Transgressive (linguistics)

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Transgressive is a term of linguistic morphology denoting a special form of verb. It expresses a coincidentally proceeding or following action. It is considered to be a kind of infinitive, or participle. It is often used in Balto-Slavic languages.

Czech and Slovak language[edit]

The transgressive (transgresiv, přechodník) is an form of the verb in the Czech and Slovak language. Nowadays it is used in only occasionally for artistic purposes and in set phrases and idioms. Transgressives were still used quite widely in the literary language at the beginning of the 20th century. For example, Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk contains many of them. (Someone has written this, but I do not agree with them. You can still hear transgressive in Czech. - Artists are using this often, because transgressives are a useful tool for descriptions.)

The Czech language recognizes present and past transgressives (actually, there are future transgressives as well). Present transgressive can express present or future action depending on the aspect of the verb from which it is derived.

Examples:,

  • Usednuvši u okna, začala plakat. (When she sat by the window, she began to cry.) — past transgressive
  • Děti, vidouce babičku, vyběhly ven. (The children, having seen grandma, ran out.) — present transgressive
  • Pořídí si psa, aby byla, přijdouc domů, přivítána. (She will get a dog, in order to be welcomed by someone, whenever she comes home.) — future transgressive
  • Nedbaje svého zdraví, onemocněl. (He hasn't taken care of his health, so he has fallen sick.) — transgressive used like prepozition
  • Bůh - takříkajíc Pánu našemu. (God is the name of our Lord.) — transgressive used like adverb
  • Támhlencto je jdoucí mrtvola. (That is walking dead.) - transgressive used like adjective

Polish language[edit]

In Polish, transgressives are usually called "adverbial participles" (imiesłowy przysłówkowe) and inflect neither for gender nor for number. There are two kinds of such participles: anterior (only from perfective verbs) and contemporary (only from imperfective verbs). The anterior participle (related to the Czech past transgressive) expresses an event earlier than the event described by the main clause, while the contemporary adverbial participle expresses an event simultaneous with the event described by the main clause. Nowadays, especially the anterior participle is unused in the spoken language and rare in the written language.

The contemporary adverbial participle can be derived by adding the ending -c to the 3rd person plural present form of an imperfective verb (or by adding the ending -ąc to the present stem of an imperfective verb):

jeść "to eat (imperf.)" > 3pl jedzą "[they] are eating" > jedząc "(while) eating"
nieść "to carry (imperf.)" > 3pl niosą "[they] are carrying" > niosąc "(while) carrying"
czytać "to read (imperf.)" > 3pl czytają "[they] are reading" > czytając "(while) reading"
kupować "to buy (imperf.)" > 3pl kupują "[they] are buying" > kupując "(while) buying"

The verb być "to be" is the only exception - its contemporary adverbial participle is będąc and corresponds to its future form będą "[they] will be" rather than to its present form "[they] are".

The anterior adverbial participle can be derived by replacing of the ending in the 3rd person singular masculine past form of a perfective verb with the suffix -wszy (after a vowel) or -łszy (after a consonant):

zjeść "to eat (perf.)" > zjadł "[he] ate" > zjadłszy "having eaten"
przynieść "to bring (perf.)" > przyniósł "[he] brought" > przyniósłszy "having carried"
przeczytać "to read (perf.)" > przeczytał "[he] read" > przeczytawszy "having read"
kupić "to buy (perf.)" > kupił "[he] bought" > kupiwszy "having bought"
pchnąć "to push (perf.)" > pchnął "[he] pushed" > pchnąwszy "having pushed"

Serbo-Croatian language[edit]

In all varieties of Serbo-Croatian, the transgressive forms are called "verbal adverbs" (glagolski prilozi, singular: glagolski prilog). They are common in literature and other written works, while in spoken language simple present or past tense constructions are usually used instead. They are formed similarly to the Czech and Polish transgressives. Examples are given in Gaj's Latin alphabet and Ijekavian pronunciation.

The present verbal adverb (glagolski prilog sadašnji) is formed by adding the ending -ći to the 3rd person plural present form of an imperfective verb:

pjevati "to sing" (imperf.) > 3pl pjevaju "[they] sing/are singing" > pjevajući "(while) singing"
ljubiti "to kiss" (imperf.) > 3pl ljube "[they] kiss/are kissing" > ljubeći "(while) kissing"

The past verbal adverb (glagolski prilog prošli) is formed by adding the ending -vši to the infinitive stem of a perfective verb:

otpjevati "to sing" (perf.) > otpjeva- infinitive stem > otpjevavši "having sung"
poljubiti "to kiss" (perf.) > poljubi- infinitive stem > poljubivši "having kissed"

Some perfective verbs have irregular past verbal adverbs, for example doći "to come (perf.) > došavši "having come".

The auxiliary verbs can be both perfective and imperfective. The verb biti "to be" has the present verbal adverb budući and the past verbal adverb bivši, and the verb htjeti "to want" has the present verbal adverb htijući or hoteći and the past verbal adverb htjevši or hotjevši.

Baltic languages[edit]

Both Baltic languages have multiple transgressive forms most of which are used very actively in all types modern speech.

Lithuanian language[edit]

Lithuanian has following transgressive forms:

1. The gerund (Lith. "pusdalyvis"), used with verbs in all tenses to render an action done by the sentence subject simultaneously with the action of the main verb:

Examples:

  • Dainuodamas jis nieko negirdi. – While singing, he doesn't hear anything.
  • Rašydama laišką, ji visiškai pamiršo verdančią sriubą. – While writing a letter, she totally forgot about the boiling soup.

The gerund is formed by removing the infinitive ending "-ti" and adding the suffix "-dam-", as well as endings marking gender and number:

  • m.sg. -damas, refl. -damasis
  • f.sg. -dama, refl. -damasi
  • m.pl. -dami, refl. -damiesi
  • f.pl. -damos, refl. -damosi

2. Two adverbial participles (Lith. "padalyvis") out of four (present adverbial participle and past simple adverbial participle), used with verbs in all tenses to render an action of which the sentence subject is not the agent and which takes place simultaneously with the action of the main verb (present adverbial) or before it (past simple adverbial):

Examples:

  • Važiuojant keliu netikėtai iššoko stirna. (present adverbial) – While driving on the road, a roe suddenly jumped over.
  • Premijos bus išmokėtos tik sėkmingai įvykdžius projektą. (past adverbial) – Bonuses will be paid out only having successfully carried out the project.

The adverbial participles are not conjugated and are formed by removing the ending of the respective tense and adding the suffix "-ant(is)" (present tense) or "-us(is)" (past simple tense):

  • present simple: -ant, refl. -antis
  • past simple: -us, refl. -usis

Latvian language[edit]

Latvian has following transgressive forms:

1. The "-dams" participle (Latv. "divdabjis ar -dams"), used with verbs in all tenses to render an action done by the sentence subject simultaneously with the action of the main verb:

Examples:

  • Dziedādams viņš neko nedzird. – While singing, he doesn't hear anything.
  • Rakstīdama vēstuli, viņa pavisam aizmirsa par verdošu zupu. – While writing a letter, she totally forgot about the boiling soup.

The "-dams" participle is formed by removing the infinitive ending "-t" and adding the suffix "-dam-", as well as endings marking gender and number:

  • m.sg. -dams, refl. -damies
  • f.sg. -dama, refl. -damās
  • m.pl. -dami, refl. -damies
  • f.pl. -damas, refl. -damās

2. The "-ot" participle (Latv. "divdabjis ar -ot"), used with verbs in all tenses to render an action which takes place simultaneously with the action of the main verb. Contrary to the similar form in Lithuanian, "-ot" participle can be used for secondary actions performed by the sentence subject as well (in many instances a speaker is free to choose between "-dams" and "-ot" participle):

Examples:

  • Dziedot viņš neko nedzird. – While singing, he doesn't hear anything (The main action and the secondary action are performed by the same agent, making the choice between "-ot" and "-dams" participles free).
  • Braucot pa ceļu, pēkšņi izlēca stirna. – While driving on the road, a roe suddenly jumped over. (The secondary action is performed by a different agent, thus the usage of "-ot" participle is obligatory).

The adverbial participles are not conjugated and are formed by taking the stem of the present tense and adding the suffix "-ot" or "-oties" (for reflexive verbs).

See also[edit]