A linguistic question; about predication analysis

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daoxunchang

Senior Member
Chinese China
I'm reading my linguistic textbook and have come to the "predication analysis". Here are the statement that confuses me a lot:
The predicate can be regarded as the main element, for it includes tense, modality, etc. and it may also be said to govern the arguments for it determines the number and nature of the arguments.

I cannot understand because I think a predicate and an argument are both abstract entities. How can a predicate still includes "tense, modality, etc." and an argument "number"? If they are not considered abstract here, shouldn't it be that the arguments govern the predicate, for it is predicate that changes its tense and everything according to the change of the arguments?

Thanks in advance.
 
  • konungursvia

    Banned
    Canada (English)
    Okay, this means a predicate can have "flavours" : present, future, (tenses), conditional, imperative, subjunctive (moods or modalities), or several numbers of each (past subjuncive for instance). A predicate is like an ice cream cone, and its tenses and modalities are the flavours of the scoops, of which there can be zero, one or two (and rarely, three). A predicate is a technical term regrouping, in simpler terms, verbs and words that behave as verbs. The weakness of the term "verb" is that in Latin it used to mean simply "word".
     

    daoxunchang

    Senior Member
    Chinese China
    I know in predication analysis what are grouped into the "predicate" are verbs. However, I'm not sure whether this "predicate" is absolute equivalent of "predicate" in common categorisation which divides a sentence into subjects, predicates, complements, etc.
     

    konungursvia

    Banned
    Canada (English)
    Well, when you look at the examples given in your text, you'll probably see it is the equivalent. However, in academia, there are no absolutes. :)
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    daoxunchang said:
    I'm reading my linguistic textbook and have come to the "predication analysis". Here are the statement that confuses me a lot:
    The predicate can be regarded as the main element, for it includes tense, modality, etc. and it may also be said to govern the arguments for it determines the number and nature of the arguments.

    I cannot understand because I think a predicate and an argument are both abstract entities. How can a predicate still includes "tense, modality, etc." and an argument "number"? If they are not considered abstract here, shouldn't it be that the arguments govern the predicate, for it is predicate that changes its tense and everything according to the change of the arguments?

    Thanks in advance.
    Why do you think a predicate change its tense according to an argument, please?

    Okay, this means a predicate can have "flavours" : present, future, (tenses), conditional, imperative, subjunctive (moods or modalities), or several numbers of each (past subjuncive for instance). A predicate is like an ice cream cone, and its tenses and modalities are the flavours of the scoops, of which there can be zero, one or two (and rarely, three). A predicate is a technical term regrouping, in simpler terms, verbs and words that behave as verbs. The weakness of the term "verb" is that in Latin it used to mean simply "word".
    Could you please explain what you mean by that? I'm trying to understand the underlined part but it is somehow uncomprihensible for me.:confused:

    I would say that a predicate is a verb phrase that is composed of the verb and words not belonging to the noun phrase (subject).
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    e.g. a dog barks/ two dogs bark
    Isn't this "bark" changing in accordance with the change in the number of "dog"?
    [...]
    Well, yes, this however, doesn't mean that the tense is changing too. Would you say that the verb bark from your example represents different tenses? What is changing here is the form of a verb and the grammatical information included in that form, that is all.

    Thinking of an example maybe this would hint you at something:
    He gave it to him.
    The verb includes tense and it determines arguments as you can also say:
    He gave it.
     

    languageGuy

    Senior Member
    USA and English
    I'm The predicate can be regarded as the main element, for it includes tense, modality, etc. and it may also be said to govern the arguments for it determines the number and nature of the arguments.
    Using the standard division of a sentence into subject and predicate, I think it is easy to see that the predicate contains the tense and modality.
    Here there is an additional idea that the predicate governs the subject in number and nature of arguments. The phrase 'it may also be said' indicates that this is not a typical way of looking at these ideas, but it can seen that way.

    Consider "The dogs bark" in the abstract. Does the fact that there are multiple 'dogs' make 'bark' the correct choice? Or does the fact the somethings 'bark' make 'dogs' the right choice? In the abstract with no dogs to count, you can argue that the predicate forces te subject to be plural. The predicate determines the number of the argument.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    daoxunchang said:
    I'm The predicate can be regarded as the main element, for it includes tense, modality, etc. and it may also be said to govern the arguments for it determines the number and nature of the arguments.
    Using the standard division of a sentence into subject and predicate, I think it is easy to see that the predicate contains the tense and modality.
    Here there is an additional idea that the predicate governs the subject in number and nature of arguments. The phrase 'it may also be said' indicates that this is not a typical way of looking at these ideas, but it can seen that way.

    Consider "The dogs bark" in the abstract. Does the fact that there are multiple 'dogs' make 'bark' the correct choice? Or does the fact the somethings 'bark' make 'dogs' the right choice? In the abstract with no dogs to count, you can argue that the predicate forces te subject to be plural. The predicate determines the number of the argument.
    Does the part about determining number and nature of the abstracts by a predicate relates to the number of arguments a predicate can have or the grammatical number of arguments, please? This part was a little equivocal to me when I first read the excerpt but I'd tend towards the first part of my question. Why do you think it may determine the (grammatical) number of arguments (as I concluded form your post--if I'm wrong, please, correct me)?
    Taking the example of bark; it does not determine the subject to be plural as you can say (at least theoretically) I bark, you (singular) bark.
     

    languageGuy

    Senior Member
    USA and English
    I agree with you, Thomas1. The determination is not exacting, but I think that is what the author is trying to say. You raise a good point. I interpreted 'the number and nature of the arguments' as qualities of the subject. Whether they be a number of arguments or a grammatical number of arguments, the point seems to be the same to me.
     
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