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Sentence. General characteristics. Classification of sentences.


The sentence is a unit of predication which, naming a certain situational event, shows the relation of the denoted event towards reality. Predication establishes the relation of the named phenomena to actual life. An important structural feature of the sentence is its entirety, that is, no word of the given sentence can be the head or a dependent element relative to words that stand outside this sentence. So, the sentence can be defined as an immediate integral unit used in speech communication, built up of words according to a definite syntactic pattern and characterized by predication.

It possesses the following properties. 1. The sentence as a linguistic expression of extralinguistic reality must be actualized. Actualization of the sentence content makes predicativity an inseparable property of every sentence. 2. The sentence, just like any other meaningful language unit, has a form. Every sentence has an intonation pattern. 3. The sentence occupies the highest hierarchical position relative to other structural language units since the final purpose of all structural language units is to build sentences.

Sentences can be classified according to their structural, semantic and pragmatic properties.

One traditional scheme for classifying English sentences is by the number and types of finite clauses: sentences are divided into simple and composite, the latter consisting of two more clauses.

Simple sentences are usually classified into one-member and two-member. This distinction is based on a difference in the main parts of a sentence. One-member sentences do not contain two such separate parts; in these sentences there is only one main part. Nominal sentences name a person or thing. The main member in such sentences is expressed by a noun. The main member of infinitival sentences is expressed by an infinitive. One-member sentences should be kept apart from elliptical sentences. An elliptical sentence is a sentence with one or more of its parts left out, which can be unambiguously inferred from the context. The main sphere of elliptical sentences is dialogue.

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A composite sentence is built up by two or more predicative lines. It can be defined as a structural and semantic unity of two or more syntactic constructions each having a predicative center of its own, built on the basis of a syntactic connection and used in speech communication as a unit of the same rank as the simple sentence.

A general classification of composite sentences can be based on the first two criteria – the type of syntactic connection and the rank of predicative constructions. Here compound and complex sentences are singled out. In the compound sentence predicative constructions of the high rank are connected by means of coordination while in the complex sentence – by means of subordination. According to the way in which parts of the composite sentence are joined together, two types can be singled out: 1) syndetic (by means of connectors); 2) asyndetic (without any connectors).


The system of English phonemes

The phoneme is a minimal abstract linguistic unit realized in speech in the form of speech sounds opposable to other phonemes of the same language to distinguish the meaning of morphemes and words.

In all languages speech sounds are traditionally divided into two main types – vowels and consonants. From the articulatory point of view vowels are speech sounds based on voice which is modified in the supralaringeal cavities. There is no obstruction in their articulation. Consonants are speech sounds in the articulation of which there is an obstruction, the removal of which causes noise, plosion or friction. The articulatory boundary between vowels and consonants is not well- marked. There exist speech sounds that occupy an intermediate position between vowels and consonants. These are sonorants [m,n,ŋ,l,w,r,]. The wide passage for the stream of air in the articulation of sonorants means that the oral and nasal cavities are active.

In the English consonant system there are 24 consonants. The quality of the consonants depends on several aspects: 1. the work of the vocal cords; 2. what cavity is used as a resonator; 3. the force of the articulation and some other factors. There are four principles of consonant classification: 1. the type of obstruction and the manner of production of noise.We distinguish 2 classes of consonants: a) occlusive, in the production of which a complete obstruction is formed [t, b,g]; b) constrictive, in the production of which an incomplete obstruction is formed.[s,z,Ʒ] Each of the two classes is subdivided into noise consonants and sonorants. Noise consonants are divided into plosives (or stops) and affricates and constrictive sounds. Sonorants are divided into occlusive and constrictive sounds. Constrictive sonorants may be medial [n] and lateral [l]. 2.Another principle is the place of articulation. Consonants are classed into 1) labial, 2) lingual, 3) glottal. The first class is subdivided into a) bilabial [p]; b) labio- dental [v]; the second class is subdivided into: a) fore lingual or apical, articulated with the tip of the tongue [l, t, n, d], b) mediolingual [j], c)back lingual [k, g,], d) pharingal [h]. 3.The next principle is the presence or absence of voice which depends on the work of the vocal cords. All voiced consonants are weak (lenis) and all voiceless consonants are strong (fortis). 4. The next principle is the position of the soft palate. According to this, English consonants can be oral and nasal.(m,n,n).

In the English vowel system there are 12 vowel monophthongs and 8 or 9 diphthongs. The quality of a vowel depends, first of all, on its stability, on the tongue position, lip position, character of the vowel end, length, tenseness. According to this principle English vowels are subdivided into monophthongs, diphthongs, diphthongoids.[ i: ], [ u: ]. According to the position of the tongue vowels are classed from vertical and horizontal planes. From the horizontal plane vowels are divided into : 1. front; 2. front-retracted ; 3.central ; 4. back ; 5. back-advanced. From the vertical plane English vowels are divided into: 1. close; 2. mid; 3. open. Each class has wide and narrow variations. According to the lip rounding vowels have 3 positions: spread, neutral, rounded. According to the length English vowels are traditionally divided into short and long vowels, it is a historical phenomenon. Besides, there exists the positional length of vowels, depending on the position of a vowel in a word. The next point is checkness. All English short vowels are checked when stressed. The degree of checkness depends on the following consonant. All long vowels are free. From the point of view of tenseness all historically long vowels are tense, while short vowels are lax.

The phonemic status of English diphthongs is still a question of discussion. Diphthongs are complex units of the two elements which are closely blended together. They are syllabically indivisible, the length of diphthongs is the same as that of English long vowels. There are 8 English diphthongs: close |ie|, |ue|; mid |ou|, |ei|; open |ea|, |oi|, |ai|, |au|. They are characterized according to the tongue position and the position of the lips.



Word-formation. The productivity of word-formation means.

Word-formation – the process of forming words by combining root and affixal morphemes according to certain patterns specific for the language (affixation, composition), or without any outward means of word formation (conversion, semantic derivation). Word- formation is one of the main ways of enriching vocabulary. There are four main ways of word-building in Modern English: affixation, composition, conversion, shortening.

Affixation has been one of the most productive ways of word-building throughout the history of English. It consists in adding an affix to the stem of a definite part of speech. Affixation is divided into suffixation and prefixation.

The main function of suffixes in Modern English is to form one part of speech from another, the secondary function is to change the lexical meaning of the same part of speech, e.g. educate v – educatee n.

Prefixation is the formation of words by means of adding a prefix to the stem. In English it is characteristic for forming verbs. The main function of prefixes in English is to change the lexical meaning of the same part of speech, e.g. happy- unhappy, head – overhead.

Composition is the way of word-building when a word is formed by joining two or more stems to form one word, e.g. best-seller, underfoot.

Conversion is a characteristic feature of the English word-building system. It is also called affixless derivation or zero suffuxation. Conversion is the main way of forming verbs in Modern English, e.g. to eye, to hammer, to machine-gun. Verbs can be converted from adjectives, in such cases they denote the change of the state: to tame, to slim. Verbs can be also converted from other parts of speech: to down (adverb), to pooh-pooh (interjection). Nouns can also be converted from verbs.

Shortenings (or contracted words) are produced in two different ways. The first is to make a new word from a syllable of the original word. The letter may lose its beginning (phone from telephone, fence from defence), its ending (hols from holidays) or both the beginning and ending (flu from influenza). The second way of shortening is to make a new word from the initial letters of a word group: U.N.O., B.B.C., M.P. This type is called initial shortenings (acronyms). They are found not only among formal words but also among colloquialisms and slang: g.f. (girl-friend).

There are also secondary, non-productive ways of word-building: sound interchange, stress interchange, sound imitation, blends, back formation (disaffixation).

Sound-interchange is the way of word-building when some sounds are changed to form a new word, e.g. to strike – stroke, to sing – song.

Stress interchange can be mostly met in verbs and nouns of Romanic origin: nouns have the stress on the first syllable and verbs on the last syllable, e.g. accent – to accent.

Sound imitation is the way of word-building when a word is built by imitating different sounds: a) sounds produced by human beings: to whisper, to mumble; b) sounds produced by animals, birds, insects: to moo, to hiss, to buzz; c) sounds produced by nature and objects: to splash, to bubble, to clatter.

Blends are words formed from a word-group or two synonyms, e.g. hustle (hurry and bustle), cinemaddict (cinema addict).

Backformation (disaffixation) is the way of word-building when a word is formed by dropping the final morpheme to form a new word, e.g. to bach (from bachelor), to televise (from television).



The English verb, its basic categories.

The verb form identifies the type of connection between the situation named in the utterance and the reality.

Verb forms make up two distinct classes: finites and non-finites, also called verbals, verbids. Finites serve to express a primary predication, i.e. they ‘tie’ the situation described by a proposition to the context. Non-finites serve to express a secondary predication. The non-finite forms of the verb combine the characteristics of the verb with the characteristics of other parts of speech. The English verbids include four forms: the infinitive, the gerund, the present participle and the past participle.

The general categorial meaning of the verb is process presented dynamically i.e. developed in time. The main syntactical functions and combinability differ with the finite and non- finite verbs. Finite forms perform the function of the predicate, non-finite forms alongside this function can perform the function of the adverbial modifier, the object, the subject and even the attribute

Traditionally we speak about the followinggrammatical categories of verbs.

1. The Category of Person. Only the third person present tense singular form expresses person grammatically; therefore, the verb forms are obligatorily associated with personal pronouns. Modal verbs, with the exception of shall/should and will/would, do not show person grammatically. The verb be is more grammaticalized: it has two grammaticalized persons in the singular – first and third person – and no grammaticalized persons in the plural. In the past tense, the verb be does not distinguish person. To sum up, the category of person is represented in English by the two member opposition: third person singular vs. non-third person singular.

2. The Category of Numbershows whether the process is associated with one doer or with more than one doer. The category of number is a two-member opposition: singular and plural. The categories of person and number are heavily relied on the subject: it is the subject that is generally responsible for the expression of person and number in English.

3. The meaning of the category of Tense is the relation of the action expressed by a finite verb to the moment of speaking. In traditional linguistics grammatical time is often represented as a three-form category consisting of the “linear” past, present and future forms. Present denotes coincidence, past denotes a prior action, future denotes a posterior action which follows the moment of speaking.

4. The Category of Aspect is traditionally treated as represented by the opposition of continuous durative, progressive aspect and non-continuous indefinite, non-durative, recurrant aspect. Some linguists refer to the category of aspect the category of time correlation alongside the category of development. The realization of the category of aspect is closely connected with the lexical meaning of verbs. There are some verbs in English that do not normally occur with progressive aspect, even in those contexts in which the majority of verbs necessarily take the progressive form. Among the so-called ‘non-progressive’ verbs are think, understand, know, hate, love, see, taste, feel, possess, own, etc.

5. The Category of Timedenotes correlation of the action expressed by the finite verb to some moment in the past, present or future. This category is based on the opposition “perfect vs. non-perfect”. Perfect forms denote priority to the moment in the past, present or future. Non-perfect forms denote simultaneity with a moment in the past, present of future.

6. The Category of Mood expresses the relation of nominative content of the sentence towards reality. The category of mood is represented by two oppositions: the indicative mood and the oblique mood. The indicative mood is the basic mood of the verb. Morphologically it is the most developed system. Semantically, it is a fact mood; it is the least subjective of all the moods. The oblique mood, which includes the traditional imperative and the subjunctive mood, represents a process as a non-fact, i.e. as something imaginary, desirable, problematic, contrary to reality. The imperative variety of the oblique mood is morphologically the least developed mood: it is only expressed by the bare infinitive form.

7. The Category of Voice reflects the objective relations between the action itself and the subject or object of the action: The category of voice is realized through the opposition Active voice :: Passive voice. Three types of passive constructions can be differentiated: 1) direct primary passive; 2) indirect secondary passive; 3) prepositional tertiary passive. The realization of the voice category is restricted because of the implicit grammatical meaning of transitivity/intransitivity. In accordance with this meaning, all English verbs should fall into transitive and intransitive.

The verb is the most complex part of speech due to the role it performs in the expression of the predicative function of the sentence.

Intonation: its definition, linguistic functions, components; approaches to the problems of intonation

Intonation is defined as a complex, a whole, formed by significant variations of pitch, loudness and tempo (the rate of speech and pausation) closely related.

The syllable is widely recognized to be the smallest prosodic unit. It has no meaning of its own, but it is significant for constituting hierarchically higher prosodic units.

The succession of syllables forms a rhythmic unit - either one stressed syllable or a stressed syllable with a number of unstressed ones grouped around it.

In the intonation group not only stresses, but pitch and duration (i.e. intonation in the broad sense) play a role. Structurally the intonation group has some obligatory formal characteristics. These are the nuclear stress on the semantically most important word and the terminal tone.

The utterance is the main communicative unit. It is characterized by semantic entity which is expressed by all the language means: lexical, grammatical and prosodic. The prosodic structure of an utterance is a meaningful unit that contributes to the total meaning of the utterance.

The supraphaphrasal unity is a totality of information groups or utterances, united by general subtopic and common intonation key.

Each component of intonation can be described as a system.

Pitch is described as a system of tones (Fall, Rise, Fall-Rise and so on), pitch levels (keys), which can be high, medium and low, and pitch ranges (wide, medium and narrow).

Loudness is described as normal, increased (forte) or low (piano).

Tempo includes rate of speech and pausation. The rate of speech can be normal, slow and fast. Pauses are classified according to their length, their position in the utterance (final – nonfinal) and their function (syntactic, emphatic and hesitation pauses).

Speech rhythm is defined as a regular occurrence of stressed syllables in a speech continuum. English is a stress-timed language. In such languages rhythm is based on a larger unit than syllable, the rhythmic group. The stressed syllables in the rhythmic group form peaks of prominence. Speech rhythm is regulated by the style of speech. Maximum rhythmicality is observed in poetry. Rhythm performs the functions of delimitation and integration, aesthetic and pragmatic functions.

The intonation pattern is the basic unit of intonation. It serves to actualize syntagmas into intonation groups. The nuclear tone is the most important part of the intonation pattern. The nuclear tone may be followed by the tail. The two other components of the intonation pattern, the head and the prehead form its pre-nuclear part.

Intonation is a powerful means of communication. The communicative function of intonation embraces all its numerous uses, which can be grouped into the following functions: distinctive or phonological; organizing; pragmatic; rhetorical; social; stylistic.

Performing its distinctive function intonation can differentiate the syntactic (communicative) types of sentences, attitudinal meanings, the actual meaning of sentences.

Intonation serves to structure the text. On the one hand, it delimitates the text into smaller units, on the other hand, it ties together smaller units into bigger ones.

Intonation conveys the information content of an utterance. It highlights the most important information in an utterance and helps to distinguish which information is new (the rheme) and which information is known to the listener (the theme).

There are two main approaches to the problem of intonation in Great Britain.

A contour analysis is traditional and widely used. According to this approach the smallest unit to which linguistic meaning can be attached is a tone-group (sense-group). This theory is based on the assumption that intonation consists of basic functional "blocks". Much attention is paid to these "blocks" but not to the way they are connected.

According to the grammatical approach to the study of intonation the main unit of intonation is a clause. Intonation is a complex of three systemic variables: tonality, tonicity and tone, which are connected with grammatical categories. Tonality marks the beginning and the end of a tone-group. Tonicity marks the focal point of each tone-group. Tones can be primary and secondary. They convey the attitude of the speaker.




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