentences with reciprocal pronouns “each other / one another”, the direction of the action is distinct from that of the active voice. It can be described: “the action goes on between the elements of the subject” => this kind is called “reciprocal”. Can also be rendered explicitly (each other) or implicitly (without). Those who recognize it treat the reciprocal pronouns as voice auxiliaries. Yet most grammarians don’t recognize the existence of this voice because the specific grammatical meaning isn’t expressed by the form of the verb. There are 4 possible directions of the action: (1) from the subject, (2) to the subject, (3) from the subject and back to it, (4) between the elements of the subject. Only the first 2 directions are indicated by the form of the verb. Therefore they are recognized as members of the opposition within the category of voice – active and passive voices. The other 2 directions are indicated by lexical means – either by the lexical meaning of the verb, or reflexive and reciprocal pronouns.

The middle voice is found in: “The book is selling well”, “The door opened”, “The rule applies to all instances”. The transitive verbs are used specifically – the action expressed by them is confined to the subject as if it is going on on its own accord. Here the action goes on within the subject without affecting any object. Such instances differ from the active voice both in meaning and in the syntactical construction. However, Blokh says that such instances are lacking both in regularity and the outer form of expression. He describes these instances as cases of the neutralization of the voice opposition, so the strong member coincides with the weak member of the opposition but as to like “book is selling” – Blokh says it isn’t a typical case. The weak member doesn’t coincide but is located between the 2 members.

20)8.5. The category of mood of the verb.

The category of mood is the most controversial. It shows the relation between the action expressed by the verb and reality as represented by the speaker. The universally recognized division of moods – those that represent the action as real and those that represent it as unreal (mood is only one of ways of expressing modality; other means: modal verbs, modal words, intonation and standardization). Different linguists distinguish a different number of moods. They distinguish from 2 to 16 moods: Deutschbein – 16, Blokh – 2. The cat-ry of mood is built on 2 forms – the forms of reality, i.e. the indicative mood, contrasted to forms of unreality – the subjunctive mood. It’s important to remember that the difference in form shows there’s the time retrospective shift in the subjunctive: I wish she were here (present action), I wish she had been there (past action, not priority). In traditional grammar 3 moods are distinguished: the indicative, the imperative, the subjunctive.

3)The indicative shows that the speaker represents the action as an actual fact. This mood is universally recognized. The imperative form of the verb is traditionally referred to what is called the imperative mood, it’s used to express the modal meaning of urge. In its formal characteristics it coincides with the infinitive stem. The emphatic (negative) forms are analytical: Do go there. The imperative has only 1 person, the 2nd person, though Ilyish says we can’t speak of it as there is no opposition, the imperative has no number, tense or aspect distinctions. It is mostly used in 1-member sentences without a subject, occasionally – in 2-member sentences: You mark my words. The imperative has no category of tense, yet it has a general temporal meaning of future or immediate. In modern linguistics not all linguists recognize the existence of imperative mood. They deny it the status of a mood as it has no specific morphological characteristics of its own. Ильиш points out that in form it coincides with the infinitive. Blokh says that it coincides in meaning + in form with the spective mood (a variety of the subjunctive mood). The spective mood is the mood of attitudes which expresses suggestion, recommendation, and inducement. And they all are the meanings of the imperative. Blokh uses the method of equivalent transformations, e.g. “Be off” doesn’t differ from “I demand that you be off” (subjunctive mood) in meaning and structure. Even emphatic imperative forms – “Do be careful with the papers” / “My request is that you do be careful with the papers”. Blokh believes the imperative forms are a variety of the spective mood.

26)The problem of the system of obligue moods. The main principal is the existence of different heterogeneous and versatile forms of unreality. In Modern English there exist a great variety of forms expressing unreality that has given rise to various interpretations of these forms and different classifications.

The point of disagreement boils down to the following: the number of Oblique moods and what these moods should be called and the principles of classification.

In drawing up a classification of moods you can proceed from form or from meaning or from both.

The main problem concerning the classification of Oblique Moods is the existence of different means of expressing an unreal action.

Modern English has retained traces of the Old English subjunctive mood. They are synthetic forms:

1) The use of the form were for all the persons.

Ex.: I wish she were here. Oh, if it were time to go.

The form was can easily replace were in MEnglish.

2) The use of the plain stem of the verb for all persons.

Ex.: He insisted that the goods deliver on time. He insisted that the hearing of the case be postponed (Subj. I - Smirnitski)

This form is characteristic of AmE. Ex.: So be it. God forgive you!

Alongside synthetic forms other forms are also used, they are treated as analytical, forms homonymous with the Past Indefinite and Past Perfect or modal phrases.

- Combination of should/would + the infinitive (at present there is a tending to use only would or 'd)

In Smirnitski’s classification it is called the Conditional mood. In this case there are 2 pairs of forms:

a) should/would + the Indefinite infinitive- the action refers the action to the future

b) should/would + the Perfect infinitive -to the past

Some linguists say that the form should/would + the Indefinite infinitive expresses a potential action, while should/would + the Perfect infinitiveunreal action (an impossible action).

Ex.: She would be glad to see him. She would have been glad to see him.

That is the only form which is used in opposition to the Indicative mood.

Ex.: He wants to see the letter at once. (The Indic. Mood)

He would want to see the letter at once. (This form is recognised as an analytical form, but Barkhudarov wouldn’t recognise it as such, because there is no discontinuous morpheme. Except of adverbial clauses of unreal condition).

The use Past Indef. + Past Perf. in adverbial clauses of unreal action.

Smirnitski calls this use – Subjunctive II. Yesperson calls it non-temporal use of Past Ind. and Past Perf. He uses the term “non-temporal” because the temporal meaning of Past Indef. and Past Perfect is different from the other actions. The use of Past Indef. refers the action to the present or future, Past Perf. refers the action to the past, instead of expressing priority as it usually does.

It shall also be noted that the use of the Past Indefinite and Past Perfect is structurally limited. We find this kind of use in adverbial clauses of condition and in simple sentences that have the structure of conditional clauses: If only they hadn 't come!

I wish you didn 't smoke in here.

I wish you hadn't promised.

Blokh called the same phenomenon as time retrospect shift.

Ivanova considers these forms to be the forms of the Subjunctive mood,homonymous with the forms of the Indicative mood.

An unreal action can be expressed by can/could, may/might, should with the Infinitive or Perfect Inf.

Smirnitski called this the Suppositional mood (analytical forms).

Most grammarians don’t share this view: these combinations can’t be looked upon as analytical forms, because of the theory of splitting functions: the auxilliary element of analytical forms should be devoid of lexical meaning. But these verbs (modal) aren’t devoid of lexical meaning; they are not interchangeable.

Ex.: Stay aside that she should/could/can/might see me.

They are free word combinations. They can’t build a separate mood. They are called modal phrases.

Various classifications of oblique moods. 1 The 1st classification is the classification suggested bу Smirnitski. То sum up, he proposed the system of 6 moods all in all. They are:

· the Indicative;

· the Imperative;

· Subjunctive I;

· Subjunctive II;

· Suppositional;

· Conditional.

In his classification he used the semantic approach, also took form into account.

Blokh’s classification

He consistently proceeds from form and meaning.

The category of Mood is based on a 2-member opposition: the Indicative Mood is opposed to the Subjunctive. The distinctive feature is the time-retrospect shift in the Subjunctive.

The Subjunctive Mood in Bлox's classification is described as an integral mood of unreality but it comprises 2 subsystems (or 2 sets of forms):

· The 1st comprises the forms of the present plane of the verb. That set of forms is called The Spective mood or the Mood of Attitudes.

· The 2stset of forms comprises the forms of the past plane of the verb and it is called the Conditional Moodor the mood of Appraising Casual-Conditional Relations of Process.

Each of these of 2 sets falls into 2 subsets, so that all in all we have 4 Subjunctive form types in Blokh's classification:

The Spective Mood falls into the Pure Spective and the Modal Spective.

(The Spective Mood expresses such attitudes as desire, supposition, speculation, suggestion, inducement and others.)

As to the Pure Spective. Ex.: So be it. Happen what may.

The imperative form also belongs to the Pure Spective.

As to the Modal Spective, here belong such forms as

may/might or should + Infinitive Ex.: .... Let us do smth.

The Spective is opposed to the Conditional which falls into 2 subsystems:

1) The Stipulative Conditional. It is described as past unposterior in structure by Блох. Here belong such constructions as:

Ex.: Oh, that he were here! should/would structures

It is contrasted to the

2) Consecutive Conditional as past posterior in structure.

We can find it in the principal clause of a complex sentence expressing a situation of unreal condition where the principal clause expresses the idea of its imagining consequence.

Ex.: If the peace-loving forces had not been on the alert, the civil war in that area would have resumed anew.

3. Henry Sweet's classification.

He uses the term 'Thought Mood" for Oblique Moods and broke this Thought Mood into subtypes depending on whether the forms synthetic or analytical.

The analytical form with the auxiliaries should/would is called the Conditional Mood. The combination of may/might with the Infinitive is called the Permissive Mood.

As for the forms of the Past Indefinite and Past Perfect he called them Tense Mood, because they are tense forms from the point of view of their structure and mood form from the point of view of their meaning.

Deutschbein proceeded from mostly meaning and has 16 moods.

Ilyish called this approach arbitrary and indefensible.

Barkhudarov does not recognize the existence of oblique Moods. In his reasoning he proceeds from form only. He rejects the idea that should/would + Infinitive is an analytical form because the second element, that is the Infinitive, can function independently. Besides there is no discontinuous morpheme.

As to the form of the Past Indefinite and the Past Perfect used to express unreality, he considers them forms of the indicative Mood used in specific syntactical environment.





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