The Category of Case and its Realisation in English and Ukrainian

Unlike the category of number, the category of case in present-day English has always been disputable. So was for some time the question of expressing case relations which has also remained for a longer time disputable. Some grammarians found in present-day English two cases (O. Jespersen, V. Yartseva, B. Rohovska, B. Khaimovich), others found in English four cases (G. Curme, M. Deutschbein), and still other grammarians were inclined to see in English five, six and more cases (J. Nesfield, F. Sonnenschein). The Russian grammarian G. N. Vorontsova recognised no cases in English at all, since the -'s sign she treated as a postpositive particle expressing possession. R. Quirk, S. Greenbaum and co-authors speak of common and genitive cases (-'s genitive and of-genitive). As to Ukrainian nouns they may have 6 or 7 marked singular and plural oppositions in the nominative, genitive, dative, accusative, instrumental, locative and vocative case, eg: хмара, хмари, хмарі, хмару, хмарою, (на) хмарі, хмаро (first decl.), vocative case; or in plural: степи, степів, степам, степи, степам, степами, (у) степах, степи (second decl., vocative case).

No identity exists in the contrasted languages in the expression of the

category of gender either and many languages make these distinctions different and unequal. Thus, in Ukrainian, Russian, German and other languages there are three grammatical genders — masculine, feminine, and neuter. In Italian, Spanish, French, Danish — two genders (masculine and feminine), in Estonian, Finnish, Japanese and Turkic languages no gender distinctions are made, but in the Bantu language, as E. Sapir points out, there are about 42 genders realised with the help various inflexions.

The morphological category of gender in Ukrainian is identified either through separate inflexions of the adjunct/attribute or through the inflexion of the finite form of the verb that conjugates with a noun. For example:


Masculine gender Feminine gender Neuter gender
каштан цвів/ріс ведмідь ходив/спав обід захолов/замерз життя проходило хлопець сміявся/був яблуня цвіла/росла вода замерзла Відвага перемогла лисиця ходила/бігла дівчина сміялася/була жито цвіло/росло лоша ходило/бігало жито зійшло сонечко пригрівало дитя сміялося/було

In present-day English no gender distinctions of the kind are possible, as can be seen from the following sentences:


the actor plays the actor played the actor is/has the actor was seen the actress plays the actress played the actress is/has seen the actress was seen the child plays/smiles the child played/smiled, etc. the child is/has seen the child was seen/heard, etc.

The form of the verbal predicate, therefore, does not reflect or in any way testify to the existence of any gender distinction in the three above-given nouns. This is not so in Ukrainian. Cf. актор грав/був, актриса грала/була, дитя грало/було, дитя грає/буває, etc.

Absence of the morphological category of gender in English, as could be already noticed, is also easy to be proved by the unchanged attributive adjuncts to nouns which have this category in Ukrainian, eg:

the great emperor lived long — великий імператор жив довго the great heroine lived long — велика героїня жила довго the great desire lived long — велике бажання жило довго The adjective "great" does not reflect any sex or gender distinction of the English head nouns "emperor", "heroine" or "desire" as it is in

Ukrainian ("великий імператор", "велика героїня", "велике бажання"). Unlike English, the categorial meaning of the gender category and the objective/extralingual category of sex are distinctly indicated by the verbal predicate in Ukrainian: "імператор жив", "героїня жила", "бажання жило".

The morphological category of gender and the objective (natural) category of sex may also be indicated in Ukrainian by the following means: a) by a marked inflexion in the nominative case (книжка, село, яйце, батько, мати, сестра); b) by the zero inflexion (дуб, час, ніч, річ, вість); с) by suffixes only or by the root suffixes + endings (робітник, вівчар, стрілець, орач, вчительк-а, робітниц-я, поетес-а, поетик-а); d) by means of a modifying word: наше київське метро (кашне, кіно), цей кабальєро, такий великий ґну, гарний поні, ця молода леді/дама, пані, etc.

The possessive conjoint or possessive absolute pronouns, however, may sometime be used in English to indicate the extralingual category of sex, eg: the bear and his life, that actress and her voice, his child and its toys, the directrix and her school; the desire of mine/hers, those friends of hers, etc.

A testimony to there being no grammatical gender in English nouns is the use of appositional pronouns and nouns to indicate the sex of living beings as in boy-friend - girl-friend, man-servant maid-servant, woman/female novelist man/male novelist, jack-ass jenny-ass, billy-goat nanny-goat, tom cat pussy cat, he-bear she-bear, male elephant female elephant, (bull elephant - cow elephant), cock-sparrow hen-sparrow, cock-pheasant hen-pheasant. Neither can the English suffixes -ist, -er/-or, -ess, -o, -ine express the morphological gender (but only sex) as in emperor, widower, actress, goddess, heroine, hobo, and many other living beings.

All lifeless things in English, unlike Ukrainian and some other languages, are generally associated with the pronoun it (the neuter gender). Cf. The tree and its leaves; the desire and its realisation; the stone and its age; the tulip and its colour; the pond and its inhabitants; the carbonic acid and its use, etc.

In Ukrainian, on the contrary, each noun irrespective of its being a life

or lifeless thing, belongs to a concrete gender. Thus, the stone (камінь) like the wolf or bull is masculine (he він), the carbonic acid or the star, the river, the cow have feminine gender (річка, зірка, думка, корова). Similarly with many life and lifeless nouns having neuter gender distinctions (cf. життя, сміття, курча, дитя, небо, жито, мито, etc.).

When personified, English life and lifeless nouns may be referred to different (sometimes quite unexpected genders). Thus, the Reed in the Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde became feminine and the Swallow who fell in love with it became (was personified by the author) masculine (he). In spoken English all strong or fearful animals, birds and natural phenomena or celestial objects are usually referred to masculine gender. Thus, the wolf,the dog, the buffelolike the tiger, the lion, the elephantor the eagleare referred to masculine gender. Consequently, the wolfor the bear, or deathis always he. All weaker, timid or sly animals and birds are referred to the feminine gender. Hence, the cat,the foxor the hare,the nightingale, or tomtitare each referred to feminine gender (she). Though not without exceptions. The daisy,for example, is he in O. Wilde's fairy tale The Nightingale and the Rose-tree as well as the timid little lizard that is also referred by the author to masculine gender. So is the timid rabbit in American folk-tales (The Rabbit, his Friends and Animals) and the monkeylike the parrotwho are usually masculine.

The names of vessels (boat, ship, steamer, cruiser) and vehicles (coach, car, carriage) are usually associated with famine gender. So are the names of hotels and inns. The names of celestial bodies may be feminine, masculine and neuter. The sun which is strong and powerful is, naturally, he, whereas the moon, the Paradise and the Earth are associated with the pronoun she (feminine gender). The countries are also mostly of famine gender. Hence, Ukraine, the USA, France, Italy, Russia, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, the Argentine or the Philippines, China, etc. are all feminine. Mythical, mythological and various abstract notions are treated accordingly (depending on their corresponding meaning). Consequently, the notions like devil, dickens or genius (pl. genii, злий дух) are referred to masculine gender, but the nymph is naturally she. So are pleasant abstract notions like love or peace,whereas fearful and dangerous notions like waror death,etc. are masculine.

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