Soliuk Lesia Bohdanivna


Semantic and syntactic functions of a predicate copula in the adnominal position in the German and Ukrainian languages


The dissertation deals with the functioning of predicate copulae (PC) in the adnominal position in the structure of the sentence in the German and Ukrainian languages.

In the scientific work, the concept of predicate copula is interpreted as a component of a predicate, which is not only a carrier of expression of tense and modality, but also a predicate modifier in general. The semantic-syntactic peculiarities of predicate copulae are investigated; predicate copulae are classified according to the level of desemantization into abstract copulae, copulae of semi-full meaning and copulae of full meaning.

Taking into consideration seme analysis we have identified semes that actualize the verb in the function of the predicate copula: ‘being in a state / identifying a feature’, ‘switching from one state to another / emergence of a new feature’, ‘prolonged preservation of the feature’, ‘temporal preservation of the feature’. The following models of predicates with copulae are characterized in the study: M1: S + Vcop (sein/buty) + P – functioning of abstract copulae; М2: S + Vcop (SFLP) + P – realization of predicate copulae of semi-full meaning; М3: S + Vcop (FLPC) +  P – functioning of predicate copulae of  full meaning; М4: S + Vcop  + Vinf + P – vin pryiikhav pratsiuvaty vchytelem. The last distinguished model is not examined in the dissertation, since the characteristics of the infinitive in the structure of the predicate is not the task of our study.

Abstract copulae (predicate copulae sein / buty) are considered to be partially deprived of the meaning, like copulae that contain the  seme’being in a state’,’identification / sameness of a feature’, or express other features of the subject. Comparative-typological analysis of this type of copulae has shown similarities in their functioning, including the presence of modal-temporal characteristics, identification of the subject or its state (its feature). The essential difference in the languages compared consists in the absence of a zero form in the present tense in the German language, and its existence in the Ukrainian language. The material has shown that besides the presentation (identification) of the subject or its state, an implicit copula indicates the existence of the subject represented by a speaker. Unlike the Ukrainian language, generally the notion of a zero copula is not peculiar to the German language, since the sentence structure requires the obligatory presence of the verbal (link) component of the predicate. However, in the course of our study, we have identified a number of cases in which the phenomenon of an implicit copula is present in the German language.

Taking into consideration the semantic groups and subgroups of the predicate copulae of semi-full meaning, six semantic modifications of the nominal part of the predicate are singled out: ‘the acquisition of a new state’; ‘the preserving of the previous state’; ‘detection of  the state’; ‘the modal assessment of the feature of the subject’; ‘the qualification of a state of being or an object by defining its proper or common name’; ‘the fixation of a quantitative state’.

The main difference consists in the fact that in the Ukrainian language there are such types of pairs as stavaty / staty, robytysia / zrobytysia, which indicate the completeness of the action, in German, these features are represented by temporal determinants or the sequence of tenses.

Within the verbs of full meaning in the function of a predicate copula the semantic groups of verbs to denote motion, state, activity and process are distinguished and analyzed,   the peculiarities of their functioning as a predicate copula are described and the connotation potential is characterized. On the basis of a comparative-typological analysis of aspects of the studied units, convergent and divergent features of the functioning of predicate copulae in both languages are determined. Comparative-typological analysis of various types of predicate copulae in the German and Ukrainian sentences on the basis of the material of the study has contributed to the identification of such semantic-syntactic functions of predicate copulae, as identification of the feature or state of the subject, marking of the permanent or temporal feature, modal-evaluative characteristic and qualification function, the function of the connotation modifier.

Key words: predicate, predicate copula, predicative, implicit copula, copula of full meaning, seme, semantic-syntactic structure of the sentence, grammatical aspect, desemantization, proposition, connotation.

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