Рroblems of predication.

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"2. sentence: general.

within each sentence as an immediate speech element of the communication process, definite standard syntactic-semantic features are revealed which make up a typical model, a generalised pattern repeated in an indefinite number of actual utterances.

this complicated predicative pattern does enter the system of language. it exists on its own level in the hierarchy of lingual segmental units in the capacity of a ""linguistic sentence"" and as such is studied by grammatical theory,

thus, the sentence is characterised by its specific category of predication which establishes the relation of the named phenomena to actual life. the general semantic category of modality is also defined by linguists as exposing the connection between the named objects and surrounding reality. however, modality, as different from predication, is not specifically confined to the sentence; this is a broader category revealed both in the grammatical elements of language and its lexical, purely nominative elements. in this sense, every word expressing a definite correlation between the named substance and objective reality should be recognised as modal. here belong such lexemes of full notional standing as ""probability"", ""desirability"", ""necessity"" and the like, together with all the derivationally relevant words making up the corresponding series of the lexical paradigm of nomination; here belong semi-functional words and phrases of probability and existential evaluation, such as perhaps, may be, by all means, etc.; here belong further, word-particles of specifying modal semantics, such as just, even, would-be, etc.; here belong, finally, modal verbs expressing a broad range of modal meanings which are actually turned into elements of predicative semantics in concrete, contextually-bound utterances.

as for predication proper, it embodies not any kind of modality, but only syntactic modality as the fundamental distinguishing feature of the sentence. it is the feature of predication, fully and explicitly expressed by a contextually relevant grammatical complex, that identifies the sentence in distinction to any other combination of words having a situational referent.

the centre of predication in a sentence of verbal type (which is the predominant type of sentence-structure in english) is a finite verb. the finite verb expresses essential predicative meanings by its categorial forms, first of all, the categories of tense and mood (the category of person, as we have seen before, reflects the corresponding category of the subject). however, proceeding from the principles of sentence analysis worked out in the russian school of theoretical syntax, in particular, in the classical treatises of v.v. vinogradov, we insist that predication is effected not only by the forms of the finite verb connecting it with the subject, but also by all the other forms and elements of the sentence establishing the connection between the named objects and reality, including such means of expression as intonation, word order, different functional words. besides the purely verbal categories, in the predicative semantics are included such syntactic sentence meanings as purposes of communication (declaration interrogation inducement), modal probability, affirmation and negation, and others, which, taken together, provide for the sentence to be identified on its own, proposemic level of lingual hierarchy.

from what has been said about the category of predication, we see quite clearly that the general semantic content of the sentence is not at all reduced to predicative meanings only. indeed, in order to establish the connection between some substance and reality, it is first necessary to name the substance itself. this latter task is effected in the sentence with the help of its nominative means. hence, the sentence as a lingual unit performs not one, but two essential signemic (meaningful) functions: first, substance-naming, or nominative function; second, reality-evaluating, or predicative function.

the terminological definition of the sentence as a predicative unit gives prominence to the main feature distinguishing the sentence from the word among the meaningful lingual units (signernes). however, since every predication is effected upon a certain nomination as its material semantic base, we gain a more profound insight into the difference between the sentence and the word by pointing out the two-aspective meaningful nature of the sentence. the semantics of the sentence presents a unity of its nominative and predicative aspects, while the semantics of the word, in this sense, is monoaspective.

some linguists do not accept the definition of the sentence through predication, considering it to contain tautology, since, allegedly, it equates the sentence with predication (""the sentence is predication, predication is the sentence""). however, the identification of the two aspects of the sentence pointed out above shows that this negative attitude is wholly unjustified; the real content of the predicative interpretation of the sentence has nothing to do with definitions of the ""vicious circle"" type. in point of fact» as follows from the given exposition of predication, predicative meanings do not exhaust the semantics of the sentence; on the contrary, they presuppose the presence in the sentence of meanings of quite another nature, which form its deeper nominative basis. predicative functions work upon this deep nominative basis, and as a result the actual utterance-sentence is finally produced."


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