predicate: verb / verb + complement

Discussion in 'All Languages' started by Gavril, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. Gavril Senior Member

    English, USA
    What grammatical term in your language corresponds most closely to Eng. predicate? Does this term refer to a verb and its complement in a sentence, or only to the verb?

    (In this case, the "complement" of a verb can be various things, such as the object of the verb, an adjective, etc., but it generally contrasts with the subject of the verb.)

    For example, Engish predicate (< Latin praedicare "declare publicly", "assert") normally refers to both the verb of a sentence and its complement. Thus, in the sentence,

    The sky is blue

    the phrase the sky is the subject, and is blue is the predicate. In the sentence

    The man kicked the ball

    the man is the subject and kicked the ball is the predicate.

    On the other hand, Finnish predikaatti refers only to the finite verb in a sentence, not to the complement of the verb. For example, in the sentence

    Taivas on sininen "The sky is blue"

    the term predikaatti would refer only to the word on "is": it wouldn't include the adjective sininen "blue". The adjective in a clause like this would be called predikatiivi, which is related to the English term predicative adjective. In a transitive sentence -- e.g.,

    Mies potkaisi pallon "The man kicked the ball"

    -- the predikaatti would consist only of the verb potkaisi "kicked", and wouldn't include the object phrase pallon "(the) ball".

    Icelandic umsögn is (if Wikipedia is any guide) similar to Finnish predikaatti in that it only refers to a finite verb, not to the complement of that verb. On the other hand, I think Welsh traethiad corresponds fairly well to Eng. predicate.

    Which of these meanings (if either) is used in your language?
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  2. e2-e4 X Senior Member

    In Russian it appears to be complicated.

    1. We have the word "предикат" ("predicate"), but it refers more to logic than to sentence structure.

    2. In the linguistic sense, the word "сказуемое" is used to mean the "main" thing that is said about the action/activity/condition of the subject (which is defined, roughly, as the noun that names the thing, which is the "source" of the action; its main sign is that it is always in the nominative case). There are three cases of its usage:

    a) in the case of the "normal" verbs it means a verb, and only a verb;
    b) in the case of copula verbs, it means both the verb and the noun/adjective that is attached to it;
    c) and in the case of, let's say, "conditional" verbs (I do not know the correct English term, probably, "aspectual"? I mean verbs that explain modes and conditions of actions, meant by another verb in the same phrase, for example, "to begin", "to finish", "to continue" and "to be able"), it means the whole couple of the two verbs;
    d) in the mixed case of (b) and (c) ("he began to be a green ladder by three o'clock PM"), both are included into the "сказуемое" ("он начал быть зелёной лестницей к трём часам дня" — I marked the "сказуемое" in bold).

    (However, I'm not as sure of the last one. It must be like this, according to the logic, but I never read how it's dealt with in fact).

    3. There is a problem with the second usage (b): in the present tense, normally no copula verb is used, so the "сказуемое" cannot include any verb, only the noun/adjective. Authors of schoolbooks go ahead and just say that the copula (which is the verb "есть", whose behavious is very interesting and strange) is "omitted". How can be "omitted" a verb that is never there (well, almost never, exceptions are extremely rare), I honestly cannot understand. I think, this is just a reverance to the Greco-Latin tradition of grammar teaching, nothing more.
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2012
  3. Rallino Moderatoúrkos

    In Turkish I don't think we have a word referring to the verb and the rest of the sentence at the same time.

    1. Especially when the predicate is a noun or an adjective, e.g.: The book is red. or I am an icecream. etc, we don't use the verb to be, but rather the adjectives and the nouns get inflected.

    Ben (bir) dondurmayım = I am (an) icecream.
    In this case dondurmayım is called fiilimsi - which, as funny and unoriginal as it may sound, litterally means: verb-ish.

    2. When we have a normal verb, like to do, to eat, to go and so on, we talk about özne (subject), yüklem (finite verb) and tümleç (complement).
    So a sentence like: I'm going to a pub to hang out with a few of friends of mine. = Ben birkaç arkadaşla takılmak için bara gidiyorum.

    * özne (subj.)
    * yüklem (finite verb)
    * tümleç (complement)

    Basically tümleç (complement) is the rest of the sentence. But there is no term, that I know of, that covers both the yüklem (the finite verb) and the tümleç (complement).
    And if you're wondering, the word tümleç litterally means complement, with its root being tüm = whole. Basically it makes the sentence a whole.
  4. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Hi Gavril,

    In Greek we use the terms «κατηγόρημα» [kati'ɣorima] (neut.) & «κατηγορούμενο» [katiɣo'rumeno] (neut.)

    «Κατηγόρημα» [kati'ɣorima] (neut.) is the predicate and it's the clause that defines the sub./obj. in the sentence; e.g "Peter is a student", the red part is the «κατηγόρημα».
    «Κατηγορούμενο» [katiɣo'rumeno] (neut.) is the predicative and it states something about the subj. or the obj. in the sentence with the use of a conjunctive verb; e.g "Peter is a student", the purple part is the «κατηγορούμενο» (nominal predicative in this case).
    «Κατηγόρημα» [kati'ɣorima] (neut.) & «κατηγορούμενο» [katiɣo'rumeno] (neut.) are compounds; prefix and preposition «κατὰ» kātằ --> against, down to, down from + Classical verb «ἀγορεύω» ăgŏ'reuō --> to proclaim, declaim
  5. OneStroke Senior Member

    Hong Kong, China
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    謂語 wei4yu3 refers to both the verb and its complement.

    動詞 dong4ci2 means 'verb'. 'Dongci' refers to the nature of the word rather than its position in the sentence. For example, 游泳 you2yong3 is a 'dongci', but it can be used as a 主語 zhu3yu3 subject or 賓語 object, e.g. 我喜歡游泳. 冬天游泳是非常困難的事.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
  6. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Hi, OneStroke!

    Isn't the compliment 宾语?
  7. OneStroke Senior Member

    Hong Kong, China
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    Oops, corrected. :eek:
  8. rayloom

    rayloom Senior Member

    Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Arabic (Hijazi Arabic)
    In Arabic, the predicate is the verb+complement.
    Or if the sentence was an equational sentence (not requiring a copula), then the predicate is the complement (since there's no verb).
  9. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    rayloom's question made me have a doubt.
    In Chinese copula is often omitted, for example 她很漂亮,汽車好快,箱子太重,etc.
    How would you analyse these sentences? Which one is the 謂語?
  10. OneStroke Senior Member

    Hong Kong, China
    Chinese - Cantonese (HK)
    As it happens, this has been on my mind for a while. I think 很漂亮, 好快 and 太重 would be the 謂語s respectively. I think that's the beautiful thing about not treating verbs (including those pesky disappearing copular ones!) as one of the six basic elements of the Chinese sentence.

    Adding 是...的 to each of those sentences would form 'normal' sentences: 她是很漂亮的, 汽車是很快的, 箱子是太重的, but those are used in a very limited number of situations (e.g. 無可否認,她是很漂亮的,可是我覺得她缺了內在美。)
  11. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Bắc Kinh
    Wu Chinese & Italian
    Thanks OneStroke. Very helpful as I;ve never studied Chinese grammar.

    Actually, this reminded me that Italian grammar is similar.

    In Italian, the predicate is called "predicato".

    There are two kinds of predicate: predicato verbale (verbal predicate) e predicato nominale (nominal predicate).

    Predicato verbale is formed by only a verb, is the most common kind. Then the compliment is apart, is not part of the predicate.
    Predicato verbale is the case of most verbs, except those copula verbs.
    In this case, we can say predicate=verb.

    Predicato nominale has copula + adjective or noun.
    The most common kind is with the verb "to be". But it can also be formed with verbs similar to "to be", such as "to resemble", "to look like", "to seem like", etc.
    The copula is the verb "to be" (et similia), then what comes after is called "complemento predicativo" (complement of the predicate).
    Predicato nominale includs also the compliment.

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