copulas

This board is for discussion of Classical Writing - Homer. CW - Homer teaches writing, analysis, and imitation by working through longer narratives.

copulas

Postby Kathie in VA » Sat Nov 09, 2013 11:14 am

OB wk 9, wkbk p. 115, ans key p. 44

Their hearts were so heavy, however, that they could not sleep.

Parsing 'were' ... I thought it got defined as a 'being' verb but answer key says 'state'...??

Also, I think the SC is 'heavy', since that is not a noun then the Role would be 'predicate'? But answer key has 'copula'. ??
:?
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Re: copulas

Postby Carolyn » Sat Nov 09, 2013 5:24 pm

"Were", in this case, indicates state. The state of the heart is heavy. If the verb was being used to indicate the existence of the heart, then it would be a being verb.

The verb 'were' links 'hearts' to 'heavy', and it is a copula. Copulas can link adjectives as well as nouns to the subject.

Does that help?

Thanks for the page numbers, by the way. They were very helpful.
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Re: copulas

Postby Kathie in VA » Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:17 pm

I follow what you are saying but I can't seem to tie it into what I read in the core.

Homer core p. 104 it says that a copula is a 'to be' verb that links a subject to a predicate and that predicate should be a noun with any modifiers.
So the one in question
Their hearts were so heavy, however, that they could not sleep.
If 'were' is a state verb then by the definition above it can't be a copula.
And since 'heavy' is not a noun, by the definition above it can't be a copula.
Unless, the definition is not complete and the copula can use state words and have a predicate that is an adjective...

*Also, the chart on p. 106 is almost consistent with this idea. They only time they don't have the predicate with a noun is:
?? Abe is tall. <here 'tall' is not a noun, although it is in the predicate column.>??
Abe is a person who is tall. <by definition this one is copula since the predicate is a noun with modifiers.>

Thank you for your help! I know I'll get these questions this week from my students and/or their parents!
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Re: copulas

Postby Carolyn » Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:30 pm

Aha! I think I see what you're getting at. And Lene can address that part better than I can. Let me give it a shot for now, though.

A 'to be' verb is not synonymous with a 'being' verb. Take the sentence "God exists." "Exists" is a verb of being. It's not a form of 'to be.'

Now as for the copula linking a subject to a predicate, and that the predicate must be a noun with any modifiers ... true. This definition will hold true through the study of logic. When we say "Abe is tall", we're not saying that Abe embodies all that is tall. He's just a *person* who is tall. The noun isn't expressed. When one is evaluating logical arguments, it's very important to know what the predicate is, to avoid ambiguity. In common English, it's not so necessary and often the noun is omitted.

Now, to go flag Lene so she can give a fuller answer and set me straight anywhere I'm wrong.
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Re: copulas

Postby admin » Sun Nov 10, 2013 4:08 pm

I am weighing in as asked :) (But the notion that "Lene can answer these questions so much better than Carolyn can" may prove faulty :P)

First of all, we use linking verbs in our text (like Harvey), not copula, so I am surprised that the AK says copula, since we specifically say on page 102 that we use linking verbs only.

We usually reserve copula for when we are just discussing logic where all propositions are reduced to 'is' or 'are' or 'am'... some form of 'to be', usually in the present tense. Those copulae basically are like equal signs. We discuss that in great detail in Herodotus.

Second point, none of this is math and so ... please do not expect an ironclad specific answer because the answer you will get (from us, from Harvey, from another publisher of grammar texts) will depend a whole lot on the convention of that particular author (as well as his or her ability to stick consistently to that convention) and less so on THE ONE CORRECT answer. Grammar needs to be well defined by convention, and conventions need to be stuck to, but often in grammar because different terms cover different auspices of grammar, there can be overlap and sometimes two terms can fit well for an answer, one of them perhaps better, but neither of them entirely wrong.

--- that being said----

The original question was
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
"Their hearts were so heavy, however, that they could not sleep."

Parsing 'were' ... I thought it got defined as a 'being' verb but answer key says 'state'...??

Also, I think the SC is 'heavy', since that is not a noun then the Role would be 'predicate'? But answer key has 'copula'. ??
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Their hearts were so heavy" ---- state verb, why because their hearts are not always heavy. Heavy is not a permanent essence of their hearts, it is a temporary state.

Subject complement - 'heavy', you ask???? Subject complements can be nouns with modifiers, or they can be modifiers (like 'heavy') with an understood noun. Basically the sentence if written out strictly logically would be "Their hearts were heavy hearts" -- but nobody says that. You would say that if you were doing a logic construction of subject-copula-predicate, but conventional speech omits that and often the SC is just a modifier.

IF the answer key has 'copula' as an identification for the role of the word 'heavy' in the answer key, that is just plain wrong, since a copula SPECIFICALLY has to be a form of the verb 'to be'... i.e. not just a being verb but the specific being verb that has as its root the infinitive 'to be'.

What page in what answer key is that? (we need to correct it).

So to sum,
1. we don't use copula until we get to Herotodus. We only use linking verbs. (The issue here may be that the core lessons were written by Tracy Gustilo, and she set the conventions for the core (along with me, the co-author of Homer Core), but Kathy Weitz wrote the workbooks and IGs and perhaps (I have no copy here so I cannot look at the SW and IG) that detail slipped past her when she wrote the lessons and chose the sentences for the SW and IG. And this is not a disparaging remark about Kathy's work but more so a remark about how inconsequential that particular convention that Tracy defined really is. At this level, Homer, the BIG PICTURE is for our kids to learn grammar and recognize linking verbs and subject predicates vs. learning to recognize transitive verbs and their direct objects).

2. In conventional speech an adjective is often used alone, though the noun is understood, like heavy instead of 'a heavy heart'. (Such is never the case in formal logic where everything is written out formally and exhaustively).

Kathie, I don't know to what level you use our books, but so many places because we do not use 'canned sentences' (i.e. sentences that were constructed specifically for the grammar exercise), you will run into sentences that don't totally fit, or that have omissions of words that 'should' be there from a formal grammar and logic perspective. It is very common for literature sentences to sound like speech or talk like speech and have many many omissions. It makes it harder to parse and diagram in Diogenes and up, but it teaches the students (and parents) flexibility, in that we're not doing math here, we're parsing grammar on a living 'breathing' language, and as such we need to flex and learn, not rigidly try to squeeze a word into a box by adhering completely legalistically to a definition in a book. I realize that is not easy when you are guiding parents, but such is the nature of language. The INTENT of the speaker plays a role as well as the way in which certain words get used. Try parsing one of Huck Finn's sentences from Mark Twain's novels. :)

So all I can say is, yes, Carolyn had it exactly the way I would express it too, so perhaps I have wasted a lot of words saying what was already said. (AND to say that IF the AK had 'heavy' defined as a copula, it's out to lunch on that point :P If I misunderstood, and the AK had 'were' defined as a copula, it is acceptable, though it goes against the convention Tracy established in the core on pages 102-103.)

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Re: copulas

Postby Kathie in VA » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:45 pm

Thank you both for your help. I had not considered that the predicate of a given sentence might be missing words. Logically this does make sense since we typically take a command and 'insert' the subject 'you'. Analyzing the grammar of the sentence with the missing words does help to clarify things. Given this, the answer key is not wrong... although it does specify 'copula' for the verb 'were'.

Their hearts were so <very> heavy hearts, however that they could not sleep.

<of course once you add in heavy 'hearts' you then need to change the 'so' to 'very'>
Given this, the main verb 'were' is defined as 'state', is classified as 'linking', has properties of 'past, plural', and it's role is 'copula'
This is what the key has and it now seems to work.

The wkbk exercise comes after reading about how some sentences have a Subject-Copula-Predicate (where the verb is NOT part of the predicate) while others have Subject-Predicate (where the verb is part of the predicate). The the wkbk exercise has them parsing verbs... this is the only one where the Role is 'copula'... all the rest are 'predicate'.

Thanks again for your help!
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Re: copulas

Postby Kathie in VA » Mon Nov 11, 2013 10:25 pm

ug, of course all is clear till I try to explain it to my students and their parents...

Homer core p. 104 it says that a copula is a 'to be' verb that links a subject to a predicate and that predicate should be a noun with any modifiers.
<We clarified this to include implied words ... in this case to make the predicate clear that it does have a noun>

I started this whole thing by thinking 'were' was a 'to be' verb ... but I get what you are saying here:
" A 'to be' verb is not synonymous with a 'being' verb. Take the sentence "God exists." "Exists" is a verb of being. It's not a form of 'to be.' "
and here:
"Their hearts were so heavy" ---- state verb, why because their hearts are not always heavy. Heavy is not a permanent essence of their hearts, it is a temporary state.

But, if the verb is a state verb ... by definition on top from Homer, it still can not have the role of copula. "Were' is either a 'state' verb and thus has the role of 'predicate' or it is a 'to be' verb and has the role of 'copula'... yet p. 44 of the answer key specifies 'state' and 'copula'....and you are saying the same but the definition doesn't match ... and this seems like a simple sentence so I would think it should match ... thus the confusion
Kathie in VA
 
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Re: copulas

Postby Carolyn » Tue Nov 12, 2013 6:07 am

Yup, I can see why you're confused. By the definitions on page 104, if the noun is not expressed (Their hearts were heavy), then the verb is a linking verb. The sentence can be easily rewritten into S-C-P form, but it's not there at the moment.

Go with 'linking' for the role.
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Re: copulas

Postby Kathie in VA » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:13 am

So here is what I'm sharing with our class:
State of being verbs verses 'to be' verbs [really hard to get copulas if you get this part wrong!]
State of being verbs use a 'being' verb to show a temporary state. Lilly is sad. This shows that her current state of being is sad but it is not permanent. She will probably not be in this state permanently.
'to be' verbs refer to being verbs that do not show temporary state. Indigo is blue. This is not going to change. Dogs are K9s. These examples use a being verb without restricting it to a temporary state. They use being verbs to show something that is permanent.
clear as mud??
So for copulas ...
Homer core p. 104 .. a copula is a 'to be' verb that links a subject to a predicate and that predicate should be a noun with any modifiers. Consider this sentence:
Their hearts were so heavy, however, that they could not sleep.
The verb 'were' is a 'being' verb however for the copula definition it needs to be used as a 'to be' verb, that is: to show something permanent. In this sentence it not saying that it is permanent that the hears were heavy .. the hearts were in the state of being heavy and will probably come out of this state at some point. Thus 'were' is defined as a 'state' verb. Once you define it as a 'state' verb, it can not take the role of copula due to the definition of copula.
So it would parse like this:
Definition: state
Classification: linking
Properties: past, plural
Role: predicate

BTW: the ans key p.44 lists the Role as copula
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