The Category of Definiteness and Indefiniteness

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The Category of Definiteness and Indefiniteness

The noun in English and Ukrainian, as in other languages, possesses the semantic category of definiteness and indefiniteness. In other words, when a noun (even a proper name) or family/geographical name is taken out of its context to which it belonged, its meaning may not be definitely understood, i.e. identified. Thus, the proper names Mykola, Petro or Anatoliy when used for the first time (eg. I met Petro/Mykola yesterday evening) may not be definite enough for the listener.

The main means of making the noun definite in English is to use the definite or indefinite (zero) article or any other determining or identifying adjunct. For example: Bristol (zero article)means the town of Bristol, whereas the Bristol is the name of a hotel or an inn, ship, etc. Similarly even with such a proper noun as Україна which, when used without the definite article, means the country of Ukraine, but when presented in inverted commas it will mean anything: готель "Україна", концертний зал "Україна" or an agricultural enterprise/joint venture "Україна". The definite article may also determine, i.e. make definite some other groups (or single) nouns as, for example, those denoting generic nouns or unique objects on the globe, or even in the universe as in the following sentences: The lion is a wild animal. The sun is a bright celestial body. The Bible is a holy book of all Christians.

The category of definiteness may be also indicated by syntactic, i.e. lexico-syntactic means. Namely, by an appositive noun or a substantivised numeral, an adjective or any other adjunct: Cf.: the Tory government, King Henry V, the first Summit meeting, уряд торі, король Генріх П'ятий, готель "Колос", дівчина-парашутистка, перша зустріч у верхах, четвертий універсал уряду УНР, etc. Hence, the categories of definiteness and indefiniteness may be expressed both by preposed and postposed identifiers simultaneously (as in the last example четвертий > універсал < уряду УНР). Or such an example: the noun congress or its Ukrainian variant з'їзд when used out of a context remains absolutely non-related to any concretely identified event. Even when preceded by a numeral (the first or the second congress) it remains far from semantically identified. Only when explicated by one more identifier - the first congress of ecologists, the noun congress becomes more or less exhaustively identified. Similarly in Ukrainian where the noun з'їзд becomes definite (or indefinite) when it is explicitly identified: з'їзд екологів, з'їзд екологів України, черговий/ позачерговий з'їзд екологів України, etc.

The category of indefiniteness apart from being indicated in English by the indefinite article a/an, may also be made explicit by the indefinite pronouns any, some, etc., and by the numeral one as well as by the indefinite article plus an adjectival, participial or any other adjunct. Eg: There is some boy wants to see you. (King) "Was there a 212Mr Palgrave?" (H.E. Bates) — "there's a marvellously good restaurant called L'Ocean about six or seven miles down the coast". (Ibid.)

Cf. in Ukrainian: Там ніякого містера Палґрейва не було? The expression of indefiniteness in Ukrainian is likewise realised with the help of the indefinite pronouns якийсь (якась, якесь), through the indefinite numeral один (одна, одне) or via the indefinite pronouns якийсь/ якась, якесь plus the adjuncts expressing the characteristic features of the person or object. Eg: Якийсь Петренко там чекає на вас. Був собі один чоловік і мав він два сини. Навіть один страшний день війни запам'ятався кожному навіки.

Unlike English where indefiniteness is expressed via the corresponding markers, in Ukrainian it may sometimes be expressed also through grammatical shifting of the indefinite noun into the final position of the sentence. For example:The door opened and the teacher entered the classroom Двері відчинилися і вчитель увійшов до класу.

То express indefiniteness, the noun will be shifted to the final position:The door opened and a teacher entered the classroom.

Двері відчинилися і до класу ввійшов учитель.

Therefore, the category of definitess and indefiniteness is equally pertained to both contrasted languages.

22 Traditionally the verbal semantics was qalified as verbility (the ability to express actions, proceses and states). But in both lngs there are a lot of verbs that express neither states nor actions.

--- to have, to belong, to contain.

On the other hand actions proceses and states can be expressed by other PoS.

--- move, jump, step.

That is why it is nmuch more reasonable to follow the opinion the opinion of prof. Bloh that the categorial meaning of verbs is the process presented dynamically, developing in time.

The processial meaning is embedded in all verbs including those of

- activity

- various processes

- states of persons

- posession number

- attitude

Besides it holds true with reference with non-finates forms of the verb. In both lngs the verb is charactrised by isomorphic and alomorphic morph properties. In boths lngs

verb is widely developed system of G categories. Isomorphic are f





Pure alomorphic

- aspetc

- phase

The verb building devices are

1. Afficsation (preff, suff) In Eng. and Ukr verbs affixation plays a irrelevant role in word – building. The typical word-building suff. in Eng are :

- en broden

- ize realize

- fy nulify

- ate create

While in Ukr all infinitives are marked by the infinitival suff:

- ти будувати

- тися сподіватися

- ть спать

- ться

or dimunitive suff:

-ки спатки

- оньки їстоньки

Sometimes between the root and the infinitavale suff in the Ukr verbs there are some specific suff:

- а обідати

- и косити

- і біліти

- ува зимувати

- ні блідніти

- ну бліднути

2) Preff in both lang are also numerous

- re repeat

- de depict

- dis dismiss

- mis misunderstand

- contr contract

- super supervise

- sub subscribe

- in ingulf

The most productive in Ukr

- від відпочити

- з зняти

- на набрати

- від віддати

- до довести

In both lang there may be a combination of pref and suff to the root. But it most prevales in Ukr

над буду ва ти

mis interpre te


3) Compounding is the combination of 2 roots in producing a new verb. In Eng. and Ukr this is an unproductive way

to blackmail

4) Conversion is a pure allomorphic Eng way of word – building, consist in zero affixation. It means that a stem changes its class reference without any affixes

a doctor – to doctor

a room – to room

5) Reversion is the reduction of the stem marking suff + convertion

proof – reader = to proofread

6) Semantic stress (pure Eng)

su bject – to sub ject

7) Replacive morphs

advice (n) – advise (v)

blood – bleed(v)

8) Composing (only Eng) It lies in combining verb roots with lexico – gram. word morphemes

to take in – to take off

to take to

to look for

9)Prasal derivation of verbs (Eng, Ukr)

to pay a visit


23 There exist 2 morphological class. of verbs in Ukr and Eng

1st principal acc to the type of stem (or morphol composit):

- simple (root) to go

- derived (root + suff) to broden, to dismiss

- compound (root+root)

- composite take off, take in (only Eng)

- phrasal нанести візит, to have a swim


In Eng the second morphological class. of verbs is based on the type of the word – conjugation. Following this principle verbs are divided into:

- regular are verbs of wick verb – conjugation. They have 4 forms = love (initial)

loves (3d person sing)

loved (past, past particip)

loving (gerund, paticp)


- irregular are non-standard verbs are verbs of strong – conjugation. They have 5 forms:

write – initial

writes – 3d person sing

wrote – past tense

writing – gerund, participle

written – past, past participle


In modern Eng there exist more than 200 irregular verbs but there is an obvious tendency in modern Eng of regularizing of irregular verbs.

e.g to bet – bet – bet (1914) in the process of development it considered ed betted – modern, bett –archaic form


The second morph class of Ukr verbs is based on the correspondence between the infinitival form and the forms of the present and future. There are 13 classes acc. to this classification.

1st class infinitive: ува, юва = купувати

pres. tense: танцювати, танцюють


2d class infinitive: ва = бувати

pres. future tense: бувають

3d class infinitive: а, я = бажати

pres,future: юажають


Lexico – morphological class. of verbs

1) Acc to the realization of the category of voice:

- transitive are verbs which are used with direct object and capable of having 2 forms: active, passive

- intransitive are verbs which are not associated with direct obj. and normally cannot be used in the passive voice: e.g to go

2) Acc to the realization of the category of aspect:

- terminative (limited) are verbs express potentially limited in time actions

e.g to drop, to fall, to enter

normally they are not used in the continious aspect


- non- terminative (unlimited) they express processes which are dynamically developed. they are subdivided into: actional are easily used in both continious/ non-continious aspect forms; statal can not be used in continious aspect; verbs of possession – to have, to obtain; verbs of sense perception – to touch, to smell, to hear; mental activity – to understand, to mind; of emotion – to love, to like, to hate, to be sorry.



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