General typology of the sentences

General characteristics of the proposal. The definition of a sentence as the basic unit of language that expresses a complete thought. Consideration of the types of sentence. Comparative analysis of structural types of sentences in Ukrainian and English.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
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Язык английский
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Размещено на

Ministry of education and science of Ukraine

Pavlo Tychyna Uman State Pedagogical University

Foreign Languages Department

General typology of the sentences

Made by:

Student of 32 group

Sophia Tyutyunnyk


T.O. Piontkovska

Uman - 2013



1. Sentence in both languages

2. Contrastive analysis of structural types of sentences in Ukrainian and English


List of references

sentence language ukrainian english


A sentence is a group of words that are put together to mean something. A sentence is the basic unit of language which expresses a complete thought. It does this by following the grammatical rules of syntax.

A complete sentence has at least a subject and a main verb to state (declare) a complete thought. Short example: Walker walks. A subject is the noun that is doing the main verb. The main verb is the verb that the subject is doing. In English and many other languages, the first word of a written sentence has a capital letter. At the end of the sentence there is a full stop or full point (American: "period").

The theme of my work is "General typology of the sentences in both contrasted languages". So in it I will speak about different types of sentences in English and Ukrainian.

The main tasks:

1. To give general characteristic of the sentence.

2. To mention different types of the sentence.

3. To make contrastive analysis of the sentences in both contrasted languages.

4. To make a conclusion about similarities and differences.

Angela Downing said: "The term 'sentence' is widely used to refer to quite different types of unit. Grammatically, it is the highest unit and consists of one independent clause, or two or more related clauses. Orthographically and rhetorically, it is that unit which starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop, question mark or exclamation mark."

So in this work we will speak about types of the sentences mainly according to their structure, and speak in short about general characteristic of the sentences.

1. Sentence in both languages

Any coherent connection of words according to a definite syntactic pattern with some communicative purpose related to reality is considered to be a sentence. It is the main communicative language unit.

Features of the sentence:

1. The sentence is aimed at rendering some information. Such information exchange proves the role of communication as one of sentence indicators.

2. Predication establishes a certain grammatical combination of words. Sentence semantics presents the unity of nominative and predicative aspects.

3. Modality is the ground for expressing the speaker's attitude towards the content of an utterance.

According to the aim of communication sentences fall into:

1) declarative,

2) interrogative,

3) imperative,

4) exclamatory.

Declarative sentences

They split into affirmative and negative statements of real, wishful and conditional modality (The door opened. He made no remark. Раптом вона заплакала. Він не заперечував цього).

If negation stands in front of the predicate it bears the general meaning of negation (She doesn't want to leave. Він не прийшов на зустріч).

Though certain elements of a sentence may be negated as well (She studies not at the University. Він навчається не в Києві).

We should mind that English has no double negation: She never admitted her mistakes. Вона ніколи не визнавала своїх помилок.

Interrogative sentences

They possess a common communicative function and the corresponding kinds: general questions in English start with an auxiliary, modal or linking verb followed by the subject, whereas in Ukrainian - with any part of the sentence (Did you do that? Ти це зробив?).

Structural identity is observed in disjunctive\tag-questions consisting of an affirmative or negative statement followed respectively by a negative and affirmative question-tag (She is fond of music, isn't she? Ти боїшся, чи не так?). Alternative questions are characterized in both languages by isomorphic features. The beginning of these sentences presents a general question (Is it a pen or a pencil? Ви любите кіно або театр?).

Special questions are opened with an interrogative pronoun or adverb, which may be proceeded by prepositions, particles or interjections (What did you do yesterday? Що вона зробила?).

Allomorphic is the use of prepositions in the final position in English (What do you depend upon?). Rhetorical questions have a modal meaning, which does not contain any new information for a speaker. So they need no answers (Who should I blame? Невже ти цього не чув?).

Imperative sentences

They express demands, orders, commands, requests, warnings, prohibition, persuasion, etc. (Go to the classroom! Говори правду!).

Exclamatory sentences

They express exclamation (How wonderful it was! Як гарно!).

2. Contrastive analysis of structural types of sentences in Ukrainian and English

Unlike word-groups which are subject of investigation in syntax, the sentence is investigated in the so-called Major syntax. Hence, the sentence in the contrasted languages has a large number of typologically relevant features in common. The existence of such isomorphic features both in the simple and in the composite sentence is predetermined by the main common types of aspects characteristic of the sentence as a peculiar language unit.

These aspects are three: 1) structural; 2) semantic and 3) pragmatic. This aspective tracheotomy directly correlates with the meaning, form and functioning of the sentence in speech where it realizes its explicit form of an utterance corresponding to a logically complete proposition.

According to the way in which the expressed content correlates with reality, there are distinguished in the contrasted languages the following common structural types of sentences:

1) two-member sentences

2) one-member sentences.

Binary sentence structures are more characteristic of English, i.e. they are represented by a larger variety of paradigmatic subtypes than in Ukrainian. This quantitative correlation of two-member sentences in English and Ukrainian constitutes the main typological difference in the system of simple sentences of the two languages.

As a result, English two-member sentences are represented by a larger variety of extended and expanded models, than Ukrainian two-member sentences. Consequently, English two-member sentences are represented by a larger variety of paradigmatic subtypes than in Ukrainian.

One-member sentences in both languages:

1) nominative (Night. Measure for Measure. Темнота та тиша. Чудовий сон!);

2) inducive (Go right now! Проходьте!);

3) exclamatory (Great! Як гарно!);

4) infinitival (To be or not to be? Що робити?);

5) elliptical (Taking risks? Подумав?).

One-member sentences in Ukrainian :

1) indefinite personal, where the doer of an action is not identified (Нам подали на стіл обід).

In English the predicate in the sentences conveying the same idea is expressed in the Passive Voice form (We were served coffee);

2) generalized personal, where any person may be the doer of the action (Хліб сіль їж, а правду ріж. Працювали весь день).

In the English equivalent sentences the subject may be expressed by one, we, you (One can enjoy the show. You can't be happy about it);

3) impersonal, where the doer of an action can't be reconstructed (Завечоріло. Прохолодно. Мені боляче. На столі олівці).

In the corresponding English sentences most often we use the formal subject It / There, or change the structure of the sentence (Twilight set in. It is getting cold. It gives me much pain. There are pencils on the table).

4) impersonal proper (власне безособові) one-member sentences with the principal part expressed by the finite (predicate) verb, eg: Світає. Край неба палає. (Шевченко) І світає й не світає. (Тичина) Весніє вже. (Гончар) Тепер тобі одразу полегшає. (Ibid.)

The principal part in impersonal one-member sentences may sometimes be expressed by a personal verb form. Eg: Мело, крутило, скаженіло, огортаючи присмерковий край. (Гончар) По правді роби, по правді й буде. Вік живи, вік учись. (Нар. творчість)

5) impersonal sentences with the main part/finite verb expressing the state of the agent used in the dative case form, eg: Раз якось Остапові не спалось. (Коцюбинський) Забажалось королеві завоювати чуже царство. (Л. Українка)

6) impersonal sentences with the principal part expressed by verbs in -но, -то: Роботу покинуто. (Коцюбинський) Зал залито яскравим, сліпучим світлом. (Яновський) Убито, Яноша вбито! (Гончар) ...Його оддавано в рекрути, засилано на Сибір, катовано канчуками, тавровано, мов худобу. (Коцюбинський)

7) impersonal sentences with the finite verb referring to a person but expressing impersonal meaning as in Венеру за душу щипало (Котляревський) Йому кололо в боки.

Impersonal sentences with statives: Дітям спочатку було дуже нудно (Н. Лев.)

8) impersonal sentences with modal predicative phrases func tioning as part of the modal verbal predicate, eg: Йому не слід було дивитись. (Коцюбинський) "Дядька, Іване, треба розуміти"... (Стельмах) ...Неможливо знищити того, кому симпатизує народ. (Гончар)

The only one-member sentences, which are non-existent in Ukrainian, are the following:

1. Impersonal sentences which are introduced by the impersonal pronoun/subject it: It is thundering. It drizzles. It snowed. It has rained/ snowed.

2. Indefinite personal sentences in which the subject is expressed by the indefinite personal pronouns one, they, you, eg: One says. They say. You don't say so.

3. Sentences with the above-mentioned introductory "it" or "there" like: It is time to start. There is nothing/much to say.

4. Sentences with the implicit agent and passive predicate verb followed by a preposition like: He was sent for. The project is objected to everywhere.

Two-member sentences can be:

1) simple

2) composite.

Simple has only one predicative link between the subject and the predicate (She is in the garden. Він сьогодні не пішов у гості).

Composite can have more than one link of such a kind. Hence, it contains 2 clauses. It also can be compound and complex.

Compound sentences

If the links between clauses are coordinate, we deal with a compound sentence. Clauses may be joined by means of copulative and adversative conjunctions, or asyndetically in both languages (Вона не хотіла йти на концерт, але ми її умовили. He was very excited and his friends were excited as well). In English the causal conjunction for unites coordinate clauses (She came in time for we used to ask her about it not once).

Complex sentences:

If one of the clauses in a composite sentence governs another one, they are linked subordinately. Such a sentence is called complex. Depending upon the function of a subordinate clause in the whole sentence, clauses fall into:

a) subject (What was important for him was absolutely necessary for us. Хто чесно бореться, (той) завжди перемагає);

b) predicative (She was as if frightened to death. Вона не така, щоб нічого не робити по дому);

Complex sentences :

1) object (He knew that she was faithful to him. Я хотів, щоб у мене було більше вільного часу);

2) attributive (The house, which was built not far from the town, was quite big. Оце та станція, на якій я зійшов минулого разу);

3) adverbial clauses:

a) of place (He is happy to be at home where he can find his true friends. Вони пішли туди, де ми їх не чекали),

b) of time (When you are free, I am always busy. Я чекав на них, доки не пішов дощ

c) manner (She cried as she was asked. Вітер замутив воду, аж осока зашуміла),

d) comparison (He looked as if he had been caught in a trap. Вона виглядає так, начебто вона отримала двійку),

e) condition (If you ask me, I'll tell you all about this case. Якби все було добре, вона не поїхала б додому),

f) concession (She was happy, though we all knew her fault. Хоча вона й була сердитою, ми добре провели час),

g) purpose (I do it, so that you may be pleased. Ми зателефонуємо йому, щоб він не гаяв час),

h) cause (I am sorry, because you have failed to amuse me. Я розсердився, тому що ви не виконали свої обіцянки),

i) result or consequence (I sat down quickly so that you might be seen by many people. Повітря було настільки прозоре, що я бачив зорі),

j) attendant circumstances (I went down the street, my shoes were creaking) [pertain only to English]. It corresponds to a compound sentence in Ukrainian (Я пішов по вулиці, а мої черевики скрипіли).


So, a sentence is a unit of speech constructed according to language-dependent rules, which is relatively complete and independent in respect to content, grammatical structure, and intonation.

In this work we spoke about different types of the sentence in both contrasted languages. So we can speak about such isomorphic types:

1) A simple sentence is one clause. The dog is happy. Я щаслива.

2) A compound sentence is two or more clauses. These clauses are joined together with conjunctions, punctuation, or both. The dog is happy, but the cat is sad. Він щасливий, а я сумна.

3) A complex sentence is one clause with a relative clause. The dog, which is eating the bone, is happy. Собака, що гризе кісточку,щасливий.

Also sentences in both languages have different purposes:

1) A declarative sentence, or declaration, is the most common type of sentence. It tells something. It ends with a full stop . (The dog is happy. Собака щаслива.)

2) An interrogative sentence, or question, asks something. It ends with a question mark "?" (Is the dog happy? Собака щаслива?)

3) An exclamatory sentence, or exclamation, says something out of the ordinary. It ends with an exclamation mark "!" (That dog is the happiest dog I have ever seen! Це найкраща людина, яку я знаю!)

4) An imperative sentence, or command, tells someone to do something. (Give the dog a bone. Дай собаці кісточку.)

But also we have some allomorphic features concerning structural types of the sentence:

1. In Ukrainian we have indefinite personal. In English the predicate in those sentences conveying the same idea is expressed in the Passive Voice form.

2. In Ukrainian we have generalized personal. In the English equivalent sentences the subject may be expressed by one, we, you

3. In Ukrainian we have impersonal, where the doer of an action can't be reconstructed. In the corresponding English sentences most often we use the formal subject It / There, or change the structure of the sentence .

4. In Ukrainian we have impersonal proper and impersonal sentences with the principal part expressed by verbs in -но, -то.

5. Also in English we have one more type of complex sentences with adverbial clause of attending circumstances, though in Ukrainian we don't have such type. We can only make it compound in Ukrainian.

List of references

1. Кочерган М.П. Основи зіставного мовознавства. - К.: Академія, 2006. - 423с.

2. Bell R.T. Translation and Translating: Theory and Practice. - N.Y.: Longman, 1997. - 298 p.

3. Hakuta K. Reflections on Bilingualism // Landmarks of American Language and Linguistics. - Washington, 1993. - Vol. 2. - P. 66-72.

4. Hatim B., Mason J. Discourse and Translator. - N.Y.: Longman, 1997. - 258 p.

5. McArthur, Tom (ed) 1992. The Oxford companion to the English language. Oxford University Press.

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