Scientific journal
European Journal of Natural History
ISSN 2073-4972

ADJECTIVE-BASED MODALATES AT THE INTERSECTION OF DIFFERENT WORD CLASSES: LEXICOGRAPHIC ASPECT

Shigurov V.V. 1
1 Federal State Budgetary Educational Institution of Higher Education «National Research Ogarev Mordovia State University»
The article presents the results of lexicographical studies of adjective-based modalates at the intersection of different word classes. According to the materials of the Russian language dictionaries, the analysis revealed some trends in the functioning of short adjectives such as really, probably, truly, certainly, which do not correlate with usual adverbs in modern speech. The article shows contextual conditions of their use in the syntactic function of the predicate in a two-member sentence (in rare cases – the main part of an impersonal sentence), as well as convergence in the anteposition with affirmative particles, and when used in the interposition with contextual adverbs. Besides, the paper characterizes the status of adjective-based introductory-modal words at the intersection of modalation and particulation transposition processes as well as of modalation and contextual adverbialization. The results of the research can be used to create transpositional Russian grammar, as well as to study controversial issues of theory of transitivity and syncretism in the classroom for Russian grammar in high school.
The article presents the results of lexicographical studies of adjective-based modalates at the intersection of different word classes. According to the materials of the Russian language dictionaries, the analysis revealed some trends in the functioning of short adjectives such as really, probably, truly, certainly, which do not correlate with usual adverbs in modern speech. The article shows contextual conditions of their use in the syntactic function of the predicate in a two-member sentence (in rare cases – the main part of an impersonal sentence), as well as convergence in the anteposition with affirmative particles, and when used in the interposition with contextual adverbs. Besides, the paper characterizes the status of adjective-based introductory-modal words at the intersection of modalation and particulation transposition processes as well as of modalation and contextual adverbialization. The results of the research can be used to create transpositional Russian grammar, as well as to study controversial issues of theory of transitivity and syncretism in the classroom for Russian grammar in high school.
Russian language
grammar
transposition
modalation
part of speech
adjective
adverb
predicative
particle
modal word
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Among the words and phrases, transposed in inter-part-of-speech semantic and syntactic category of introductory-modal units, adjectives, adverbs and predicatives occupy a special place. Depending on the type of correlation with the words of different categories, they can be divided into: (a) adverbs such as by the way, on the contrary, conversely, in addition, in contrast, certainly, in general, by no means, etc., which do not correlate with short adjectives and predicatives with the meaning of the condition and / or evaluation; (B) short adjectives ending in -o, -e such as really, of course),etc., which do not correlate (except speech adverbialization in the position between the subject and predicate with adverbs and predicatives; (C) short adjectives ending in -o such as evident, clear, etc., which correlate with predicatives, i.e. able to act in the impersonally-predicative position, but without correlates among adverbs; (D) short adjectives ending in -o such as strange, surprising, amazing, pitiful, said etc., which correlate with adverbs and predicatives.; (E) short adjectives ending in -o, -e such as definitely, looks like, etc., which correlate with adverbs, but without correlates among predicatives; (F) short plural masculine and feminine adjectives such as guilty, which correlate with etiquette interjections, but without correlates among adverbs and predicatives; (G) long neuter adjectives in the positive and (analytical) superlative degree of comparison such as the main, the primary, the most, the least, the worst, the best, most important, etc., which correlate with abstract adjective-based nouns or substantivates; (H) adjectives and / or adverbs, including the predicative function, in synthetic and analytical forms of comparative degree such as more correctly, more precisely, easier, shorter, better, more strictly, etc. and analytical form of superlatives such as most correctly, most precisely, most likely, most probably etc. Being used in the introductory-modal meaning, adjectives and adverbs often retain their grammatical meanings of comparative and superlative degrees of comparison, allowing the speaker to evaluate the linguistic form of the expressed idea as the more / most accurate, correct, concise etc.; cf.: (put it) shortly (about semantics of relative and irrelative degrees of quality, ref. the research of Yu.L. Vorotnikov [23–24]). In addition, modalates can correlate with nouns such as fact, truth; predicative verb form such as I think, they say, just imagine, look, etc.; semi-predicative verb form such as apparently, to put it mildly, etc.; substantive representation such as apparently, evidently, to tell the truth, etc. (ref. [11, 14–17, 19–22]).

As a result of the transposition into introductory-modal words and expressions, linguistic units of different classes weaken to some extent and sometimes completely lose their semantic and grammatical characteristics – semantics of the part of speech, meaning of grammatical forms, function as a member of a sentence, thus getting isolated from the paradigms of respective categories and acquiring in the introductory position a particular subjective modality which reflects the position of the mode subject on the reported information (about the types, levels and limit of the transposition of linguistic units in the system of parts of speech and inter-part-of-speech classes also ref [7–10, 12–13, 18, 21).

Among introductory-modal words and expressions a few short adjectives such as indeed, likely, genuinely, of course occupy a special position, and they do not correlate with usual adverbs in the contemporary Russian language. They are usually used in the syntactic function of predicate of a two-member sentence (in rare cases – as the main part of an impersonal sentence; see below for likely, sometimes approximating affirmative particles in anteposition, and contextual adverbs in interposition. Cf. syncretic contexts of their modalation and particulation (1), as well as modalation and contextual and adverbialization (2):

(1) Indeed, this is talented!;

(2) The poet is talented, indeed.

When building a scale of transition [S(hort) adj(ective) -> S(hort) adj(ective) m(od) -> s(hort) adj(ective) m(od) -> s(hort) adj(ective) M(od) -> M (od)] for these short adjectives we take into account only the “pure” modalation contexts and combined modulation contexts in the periphery of introductory-modal units (1) with the transposition process of particulation, although the special symbol [O(ften)] for approximating particles is not indicated on the scale [cf. graphic explication of the stage: s(hort) adj(ective) M(od)]. Examples of intersection of the transposition processes (2) of modalation and contextual adverbialization are evacuated outside the modalation scale, which records the main transposition vector of short adjectives toward introductory-modal words.

Lexicographical development of syncretic word forms such as indeed can be very controversial, as such word forms can be found in different contexts at the attraction of various aspects of short adjectives, adverbs, predicatives, particles and introductory-modal words. Thus, in the Great Academic Dictionary of the Contemporary Russian Literary Language the adverbialized short form of the adjective indeed in the function of a modal adverbial modifier is recorded as an adverb with the meaning “really, indeed, in fact, precisely” (3), provided that in one dictionary entry it goes with the original adjective denoting “existing, that exists in reality; not imaginary, real” (4) [4, p. 654–656]. It is noted that the adverb is often used in the meaning of an introductory word (5) [ibid: 656]. Cf. examples from the Great Academic Dictionary:

(3) Our achievements are really striking, and the work program for the future is also tremendous (Kirov. Articles and speeches, 1934);

(4) Vasya stayed with the colonel, he didn’t separate from him…, he protected him from all dangers, real and imaginary (K. Simonov. Maturity);

(5) In front of me there was something humming, and for a moment I thought that a heard a human voice. I listened carefully: indeed, it was a human voice (L. Tolstoy. The Cossacks).

In the Concise Academic Dictionary of the Russian Language indeed in the function of a modal adverbial modifier is also treated as an adverb, but in a separate dictionary entry (ref.: [1, p. 378]). This adverb in the position between the subject and predicate is assigned the meaning “really, truly, indeed” [Ibid]:

(6) She was standing with her back to me. I didn’t see her face, but I felt that she was really upset and, maybe, there were tears in her eyes (Katerli. Bronze spinning wheel).

As in the Great Academic Dictionary, the Concise Academic Dictionary illustrates the introductory function of the word really with antepositional contexts where the word form approximates not only introductory-modal words, but also modal, affirmative particle such as yes:

(7) Indeed, the battery overlooked almost the entire arrangement of the Russian troops (L. Tolstoy. War and Peace) (? ?yes’).

Almost the same pattern can be observed in the “Great Dictionary of the Russian Language”, edited by S.A. Kuznetsov [5, p. 246], where, however, the introductory function of the adverb really is comprehended not as a meaning of an introductory word, unlike the previous academic dictionaries, but as an independent introductory word expressing sureness. As an example,it also contains a sentence with a word form really used in the anteposition to the predicative basis of the statement:

(8) This time, indeed, he is right.

In the “Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian Language” by S.I. Ozhegov and N.Yu. Shvedova [6, p. 157], introductory-modal use of the word form really is connected with an adverb which is interpreted as an introductory word, as in the “Great Dictionary of the Russian Language” although within the same dictionary entry with a capital adjective existing, just as it is presented in the “Great Academic Dictionary of the Contemporary Russian Literary Language”. Some inconsistency in the interpretation of the word form really, as we have seen, is connected primarily with a different comprehension of its introductory status: sometimes it is regarded as an introductory meaning of an adverb, sometimes as an independent introductory word. The degree of remoteness of the adverbial word form really from the semantic structure of the original adjective existing is interpreted in different ways, which is reflected in their lexicographical description within the same or different dictionary entries. These fluctuations can be partly explained by contextual and functional character of the adverbialization of this short adjective, which is not related to the violation of the semantic identity of the original adjective item. In fact, it is difficult to imagine any other contextual conditions for the adverbial use of the short form of the adjective in question, except the ones where the function is implemented modal circumstances (see above examples [2–3, 6]).

As for other short adjectives such as genuinely, likely, certainly, the different degree of their modalation, sometimes combined with adverbialization and particulation in the dictionaries mentioned above, is also interpreted inconsistently. Let us mention some differences of such kind. Thus, in the “Concise Academic Dictionary of the Russian Language” adverbialization of the short adjective form genuinely, i.e. transposition into the adverb with the meaning “truly”, is illustrated by contexts with its antepositional use, which is not connected with the position between the subject and predicate, unlike really (see examples [2–3]). Cf.:

(9) There have always been reasonable people who can distinguish pseudoscientific trumpery from genuinely scientific discoveries (G. Markov. Siberia) [3, p. 196].

Introductory-modal use of the word form genuinely is recorded in this dictionary under the dictionary entry of the adverb genuinely related to the adjective genuine, authentic [Ibid: 196]. For comparison, it should be mentioned that in the “Great Dictionary of the Russian Language” edited by S.A. Kuznetsov [5, p. 870] the adverbialized form genuinely is recorded within the dictionary entry of the adjective genuine, and its introductory use is not recorded at all.

Regarding the short adjective probably it can be mentioned that it is subject to modalation and particulation only. The cases of its approximating adverbs were not recorded. Its introductory-modal function is comprehended in the Concise Academic Dictionary of the Russian Language in a separate dictionary entry, see: “probably; introductory. Apparently, probably” [5, p. 152]). In the “Explanatory Dictionary of the Russian Language” by S.I. Ozhegov and N.Yu. Shvedova [6, p. 75] introductory-modal use of the word form probably is recorded within the dictionary entry for the adjective probable, acceptable; in the same dictionary entry there are separate cases of use of the short adjective in the contexts of modalation (10) and particulation (11).Cf.:

(10) Probably, he won’t come (introductory word meaning probably, likely’);

(11) Is there going to be the lecture? – Probably (particle meaning confirmation with a shade of doubt).

Besides, this dictionary draws the readers’ attention to the possibility of introductory-modal use of analytical form of the superlative adjective most likely. Cf. contexts of use of grammatical homonyms:

(12) I think she is waiting for my death to get hold of my flat then… or – which is most likely – they have plotted it together in the social services office, to kill me slowly with a poison, to sell my flat and share the money) (E. Rusakov. How I was dying) (adjective meaning ?probably’ in the analytical form of the superlative degree);

(13) Through a door crack in the corridor, twenty metres from him, he saw a lit place where, most likely, the nurse on duty was sitting at her desk (P. Galitsky. Shagal’s price) (adjective-based introductory-modal expression meaning “highly likely, certainly”).

It is obvious that the mode subject’s degree of certainty in the reality of the information transferred in the constructions with introductory-modal expression most likely, compared with introductory-modal word probably is a little higher.

Cf. modalation contexts of the adjective in question in the positive (14) and superlative (15) degree:

(14) Probably, the gentleman-at-arms didn’t have to be really witty to consider himself the winner over the invincible together with his marshal (Yu. Davydov. Blue tulips);

(15) Most likely, a tremendous storm carried this vessel far to the south. (А. Belyaev. Island of lost ships).

It should be added that sometimes the adjective word form probably is subject to functional predicativation as the main part with an adjacent infinitive in the impersonal sentence; cf.:

(16) Do your best in your job; you are quite likely to be successful in your career (М. Borisova. Two little dicky birds) [modal-evaluative predicative meaning “it is possible (to be successful)”].

Just as a short adjective probably, the adjective word form certainly passes the parallel process of adverbialization at the transposition into the category of introductory-modal words and phrases, which is consistently observed in contemporary dictionaries. The sustainability of its introductory-modal use meaning categorical reliability is reflected lexicographically as a separate dictionary entry. Thus, in the Concise Academic Dictionary of the Russian Language there is an entry: “Of course... Introductory word. Needless to say, without a doubt” [23, p. 89]:

(17) Of course, you don’t care about me (А.N. Tolstoy. Sisters).

The adjective-based modal particle affirmative is recorded in the absolutive position in the same dictionary entry:

(18) “This method is really expensive!” – “Certainly!” (М. Gorky. Egor Bulychev and others).

The degree of semantic digression of the introductory-modal word certainly from the short initial adjective final is much higher as compared to the above-examined modalation cases of adjectival word forms indeed, genuinely, of course. Cf.:

(19) He is just twenty-four! And whose time is endless? Right!) (Т. Solomatina. Big dog, or «Eclectic picturesque Babylonian story about the hidden» (short adjective with negation meaning ?endless, limitless’);

(20) Doubtless, the case was charmingly rare: a young Russian scientist goes to Germany – the place that provided the latest scientific achievements – to bring Russian achievements there. (D. Granin. Bison) (introductory-modal word meaning doubtless’).

The introductory-modal word certainly gets a similar lexicographical development in the “Great Dictionary of the Russian Language”, edited by S.A. Kuznetsov [5, p. 449].

Conclusion

Thus, the analysis of typical contexts of the use of short adjectives such as действительно (really) in contemporary dictionaries shows how contradictory from the grammatical viewpoint word forms can be which are in one way or another exposed to modalation in the areas of interaction between different word classes (adjectives, adverbs, particles) and interclass categories (introductory-modal words and predicatives).

The work is carried out within the project “Integrated research of modalation as a type of graded transposition of linguistic units into the semantic and syntactic category of introductory-modal words” with the financial support of the Russian Humanitarian Scientific Foundation (grant No. 15-04-00039a).