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Encyclopedia > Copula

In linguistics, a copula is a word used to link the subject of a sentence with a predicate (a subject complement or an adverbial). Although it might not itself express an action or condition, it serves to equate (or associate) the subject with the predicate. The word 'copula' originates from the Latin noun for a "link or tie" that connects two different things (for a short history of the copula see the appendix to Moro 1997 and references cited there). Copula can refer to: copula, a term used in linguistics copula (statistics) copula linguae, an embryonic structure of the tongue Category: ... Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which can be theoretical or applied. ... According to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle, every sentence can be divided in two main constituents, one being the subject of the sentence and the other being its predicate. ... In linguistics, a sentence is a unit of language, characterized in most languages by the presence of a finite verb. ... In traditional grammar, a predicate is one of the two main parts of a sentence (the other being the subject, which the predicate modifies). ... A complement is a phrase that fits a particular slot in the syntax requirements of a parent phrase. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... In linguistics, a noun or noun substantive is a lexical category which is defined in terms of how its members combine with other grammatical kinds of expressions. ...


A copula is sometimes (though not always) a verb or a verb-like part of speech. In English primary education grammar courses, a copula is often called a linking verb. It has been suggested that Verbal agreement be merged into this article or section. ... A primary school in Český Těšín, Poland Primary education is the first stage of compulsory education. ...


The term is generally used to refer to the main copular verb in the language: in the case of English, this is "to be". It can also be used to refer to all such verbs in the language: in that case, English copulas include "to be", "to become", "to get", "to feel", and "to seem". Other verbs have secondary uses as copulative verbs, as fall in "The zebra fell victim to the lion."


For a complete list see: List of English copulae. This is a list of English copulae. ...

Contents

The copula in English

Use

We can identify several sub-uses of the copula:

  • Identity: "I only want to be myself." "When the area behind the dam fills, it will be a lake." "The Morning Star is the Evening Star." "Boys will be boys."
  • Class membership. To belong to a set or class: "She could be married." "Dogs are canines." "Moscow is a large city." Depending on one's point of view, all other uses can be considered derivatives of this use, including the following non-copular uses in English, as they all express a subset relationship.
  • Predication (property and relation attribution): "It hurts to be blue." "Will that house be big enough?" "The hen is next to the cockerel." "I am confused." Such attributes may also relate to temporary conditions as well as inherent qualities: "I will be tired after running." "Will you be going to the play tomorrow?" but please note that a linking verb has nothing to do with these so called "Be"- verbs.(see below)

“Superset” redirects here. ...

Non-copular uses

  • As an auxiliary verb:
    • To form the passive voice: "I was told that you wanted to see me"
    • To add continuous aspect to tenses: "It is raining"
  • Meaning "to exist": "I want only to be, and that is enough." "There's no sense in making a scientific inquiry about what species the Loch Ness Monster is, without first establishing that the Loch Ness Monster indeed is." "To be or not to be, that is the question." "I think therefore I am."

Note that the auxiliary verb function derives from the copular function; and, depending on one's point of view, one can still interpret the verb as a copula and the following verbal form as being adjectival. Abelard in his Dialectica made an argument against the idea that the copula can express existence based on a reductio ad absurdum (Kneale - Kneale 1962 and Moro 1997). In linguistics, an auxiliary (also called helping verb, auxiliary verb, or verbal auxiliary) is a verb functioning to give further semantic or syntactic information about the main or full verb following it. ... Pierre Abélard (in English, Peter Abelard) or Abailard (1079 - April 21, 1142) was a French scholastic philosopher. ... Reductio ad absurdum (Latin: reduction to the absurd) also known as an apagogical argument, reductio ad impossibile, or proof by contradiction, is a type of logical argument where one assumes a claim for the sake of argument, derives an absurd or ridiculous outcome, and then concludes that the original assumption...


A unified theory of copular sentences

Along with copular sentences where the canonical order of predication is displayed - that is, the subject precedes the predicate - as in a picture of the wall is the cause of the riot there can also be "inverse copular sentences" where this order is mirrored as in the cause of the riot is a picture of the wall (cf. Everaert et al 2006). Although these two sentences are superficially very similar it can be shown that they embody very different properties. So, for example it is possible to form a sentence like which riot do you think that a picture of the wall is the cause of but not which wall do you think that the cause of the riot was a picture of. The distinction between these two types of sentences, technically referred to as "canonical" vs. inverse copular sentences, respectively - and the unified theory of copular sentences associated to it - has been proved to be valid across-languages and has led to some refinement of the theory of clause structure. In particular it challenges one of the major dogmas of the theory of clause structure, i.e. that the two basic constituents of a sentence Noun Phrase and Verb Phrase are associated to the logical/grammatical functions of subject and predicate (cf. phrase structure rules and sentence (linguistics)). In fact, copular sentences show that this axiom is not adequate on empirical grounds since the Noun Phrase that cooccurs with the Verb Phrase in a copular sentence can be the predicate and the subject be contained in the Verb Phrase. Interestingly, it has been suggested that inverse copular sentences appear to play a sharp role in setting the pro-drop parameter. In Italian, for example in sentences of the type Noun Phrase verb Noun Phrase, the verb generally agrees with the Noun Phrase on the left with one exception: inverse copular sentences. One can construe minimal pairs like the cause of the riot is/*are these pictures of the wall vs. la causa della rivolta sono/*è queste foto del muro: the two sentences are one the gloss of the other with only one difference: the copula is singular in Italian and plural in English. If one does not want to give up the idea that agreement is on the left, then the only option is to assume that pro occurs between the copula and the Noun Phrase on the left. That pro can occur as a predicate must be in fact independently assumed to assign a proper structure to sentences like sono io (is me: "it's me") which can by no means be considered a transformation of *io sono, which has no meaning. According to a tradition that can be tracked back to Aristotle, every sentence can be divided in two main constituents, one being the subject of the sentence and the other being its predicate. ... In traditional grammar, a predicate is one of the two main parts of a sentence (the other being the subject, which the predicate modifies). ... // Copular sentences are sentences containing the copula. ... Phrase-structure rules were used in early transformational grammar (TGG) to describe a given languages syntax. ... In linguistics, a sentence is a unit of language, characterized in most languages by the presence of a finite verb. ... A pro-drop language (from pronoun-dropping) is a language where pronouns can be deleted when they are in some sense pragmatically inferable (the precise conditions vary from language to language, and can be quite intricate). ...


Copula deletion

In informal speech, the copula may be dropped. This is a feature of African American Vernacular English but is also used by a variety of English speakers in informal contexts. Ex. "Where you at?" "We at the store." E-Prime is a variant of the English language that prohibits the use of the copula in all its forms. Note: This page or section contains IPA phonetic symbols in Unicode. ... Dr. David Bourland coined the term E-Prime, short for English Prime, in the 1965 work A Linguistic Note: Writing in E-Prime to refer to the English language modified by prohibiting the use of the verb to be. E-Prime arose from Alfred Korzybskis General Semantics and his...


Conjugation

As in most Indo-European languages, the English copula is the most irregular verb, due to constant use. Most English verbs (traditionally known as "weak verbs") have just four separate forms, e.g. "start", "starts", "starting", "started". A large minority (traditionally known as "strong verbs") have five separate forms, e.g. "begin", "begins", "beginning", "began", "begun". "To be" is a very special case in having eight forms: "be", "am", "is", "are", "being", "was", "were", "been". Historically it had even more, including "art", "wast", "wert", and, occasionally, "best" as a subjunctive. Proto-Indo-European Indo-European studies The Indo-European languages include some 443 (SIL estimate) languages and dialects spoken by about three billion people, including most of the major language families of Europe and western Asia, which belong to a single superfamily. ... In Germanic languages, weak verbs are those verbs that have a regular inflection, in which the stem of a word is not changed by ablaut. ... A strong inflection is an irregular inflection, in which the stem of a word changes. ...


Copula as subset relator

From one perspective, the copula always relates two things as subsets. Take the following examples:

  1. John is a doctor.
  2. John and Mary are doctors.
  3. Doctors are educated.
  4. Mary is running.
  5. Running is fun.

Example 1 includes John in the set of all doctors. Example 2 includes John and Mary both in the set of all doctors. Example 3 includes the set of doctors in the set of those who are educated.


Example 4 is different. Example 4 includes Mary's state at the time of utterance in the set of states consistent with running. Example 5 then includes the set of states consistent with running in the set of states consistent with fun. A stative verb is one which asserts that one of its arguments has a particular property (possibly in relation to its other arguments). ... Any verb that is not a stative verb is a dynamic verb. ...


Distinguishing between a copula and an action verb

You can generally tell between a copula and an action verb by adding the verb "to seem" or "to be" in its place. A verb is a part of speech that usually denotes action (bring, read), occurrence (decompose, glitter), or a state of being (exist, stand). Depending on the language, a verb may vary in form according to many factors, possibly including its tense, aspect, mood and voice. ...


Example of an Action Verb: Sam looks at lettuce. Sam seems at lettuce? Sam is at lettuce? The latter two don't make sense, so "looks" in this case is being used as an action verb.


Example of a Copula: Sam looks happy. Sam seems happy? Sam is happy? The latter two make sense; "looks" is used as a copula in this case.


Copulae in other languages

Languages tend to use copulae in quite different ways.


The Indo-European family

Main article: Indo-European copula

In Indo-European languages, the words meaning "to be" (originating in stem *es) often sound similar to each other. Due to the high frequency of their use, their inflection retains a considerable degree of similarity in some cases. Thus, for example, the English form is is an apparent cognate of German ist, Latin est and Russian jest', in spite the fact that the Germanic, Italic, and Slavic language groups split at least three thousand years ago. A feature common to all Indo-European languages is the presence of a verb corresponding to the English verb to be. ... Proto-Indo-European Indo-European studies The Indo-European languages include some 443 (SIL estimate) languages and dialects spoken by about three billion people, including most of the major language families of Europe and western Asia, which belong to a single superfamily. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... Look up cognate in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


A feature of most Romance languages is the coexistence of two different verbs meaning "to be", the main one from the Latin sum, and a secondary one from sto (see Romance copula). The difference is that the former usually refers to essential characteristics, whilst the latter refers to states and situations, e.g. "Bob is old" versus "Bob is well". (Note that the English words just used, "essential" and "state", are also cognate with the Latin infinitives esse and stare.) In Spanish, the quite high degree of verbal inflection, plus the existence of two copulae (ser and estar), means that there are 105 separate forms to express the eight in English, and the one in Chinese. The Romance languages, also called Romanic languages, are a subfamily of the Italic languages, specifically the descendants of the Vulgar Latin dialects spoken by the common people evolving in different areas after the break-up of the Roman Empire. ... For other uses, see Latin (disambiguation). ... The copula or copulae (the verb or verbs meaning to be) in all Romance languages derive from the Latin verbs SVM and STO. The former was the copular verb to be (ultimately from the Indo-European copula *h1es-), and the latter mainly meant to stand (ultimately from the Indo-European... Inflection of the Spanish lexeme for cat, with blue representing the masculine gender, pink representing the feminine gender, grey representing the form used for mixed-gender, and green representing the plural number. ...

sum-derived sto-derived
"Bob is old." "Bob is well."
Italian Bob è vecchio. Bob sta bene.
Spanish Bob es viejo. Bob está bien.

In some cases, the verb itself changes the meaning of the adjective/sentence. The following examples are from Portuguese:

sum-derived sto-derived
"Bob is old." "Bob has grown old."
Bob é velho. Bob está velho.
"Bob is foolish." "Bob is acting silly."
Bob é parvo. Bob está parvo.
"Bob is good." "Bob is well."
Bob é bom. Bob está bom.

In certain languages there are not only two copulae but the syntax is also changed when one is distinguishing between states or situation and essential characteristics. For example, in Irish, describing the subject's state or situation typically uses the normal VSO ordering with the verb . The copula is, which is used to state essential characteristics or equivalences, requires a change in word order so that the subject does not immediately follow the copula (see Irish syntax). For other uses, see Syntax (disambiguation). ... Irish syntax is rather different from that of most Indo-European languages, notably because of its VSO word order. ...


In Slavic languages, a similar distinction is made by putting a state in the instrumental case, while characteristics are in the nominative. This is used with all the copulas (e.g. "become" is normally used with the instrumental). It also allows the distinction to be made when the copula is omitted (zero copula) in East Slavic languages (in other Slavic languages the copula is not omitted). The Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages) comprise the languages of the Slavic peoples. ... In linguistics, the instrumental case (also called the eighth case) indicates that a noun is the instrument or means by which the subject achieves or accomplishes an action. ... The nominative case is a grammatical case for a noun, which generally marks the subject of a verb, as opposed to its object or other verb arguments. ...


Haitian Creole

Haitian Creole, a French-based creole language, has a reputation as being rather exotic linguistically when compared to French and the other Romance languages; and it lives up to this reputation with its copula system. It has three forms of the copula: se, ye, and the zero copula, no word at all, (whose position we will indicate with a placeholder "_", just for purposes of illustration). Haitian Creole (kreyòl ayisyen) is a creole language It is spoken in Haiti by about 8. ... A French creole, more properly French-based creole language, is a creole language with substantial influence from the French language. ... Zero copula is a linguistic phenomenon whereby the presence of the copula is implied, rather than stated explicitly as a verb or suffix. ...


Although no textual record exists of Haitian at its earliest stages of development from French, se is obviously derived from French c'est (IPA [sε]), which is the normal French contraction of ce (that) and the copula est (third-person singular of the present indicative of the verb être, ultimately from Latin sum). Articles with similar titles include the NATO phonetic alphabet, which has also informally been called the “International Phonetic Alphabet”. For information on how to read IPA transcriptions of English words, see IPA chart for English. ...


The derivation of ye is less obvious; but we can assume that the French source was il est ("he/it is"), which, in rapidly spoken French, is very commonly pronounced as y est (IPA [jε]).


The use of a zero copula is unknown in French, and it is thought to be an innovation from the early days when Haitian was first developing as a Romance-based pidgin. Coincidentally, Latin also sometimes used a zero copula. This article is about simplified languages. ...


There appears to be no trace of Latin sto.


Distinction between se, ye and zero copula

Which of se/ye/_ is used in any given copula clause depends on complex syntactic factors that we can superficially summarize in these four rules:


First: Use _ (i.e., no word at all) in declarative sentences where the complement is an adjective phrase, prepositional phrase, or adverb phrase:

  • Li te _ an Ayiti. (She past-tense in Haiti; "she was in Haiti")
  • Liv-la _ jon. (Book-the yellow; "the book is yellow")
  • Timoun-yo _ lakay. (Kids-the home; "the kids are [at] home")

Second: Use se when the complement is a noun phrase. But note that whereas other verbs come after any tense/mood/aspect particles (like pa to mark negation, or te to explicitly mark past tense, or ap to mark progressive aspect), se comes before any such particles:

  • Chal se ekriven. (Charles is writer.)
  • Chal se pa ekriven. (Charles is not writer; cf. With the verb kouri ("run"): Chal pa kouri, not Chal kouri pa.)
  • Chal, ki se ekriven, pa vini. (Charles, who is writer, not come.)

Third: Use se where English or French have a dummy "it" subject: A dummy pronoun (or more formally expletive pronoun or pleonastic pronoun) is a type of pronoun used in non-pro-drop languages, such as English, when a particular argument of a verb (or preposition) is nonexistent, unknown, irrelevant, already understood, or otherwise not to be spoken of directly, but a...

  • Se mwen! ("It's me!", French C'est moi!)
  • Se pa fasil. ("It's not easy", colloquial French C'est pas facile)

And finally: use the other copula form, ye, in situations where the sentence's syntax leaves the copula at the end of a phrase:

  • Kijan ou ye? ("How you are?")
  • Pou kimoun liv-la te ye? (Of who book-the past-tense is?; "Whose book was it?")
  • M pa konnen kimoun li ye. (I not know who he is; "I don't know who he is.")
  • Se yon ekriven Chal ye (It's a writer Charles is; "Charles is a writer!"; cf. French C'est un écrivain qu'il est)

The above is, however, only a superficial analysis. For more details on the syntactic conditions as well as on Haitian-specific copula constructions such as se kouri m ap kouri (It's run I progressive run; "I'm really running!"), see the grammar sketch in Catherine Howe's Haitian Creole Newspaper Reader (which is the source for most of the Haitian data in this article), and see also Valdman & Philippe's textbook Ann Pale Kreyol: An Introductory Course in Haitian Creole.


Georgian and German

Just like in English, the verb "to be" (qopna) is irregular in Georgian; different verb roots are employed in different tenses. The roots -ar-, -kn-, -qav-, and -qop- (past participle) are used in the present tense, future tense, past tense and the perfective tenses respectively. Examples:

Masc'avlebeli var ("I am a teacher")
Masc'avlebeli viknebi ("I will be a teacher")
Masc'avlebeli viqavi ("I was a teacher")
Masc'avlebeli vqopilvar ("I have been a teacher")
Masc'avlebeli vqopiliqavi ("I had been a teacher")

Note that in the last two examples (perfect and pluperfect) two roots are used in one verb compound. In the perfective tense, the root qop (which is the expected root for the perfective tense) is followed by the root ar, which is the root for the present tense. In the pluperfective tense, again, the root qop is followed by the past tense root qav. This formation is very similar to German. In German, the perfective and the pluperfective are expressed in this way:

Ich bin Lehrer gewesen ("I have been a teacher", literally "I am a teacher been")
Ich war Lehrer gewesen ("I had been a teacher", literally "I was a teacher been")

Here, gewesen is the past participle of sein ("to be") in German. In both examples, just like in Georgian, this participle is used together with the present and the past forms of the verb in order to conjugate for the perfect and the pluperfect tenses.


Hungarian: Zero copula

Main article: Zero copula

In languages such as Russian or Hungarian, the copula in present tense is implied rather than spoken (Russian: я — человек, ya — chelovek "I (am) a human"; Hungarian: ő ember, "he (is) a human"). This usage (also common in Semitic languages), is known generically as the zero copula. Note that in other tenses (sometimes in other persons besides singular third) the copula usually reappears. Zero copula is a linguistic phenomenon whereby the presence of the copula is implied, rather than stated explicitly as a verb or suffix. ... 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ... Zero copula is a linguistic phenomenon whereby the presence of the copula is implied, rather than stated explicitly as a verb or suffix. ...


In Hungarian, zero copula is restricted to present tense in 3rd person singular and plural (see examples above): "Ő ember/Ők emberek — "s/he is a human"/"they are humans"; but: "(én) ember vagyok" — "I am a human", "(te) ember vagy" — "you are a human", "(mi) emberek vagyunk" — "we are humans", "(ti) emberek vagytok" — "you (all) are humans". It also reappears for stating locations: "az emberek a házban vannak" — "the people are in the house".


Hungarian uses a copula to say "Bob is here" (and this not only with regard to third person singular/plural) (Itt van Róbert), but not to say "Bob is old" (Róbert öreg). This is to relate a subject to a more temporary condition/state taking place in space (very often in the sense of Lojban zvati — "la rabyrt. zvati ne'i le zdani" (Robert is in the house)). Lojban (IPA ) is a constructed human language based on predicate logic. ...


Turkish

Main article: Turkish copula

Unlike Indo-European languages, being an extremely regular agglutinative language, Turkish forms its "being" not as a regular verb, rather as an auxiliary verb denoted as "i-mek" which shows its existence only through suffixes to predicates which can be nouns, adjectives or arguably conjugated verb stems. This article supplements the general articles on the copula and Turkish grammar. ... It has been suggested that Agglutination be merged into this article or section. ...


In the third person singular, just like in Hungarian or Russian, zero copula is the rule. Zero copula is a linguistic phenomenon whereby the presence of the copula is implied, rather than stated explicitly as a verb or suffix. ...


For example:

  • Deniz mavi. = "[The] sea [is] blue" (the auxiliary verb "i-mek" is implied only)
  • Ben maviyim = "I am blue" (the auxiliary verb "i-mek" appears in "(y)im".)

Japanese

Japanese has copulas which would most often be translated as one of the so-called be-verbs of English. The Japanese copula has many forms. The words da and desu are used to predicate sentences, while na and de are used within sentences to modify or connect. In traditional grammar, a predicate is one of the two main parts of a sentence (the other being the subject, which the predicate modifies). ...


Japanese sentences with copulas most often equate one thing with another, that is, they are of the form "A is B." Examples:

  • 私は学生だ。Watashi wa gakusei da. "I am a student." (lit., I TOPIC student COPULA)
  • これはペンです。Kore wa pen desu. "This is a pen." (lit., this TOPIC pen COPULA-POLITE)

The difference between da and desu is simple: desu is more formal and polite than da. Thus, the two sentences below are identical in meaning and differ only in the speaker's politeness to the addressee. Honorific speech is speech which shows respect. ... In linguistics, an addressee is an intended direct recipient of the speakers communication. ...

  • あれはホテルだ。Are wa hoteru da. "That's a hotel." (lit., that TOPIC hotel COPULA)
  • あれはホテルです。Are wa hoteru desu. "That is a hotel." (lit., that TOPIC hotel COPULA-POLITE)

Japanese sentences may be predicated with copulas or with verbs. However, desu may not always be a predicate. In some cases, its only function is to make a sentence predicated with a stative verb more polite. However, da always functions as a predicate, so it cannot be combined with a stative verb, because sentences need only one predicate. See the examples below. A stative verb is one which asserts that one of its arguments has a particular property (possibly in relation to its other arguments). ...

  • このビールはうまい。Kono bīru wa umai. "This beer is good." (lit., this beer TOPIC be-tasty)
  • このビールはうまいです。Kono bīru wa umai desu. "This beer is good." (lit., this beer TOPIC be-tasty POLITE)
  • *このビールはうまいだ。*Kono bīru wa umai da. This is unacceptable because da may only serve as a predicate.

Japanese also has two verbs corresponding to English "to be": aru and iru. They are not copulae but existential verbs. Aru is used for inanimate objects, including plants, while iru is used for people and animals, though there are exceptions to this generalization.

  • 本はテーブルにある。Hon wa tēburu ni aru. "The book is on a table."
  • キムさんはここにいる。Kimu-san wa koko ni iru. "Kim is here."

There are several theories as to the origin of desu; one is that it is a shortened form of であります (de arimasu), used sometimes in writing and more formal situations. Another form, でございます (de gozaimasu which is the formal version of であります or である), is also used in some situations and is very polite.


です "desu" may be pronounced っす "ssu" in colloquial speech. The copula is subject to dialectal variation throughout Japan, resulting in forms such as ya (in Kansai) and ja (in Hiroshima). The Kansai (Japanese: 関西) region of Japan, also known as the Kinki region (近畿地方, Kinki-chihō), lies in the Southern-Central region of Japans main island, Honshu. ... For other uses, see Hiroshima (disambiguation). ...


Chinese

N.B. The characters used are simplified ones, and the transcriptions given in italics reflect standard Mandarin pronunciation, using the Pinyin system. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Standard Mandarin, also known as Standard Chinese, Modern Standard Chinese or Standard spoken Chinese, is the official modern Chinese spoken language used by the Peoples Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), and Singapore. ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ...


In Chinese languages, both states and qualities are generally expressed with stative verbs with no need for a copula, e.g. in Mandarin, "to be tired" (累 lèi), "to be hungry" (饿 è), "to be located at" (在 zài), "to be stupid" (笨 bèn) and so forth. These verbs are usually preceded by an adverb such as 很 hěn ("very") or 不 ("not"). A stative verb is one which asserts that one of its arguments has a particular property (possibly in relation to its other arguments). ...


Only sentences with a noun as the complement (e.g. "this is my sister") use the verb "to be": 是 shì. This is used frequently: for example, instead of having a verb meaning "to be Chinese", the usual expression is "to be a Chinese person", using 是 shì. Other sentences use adjectives plus the nominaliser 的 de, e.g. 这是红的 zhè shì hóng de "this is [a] red [one]".


The history of the Chinese copula 是 is a controversial subject. Before the Han Dynasty, the character served as a demonstrative pronoun meaning "this" (this usage survives in some idioms and proverbs, as well as in Japanese). Some linguists argue that 是 developed into a copula because it often appeared, as a repetitive subject, after the subject of a sentence (in classical Chinese we can say, for example: "George W. Bush, this president of the United States" meaning "George W. Bush is the president of the United States). Other scholars cannot completely accept the explanation, proposing that 是 served as a demonstrative pronoun and a copula at the same time in ancient Chinese. Etymologically, 是 means "straight"; in modern Chinese, 是 means "yes" as an interjection, and "correct", "right" as an adjective, implying a sense of judgement. Han Dynasty in 87 BC Capital Changan (202 BC–9 AD) Luoyang (25 AD–190 AD) Language(s) Chinese Religion Taoism, Confucianism Government Monarchy History  - Establishment 206 BC  - Battle of Gaixia; Han rule of China begins 202 BC  - Interruption of Han rule 9 - 24  - Abdication to Cao Wei 220... A demonstrative pronoun in grammar and syntax is a pronoun that shows the place of something. ... Classical Chinese or Literary Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese based on the grammar and vocabulary of very old forms of Chinese , making it very different from any modern spoken form of Chinese. ... Not to be confused with Entomology, the scientific study of insects. ...


Siouan languages

In Siouan languages like Lakota, in principle almost all words—according to their structure—are verbs. So, not very unlike in Lojban (see below), not only (transitive, intransitive and so-called 'stative') verbs but even nouns often behave like verbs and do not need to have copulas. Lakota (also Lakhota, Teton, Teton Sioux) is the largest of the three languages of the Sioux, of the Siouan family. ...


For example, the word wicasa [wicha's^a] refers to a man, and the verb "to-be-a-man" is expressed as wimacasa/winicasa/he wicasa (I am/you are/he is a man). Yet there also is a copula heca [he'cha] (to be a ...) that in most cases is used: wicasa hemaca/henica/heca (I am/you are/he is a man).


In order to express the statement "I am a doctor of profession," one has to say pezuta wicasa hemaca [phez^u'ta wicha's^a hema'cha]. But in order to express that that person is THE doctor (say, that had been phoned to help), one would have to use another copula (i)ye (to be the one): pezuta wicasa (kin) miye lo (medicine-man DEF ART I-am-the-one MALE ASSERT).


In order to refer to space (e.g. Robert is in the house), various verbs are used as copula, e.g. yankA [yaNka'] (lit.: to sit) for humans, or han/he [haN'/he'] (to stand upright) for inanimate objects of a certain shape. "Robert is in the house" could be translated as Robert timahel yanke (yelo), whereas "there's one restaurant next to the gas station" translates as "owotetipi wigli-oinazin kin hel isakib wanzi he".


Constructed languages

The constructed language Lojban has copulae, but they are rarely used, and are sometimes viewed with distaste in the Lojban community, because all words that express a predicate can be used as verbs. The three sentences "Bob runs", "Bob is old", and "Bob is a fireman", for instance, would all have the same form in Lojban: la bob. bajra, la bob. tolcitno, and la bob. fagdirpre. There are several different copulae: me turns whatever follows the word me into a verb that means to be what it follows. For example, me la bob. means to be Bob. Another copula is du, which is a verb that means all its arguments are the same thing (equal).[1] A constructed or artificial language — known colloquially as a conlang — is a language whose phonology, grammar, and/or vocabulary have been devised by an individual or group, instead of having naturally evolved as part of a culture. ... Lojban (IPA ) is a constructed human language based on predicate logic. ...


The E-Prime language, based on English, simply avoids the issue by not having a generic copula. It requires instead a specific form such as "remains", "becomes", "lies", or "equals". Dr. David Bourland coined the term E-Prime, short for English Prime, in the 1965 work A Linguistic Note: Writing in E-Prime to refer to the English language modified by prohibiting the use of the verb to be. E-Prime arose from Alfred Korzybskis General Semantics and his...


Esperanto uses the copula much as English. The infinitive is esti, and the whole conjugation is regular (as with all Esperanto verbs). Additionally, adjectival roots can be turned into stative verbs: La ĉielo bluas. "The sky is blue." This article is about the language. ...


Similarly, Ido has a copula that works as English "to be". Its infinitive is esar, and, as is the case in Esperanto, all of its forms are regular: the simple present is esas for all persons; the simple past is esis, the simple future is esos, and the imperative is esez, among a few more forms. However, Ido also has an alternative irregular form for the simple present ("es"), which some Idists frown upon. The possibility to turn adjectives and even nouns into verbs also exist, although this is mostly done by means of an affix, on top of the verbal endings. The affix is "-es-". So, "The sky is blue." can be said as "La cielo bluesas". As can be seen, the suffix "-es-" plus the verbal desinence "-as" are simply the verb "to be" annexed to the adjectival or nominal root. Ido (pronounced ) is a constructed language created with the goal of becoming a universal second language for speakers of different linguistic backgrounds as a language easier to learn than ethnic languages. ...


Interlingua speakers use copulae with the same freedom as speakers of Slavic, Germanic, and Romance languages. In addition to combinations with esser ('to be'), expressions such as cader prede ('to fall prey') are common. Esser is stated, rather than omitted as in Russian. Interlingua is an international auxiliary language (IAL) published in 1951 by the International Auxiliary Language Association (IALA). ...


Existential usage

The existential usage of "to be" is distinct from and yet, in some languages, intimately related to its copulative usage. In language as opposed to formal logic, existence is a predicate rather than a quantifier, and the passage from copulative to existential usage can be subtle. In modern linguistics one commonly speaks of existential constructions - prototypically involving an expletive like there - rather than existential use of the verb itself. So for example in English a sentence like "there is a problem" would be considered an instance of existential construction. Relying on unified theory of copular sentences, it has been proposed that there-sentences are subtypes of inverse copular sentences (see Moro 1997 and "existential sentences and expletive there" in Everaert et al. 2006 for a detailed discussion of this issue and a historical survery of the major proposals). The word expletive is currently used in three senses: syntactic expletives, expletive attributives, and bad language. The word expletive comes from the Latin verb explere, meaning to fill, via expletivus, filling out. It was introduced into English in the seventeenth century to refer to various kinds of padding — the padding...


For example:

  • Japanese: 吾輩は猫である。名前はまだないWagahai wa neko de aru. Namae wa mada naiI am a cat. As yet, I have no name. — Natsume Sōseki
  • English: To be or not to be, that is the question. — William Shakespeare
  • English: [Why climb Mount Everest?] Because it is there. — George Mallory
  • Russian: Страна, которую ищут дети, есть [Strana, kotoruju ishchut djeti, jest'] – That land we yearn for in our childhood is there. — Prishvin
  • French: Je pense, donc je suis.I think; therefore, I am. — Descartes
  • Latin: Cogito ergo sum.I think; therefore, I am. — Descartes
  • Hungarian: Gondolkodom, tehát vagyok.I think; therefore, I am. — Descartes
  • Turkish: Düşünüyorum, öyleyse varım.I think; therefore, I am. — Descartes
  • Filipino/Tagalog: Ang kahalagahan ng pagiging seryo A translation-transplantation of The importance of being Earnest of Oscar Wilde in Filipino.

Other languages prefer to keep the existential usage entirely separate from the copula. Swedish, for example, reserves vara (to be) for the copula, keeping bli (to become) and finnas (to exist) for becoming and existing, respectively. Natsume Soseki on the former 1000 yen note. ... Wikipedia does not yet have an article with this exact name. ... George Herbert Leigh Mallory (18 June 1886 – 8 June/9 June 1924) was an English mountaineer who took part in the first three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the early 1920s. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ...

  • Swedish: Vem vill bli miljonär?Who wants to be a millionaire?. — Bengt Magnusson
  • Swedish: Varför bestiga Mt. Everest? Därför att det finns där.Why climb Mt. Everest? Because it is there. — George Mallory

In ontology, philosophical discussions of the word "be" and its conjugations takes place over the meaning of the word is, the third person singular form of 'be', and whether the other senses can be reduced to one sense. For example, it is sometimes suggested that the "is" of existence is reducible to the "is" of property attribution or class membership; to be, Aristotle held, is to be something. Of course, the gerund form of "be", being, is its own (vexed) topic: see being and existence. George Herbert Leigh Mallory (18 June 1886 – 8 June/9 June 1924) was an English mountaineer who took part in the first three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the early 1920s. ... This article is about ontology in philosophy. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Reductionism. ... Aristotle (Greek: Aristotélēs) (384 BC – 322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. ... In ontology, a being is anything that can be said to be, either transcendantly or immanently. ... There is no universally accepted theory of what the word existence means. ...


Notes

  1. ^ Lojban For Beginners

References

  • Everaert, M. - van Riemsdijk, H - Goedemans, R. (eds) 2006 The Blackwell Companion to Syntax, Volumes I-V, Blackwell, London: see "copular sentences" and "existential sentences and expletive there" in Volume II.
  • Kneale, W. - Kneale, M. 1962 The Development of Logic, Clarendon Press, Oxford.
  • Valdman & Philippe Ann Pale Kreyol: An Introductory Course in Haitian Creole.
  • Essay on Lakota syntax
  • Moro, A. 1997 The raising of predicates. Predicative noun phrases and the theory of clause structure, Cambridge Studies in Linguistics, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, England.

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