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The Category of Time Relation (or Correlation)

The debated questions within the category of correlation are: 1.the existence of this category; 2. the character of this category; 3. the paradigmatic meaning of perfect forms; 4. the interrelations between correlation, tense and aspect.

There are several interpretations of the perfect form. 1. According to the tense view, the perfect is a peculiar tense form (H. Sweet, O. Jespersen, M. Ganshina, G. Curme, M. Bryant, Yu. Korsakov,). It is an anterior tense which coexists with the other primary expressions of time( Present, Past and Future) (I shall have done it by 5 o’clock). 2. According to the aspectview, the perfect is an aspect (Nestfield, West, Deutschbein). It is treated as the aspect of completion or the aspect of succession. 3.According to the tense-aspect blend view, the perfect is recognized as a form of double temporal- aspective character (I. P. Ivanova). 4. According to the time correlation view, the perfect form builds up its own category, different from tense and aspect. This is an independent category which is termed differently by different scholars { the category of time relation (A.I.Smirnitsky), the category of correlation (B.A.Ilyish), the category of order (B.Khaimovich), the category of retrospective coordination ( M.Y. Bloch)}. Popular is the last interpretation. The category of correlation is based on the opposition of nonperfect and perfect forms( write:: have written, is writing:: has been writing). The paradigmatic meaning of a perfect form is that of precedence. This independent grammatical category of time relation(correlation) constitutes a whole system involving aspect, tense and mood( writes – has written – has been written, etc). Tense, aspect and correlation are closely connected. They, correspondingly, represent the time of an action, its development and its precedence to another action in the present, past or future.

The distinctions between the members of this opposition can be neutralized (I hear :: I have heard, I forget= I have forgotten).

A Perfect form, representing the category of correlation, is polysemantic. It has a semantic structure constituted by the paradigmatic meaning of precedence and variable syntagmatic meanings which can be revealed combining the contextual analysis with the componential method {resultativity, completeness, successiveness, an implication for thefuture, repeatedness, retrospective conclusion (People have talked like that from time immemorial. Don’t think it has been a happy marriage).

The meaning of the perfect depends on several factors. One of them is the meaning of the verb. Verbs can be durative and terminative. Durative verbs denote an action that goes on indefinitely (to go, to walk, to love, to dislike, to speak); terminative verbs denote an action reaching a limit (to come, to close, to bring, to lose to break).

Perfect forms can be encountered in all kinds of speech: vulgar and elevated, but they are most frequent in conversation. Perfect forms can emphasise the attitude of the speaker towards the people or events described ( Since the time I left you, I have lived your life. I have breathed you, I haveeaten you, I have drunk you, I have wept your eyes. I. Murdoch).

The Category of Voice

The definition of voice depends upon interpretations of this category, If voice is understood as a logical category it denotes ways of expressing relations between a verb and its subject and object. If it is a grammatical category, voice denotes grammatical ways of expressing relations between a verb and its subject and object. Much in this category is widely discussed. Debated problems here are 1.the nature of the category; 2.the starting point of analysis; 3.the problem of transitivity; 4.the nature of the construction be + Participle II; 5.the number of voices; 6.the limits of the passive; 7. the paradigmatic meanings of the active and of the passive voice forms..

1.Voice is treated as a syntactic category (H. Paul, A. Potebnya), as a morphologico-syntactic category as it denotes the syntactic relation of an action to its subject and object by a system of morphological forms , as a purely morphological category (A.Smirnitsky, B. Ilyish, M. Blokh, et al.).

2. It is hard to say what is to be paid attention to, meanings or forms. External signs can express different meanings. An active voice form expresses various relations between a verb and its subject and object { He shaved the customer ( activity), He shaved and went out ( reflexivity), I opened the door (activity), The door opened ( mediopassivity), They kissed ( reciprocality), I suffered a blow (passivity)}.

3. Under transitivity we understand the potential capacity of a verb to demand an object. The nature of transitivity is obscure and it is not clear whether it is a grammatical or a lexical category. Verbs are divided into transitives and intransitives. But in ME this division is not exact as transitive verbs can be used intransitively and vice versa (Why don’t you walk me home? I’d like you to dance me. You danced me splendidly).

4. The construction to be + Participle II is very ambiguous. Some scholars find it to be a passive structure only when it expresses an action. It is analyzed as a simple verbalpredicate. When it expresses a state, it is to be interpreted as a compound nominal predicate { The door is opened ( a state). The door is being opened (an action)}. A.I. Smirnitsky, always relying upon form, considered each occurrence of to be + participle II as a passive structure.

5. Along with the active and the passive scholars distinguish the reflective voice( He washed himself; the medio-passive (middle) voice (The door opened. The coat wears well. The coffee tastes well. The book sells like hotcakes.). It denotes the processes going on within the subject without affecting any object); the reciprocalvoice(They hate one another. They hugged each other ). Morphologically, “the voice forms” underlined absolutely resemble the active voice form. The elements “-self, each other, one another” cannot be interpreted as auxiliaries of these “voices”, as at times they are omissible and at times they are nonomissible. These formations fall under the heading of the active voice.

6. The verb to be is not the only auxiliary forming the passive voice. Passive structures are formed by means of the verbs to get, to become, to have, to go, to come {He got married. He came to be respected. I had my horse killed under me in the battle He went missing. The house got burnt). The subject in these sentences experiences some action). V. Mathesius also includes here the verb to sufferand the constructions to be subject to, tobe in preparation, as the subject neither performs nor initiates an action. Most frequent is the Passive with the verb to get which comes to function as an active auxiliary in American English (The work has got done).

The prevalent view is that voice is a verbal category based on the opposition of the active and the passive forms. This opposition is expressed by a number of different forms representing aspect, tense, mood, correlation ( read :: is read, wrote:: was written, is writing:: is being written, would write:: would be written, etc.).

7. The paradigmatic meanings of the active and the passive forms writes:: is written are vague and admit of various interpretations. The active form denotes a subject as the agent of the action (I did it), experiencer, sufferer, patient (I’ve lost everything). We encounter actives with the reflexive meaning (I shaved), reciprocal, mediopassive meanings. The term ‘active’ appears to be unsatisfactory because of the discrepancy between the active form of the verb and its reflexive, reciprocal, mediopassive meanings.

Actives are structurally variable which depends on the transitivity or intransitivity of the verb {He read a book (transitive). He departed. He sleeps(intransitive). He gave her a book (ditransitive). He considers her a beauty (factitive)}. Passives are also structurally variable {The book is read by me (transitive). She was lost in reverie (intransitive).She was considered a beauty (factitive). She was given a book by him (ditransitive).He has never been found fault with (a passive,complicated by adverbial elements)}.

Passives have a different communicative organization as compared with actives. The semantic roles of their constituents are different from those of active structures. V. Mathesius , analyzing the category of voice, connects it with a functional sentenceperspective (or communicative dynamism) under which we understand distribution of information among the elements of a sentence. He distinguishes 3 elements in a sentence :: the performer of an action, the action itself, the goal of an action (the person or thing affected by the action). These 3 elements are placed in different perspectives: the active and the passive. A sentence has an active perspective if the action starts with the performer with respect to the goal( I wrote a letter). A sentence has a passive perspective if we start with the goal with respect to the performer( The letter has been written by him).The Passive is the device which makes it possible for the semantic object to perform the thematic function and for the semantic subject to perform the rhematic function ( The book was given to him by Jane (the book is the semantic object, Jane is the semantic subject).

Actives and passives are not interchangeable, mutually convertible, as they have different communicative purposes, that is, not all actives can be passivized (John likes girls. Henry studies French). In the structures He was given to that kind of thing. She has been taken ill. No love was lost between them the subject is incapable of functioning as an object of a corresponding active construction. They have different communicative purposes. Actives rhematize logical objects, passives rhematize logical subjects.

According to the character of the agent, we distinguish different passives: passives with an explicit agent( It is when men are ruled by women), passives with a non-existent agent ( He was lost in reverie), with an implicit agent which is easily restorable( Woman was made while Adam slept). The agents can be missing when they are unknown or when they are of generic reference( Dostoevsky is commonly regarded as a prophetic writer).

The formations he is arrived, he is gone, I am finished are not passives, these are perfect forms of intransitive verbs. They were very frequent in Shakespeare’s time. In modern English they are stylistically marked (When she opened the door he was gone!). In American English they are of frequent currency.

There are some factors determining the use of passives in ME. The prevalent factor is the functional sentence perspective. The Passive is used to rhematize the logical subject (The letter has been written by me). The widest sphere of the application of passives is scientific writings where impersonal presentation of the subject matter is preferable. There is no agent, or the agent is indefinite. Attention is focused on the data described (Methods of purifying water are given much attention to). The vagueness of the agent in any functional style accounts for the frequency of passives (Good things which have long been enjoyedare not easily given up).

The Passive is on the increase in present day English. We find various structural and semantic varieties of passives in all functional styles. The use of the Passive reflects the realities of the bureaucratic social structure where it is impossible to assign responsibility to a concrete individual. The Passive is so outrageously spread in all styles that there arise protests on the part of writers. Stylists find the Active strong and vigorous and the Passive weak and colourless.

The Category of Mood

The category of mood falls under a wide notion of modality, which is an indispensable attribute of each sentence. It expresses the attitude of a speaker towards a happening, whether he finds it a fact or a non-fact, that is imaginary, hypothetical or desirable. Modality is expressed phonetically ( by stress and intonation), lexically (by modal words), lexico-grammatically ( by modal verbs), grammatically ( by corresponding forms of verbs, the oppositions of which constitute the category of mood), syntactically ( by certain sub- clauses). The category of mood in present day English has given rise to many discussions. Interpretations of this category vary from scholar to scholar, reflecting their grammatical, logical, semantical or psychological orientations. The category is confusing because of the contrast between its semantic intricacy and scantiness of its inflections.

Debated problems within this category are: the character of the category, the starting point of analysis, the number of moods, the existence of the Imperative Mood, the existence of the Subjunctive Mood, the nature of the forms should/ would + infinitive.

Mood is understood as a morphologico- semantical phenomenon (O. Jespersen). According to prof. R. Long, mood is a semantico- syntactical phenomenon as it expresses distinctions between the actual and the hypothetical and partly distinctions between clause patterns. He distinguishes the indicative, the subjunctive, the infinitive, the gerundial and the participial moods. Mood is understood even as a psychological phenomenon (e.g. “Mood expresses images of the twilight world of imagination”). A.I. Smirnitsky, B.A.Ilyish and M.Y.Bloch understand mood as a purely morphological category.

It is questionable whether it is forms which are to be systematized according to their meanings, or modal meanings which are to be classified according to their forms. But all attempts to systematize meanings and forms fail. There’s no scheme that would be universally acceptable. There are so many semantic implications and psychological connotations that the category of mood has always been the stumbling block for notionalists and formalists alike.

It is difficult to analyse the category of mood as there is no correspondence between meaning and form. One and the same meaning can be expressed variously. The meaning of supposition, for example, is expressed in several ways (I suggest our going there. I suggest that we should go there. I suggest that we go there). The concessive meaning can also be expressed by different means [(Whatever it be ( can be, could be, may be, might be, should be, is )]. One and the same external sign can express different meanings. Were can be found in I wish he were here.If he were to come, I should be pleased. He wondered whether she were in Spain. Suppose he were here? It is as if he were ill. Had done can be seen in two semantically different structures: I wish you had done it. I said he had done it.

Proceeding from meaning scholars distinguish 16 Moods( The Hypothetical Mood, the Optative Mood, the Permissive Mood, the Suppositional Mood, the Indicative Mood, The Imperative Mood, the Voluntative Mood, the Potential Mood, the Compulsory Mood, the Conditional Mood, The Irrealis, etc.).

Proceeding from form, A.I. Smirnitsky distinguished 6 Moods:

Direct - Iindirect (Oblique Moods)

/\ /\

indicative imperative synthetical analytical

/\ /\

Subjunctive I Subjunctive II The Conditional The Suppositional

Some scholars distinguish 3 Moods:The Indicative, The Imperative and The Subjunctive. Let us consider each of these moods separately.

The Indicative Mood

Semantically it is the most objective mood, morphologically it is most developed.

The Imperative Mood

This mood expresses order, command, a stimulus. It is the least developed mood resembling in form Sujunctive I and the infinitive. Hence, some scholars do not recognize its existence.Though it is undeveloped as compared with Russian, we encounter very peculiar forms in syntagmatics { Have done it by the time he comes ( the perfect form of the imperative). Be always searching for new sensations (the continuous form of the imperative)}. It can become polysemantic and develop the meanings of condition or concession. Make me do these things and you would destroy me (J.London) can be transformed into If you make me do these things, you will destroy me.

The Subjunctive Mood

It is the most confusing mood. In Old English there was a fully inflective Subjunctive comparable with Latin or German. It denoted problematic, hypothetical and purely imaginary actions.

In English The Subjunctive has long been in a state of decay as compared with other European languages. The simple Subjunctive (Subjunctive I) is being supplanted (вытеснять) by the forms lest he should die or that he may die. Subjunctive II is being supplanted by was (I wish he was in Hell). The present day syntax allows very few formal distinctions: God bless my wife. I wish he were here.

The difference between the Indicative mood and the Subjunctive mood has practically come to be blotted out (If I wasn’t your friend, I think I’d blame you). Hence, many scholars (O. Jespersen, L. Barchudarov) do not recognize the existence of this Mood. According to O. Jespersen’s theory of the imaginative use oftenses, past tenses indicate, in certain syntactic conditions, hypothesis, supposition, problemacity. In the sentence He smiles as if he had never heard about it the underlined form, according to O.Jespersen, is in before past time expressing unreality. In the contaminated clause, embracing the properties of two sub-clauses ( a predicative clause and an adverbial clause of unreal comparison) in the complex sentence It is as if he had never been there the underlined form of before past time expresses unreal comparison. According to O. Jespersen, the absence of the Subjunctive is made up for by some stereotyped phrases, grammatical idioms (so be it), combinations of modal verbs and infinitives and the imaginative use of past tenses (times) which become modally coloured in some patterns ( I wish he had done it).

According to Eric Partridge, the Subjunctive is not an extinct (вымирающий) mood. It is a living mood to be found in different patterns of simple sentences, in complex sentences (both in the principal and subordinate clauses) (God bless you. If he knew, he would come. (a conditional clause). Even if he had come he wouldn’t have understood (a concessive clause). I wish he came (an object clause), etc.The Subjunctive, depending upon syntactical patterns, embraces different forms: might, came, should, had come, were, be. It is a semantic-syntactic- morphological category.

M.Y. Bloch distinguishes 3 Subjunctives: The Stipulative (Subjunctive II: I wish he came), The Spective (Subjunctive I : God bless him), The Consecutive (Subjunctive III: He would have refused).

Most convenient for practical analysis is A. I. Smirnitsky’s classification of moods. He proceeds from formal criteria. Each mood is presented by peculiar models on the level of the simple and complex sentences ( For example, Subjunctive II on the level of the simple sentence : Oh, that I werea glove upon that hand (W.Shakespeare).Oh, if he were here. Oh, that he were here. If only he were here. Were he only here! ; Subjunctive II on the level of the complex sentence: It is as if he were here. If he were here, he would understand. Even if he were here he wouldn’t understand. I wish he came).

The category of mood is hard to represent in terms of binary oppositions. Prof. Zandvoort represents it in the following opposition: he play:: he plays (non-fact :: fact). One integral form of the Indicative is opposed to one integral form of the Subjunctive.

The category of Mood in English is not yet stabilized. It is still in the making.


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