1. The problem of the sentence definition and its level belonging.
2. The main categories of the sentence:
a) predicativity: its role in the sentence; types of predication: primary vs. secondary; explicit vs. implicit predication;
b) modality: its heterogeneous nature; the two types of modality; the culture- and gender-sensitive character of modality;
c) negation and its types: complete vs. partial; grammatical vs. lexical; explicit vs. implicit; direct vs. transferred negation; negation and the communicative type of the sentence; the specific features of negation in English.
1. The word 'syntax' is derived from the Greek 'syntaxis' which literally means 'composition', or 'order'. It is a part of grammar which studies ways of arranging words into phrases and sentences in order to produce speech. We communicate only with the help of sentences and it brings many linguists to a conclusion that syntax is the core, or the heart of grammar and morphology is subordinated to it as it serves the needs of syntax. The main units of the syntactic level of the language are: 1) the word in its syntactic position in the sentence (a part of the sentence); 2) the phrase which is a combination of two or more notional words arranged according to the rules of a particular language; 3) the simple sentence as the minimum unit of communication; 4) the composite sentence which is a combination of two or more clauses based either on coordinate (a compound sentence) or subordinate (a complex sentence) relations; 5) the text as the highest unit of language.
As we can see from the list of syntactic units the simple sentence occupies the central position in syntax.It is the minimal unit of communication. The two lower units serve as the building material for making a simple sentence and the two higher units are composed from simple sentences. Being the central unit of syntax the simple sentence has always been in the focus of linguistic attention. The problem of its definition like that of the word appears to be quite complicated. The German scholar John Ries in his book "Was 1st ein Satz?" written in 1931 collected 139 definitions of the simple sentence. By now this number may have doubled. Here are just a few definitions of the simple sentence: "a sentence is a word or a group of words capable of expressing a complete thought or meaning" (H.Sweet); "a sentence is a communication in words, conveying a sense of completeness and containing at
least one independent verb with its subject (M.Bryant); "each sentence is an independent linguistic form, not included by virtue of any grammatical construction in any larger linguistic form (L.Bloomfield); "S =NP +VP" (O.Thomas) This most laconic definition of the sentence suggested by a representative of transformational grammar tells us how the sentence is built: to derive a sentence (S) we have to combine a noun phrase (NP) with a verb phrase (VP).
The analysis of these definitions shows that they are largely determined by the theoretical standpoint of the linguist and the linguistic school he/she represents. In the so-called traditional syntax with its orientation on meaning the sentence is defined on the basis of its meaning, i.e. its ability to express a complete thought about an event of reality (see the definition given by H.Sweet). The sentence is a many-sided phenomenon and can be studied from several aspects. Its main aspects are: form which deals with the problem howthe sentence is built; meaning which tells us whatthe sentence is about, and function which is correlated with the question what forthe sentence was pronounced. The definition and the understanding of the sentence largely depend on the viewpoint of the linguist and the aspect of the sentence which is in the focus of the linguist's attention. Studied from the formal point of view the sentence is defined as a group of words based on predicative relations. From the view point of its meaning the sentence is defined as an expression of a complete thought or a judgement about an event of reality. Considered from the aspect of its function the sentence is defined as a minimum unit of communication and each sentence is uttered with a certain communicative aim: either to produce a statement, or to make a request, or to ask for information. Perhaps the most exhaustive definition would be the one that would embrace all the three aspects. Thus the sentence can be defined as a group of words based on predicative relations which expresses a complete thought about an event of reality and is used with a certain communicative aim.
Another problem arising in the study of the sentence is its level belonging, i.e. whether it is a unit of the language system or that of speech. Unlike words sentences do not exist in the language system as ready-made units. They are created by the speaker in the act of communication. Yet each sentence created by the speaker in the process of communication has at its basis a limited set of syntactic and semantic structures typical of many sentences of the language. These typical structures are a part of the speaker's competence of the language (mental grammar). They exist in the speaker's mind in the form of patterns into which words can be arranged. These patterns are partially genetically determined and partially acquired in the process of a language acquisition. Here we share the views of the linguists (N.Chomsky, S.Pinker, RJackendoff and others) who believe in the existence of a language instinct. According to their views a child's mind and a child's language competence do not present a tabula rasa but have some genetically determined qualities, so "the ability to speak and understand a.human language is a complex combination of nature and nurture" [Jackendoff 1994,6].
Thus we may conclude that the sentence belongs to both - language and speech. From the point of its underlying (basic)syntactic structure upon which it is built and which is repeated in an indefinite number of utterances it presents a unit of language. When actualized in real communication and uttered with a certain communicative aim and a certain intonation it becomes a unit of speech and is usually referred to as the utterance. The differentiation of the sentence as a unit of language and the utterance as a unit of speech is correlated with the basic dichotomy of language and speech, which is observed on all levels of language: the phoneme vs sound, the lexeme vs word, the sentence vs utterance, the text vs discourse. The utterance as a unit of speech is much wider in its characteristics than the sentence taken isolated from the communicative context. For example, the sentence It is cold in different communicative contexts may express a question when uttered with the rising tone "// is cold? " or an implicit request "// 's cold"("Give me something warm to wear " or "Close the -window"). However, very often in linguistic studies the term 'sentence' is used to refer to both; the sentence as a unit of the language and the utterance as the actualization of the sentence in speech.
2. The main categories of the sentence are predicativity, modalityand negation.
a) There exist as many definitions of predicativity as of the sentence. V.G.Gak points out three main approaches to the understanding of predicativity: logical, denotational (semantic) and formal (syntactic) [FaK 2000, 550]. In the logic-oriented syntactic theories predicativity is defined as an act of attributing certain features to the subject. In the light of this approach predicativity presents a combination of two components of thought: the subject of thought and the predicate of thought which denotes a property, attributed to the subject by the predicate. In the denotational (semantic) approach predicativity expresses the relation of the sentence to the concrete situation of reality. From the syntactic point of view predicativity is defined as an establishment of syntactic relation between the subject and the predicate of the sentence carried out with the help of certain morphological categories. It is important to understand that these three approaches are not contradictory, they just reflect the manysided nature of the phenomenon and the possibility to analyze its essence from different aspects.
In our course we accept the following definition of predicativity: predicativity is a category which refers the nominative contents of the sentence to reality[ Blokh 1983, 243] . Let us consider this definition. We stated above that to become an utterance and present information about some event of objective reality the sentence must be actualized, i.e. related to a concrete situation of reality. Let's take, for example, the words winter and come. Just placed together they express a certain nominative contents but do not become a sentence yet. To refer the nominative contents of the sentence to reality we must place the event in time, present it as real, unreal or desirable and relate it with the doer of the action. - Winter has come. Winter is coming. Winter, come! If only winter came! Now the sentence is actualized. As we can see, predicativity involves establishing subject-predicate relations which, in its turn, is accomplished through the grammatical categories of tense, mood, number and person. (It is true however that once we use the English verb in the position of the predicate, not only these three categories but the other four (number, aspect, time correlation and mood) will also be expressed by the grammatical form of the predicate, but they are not directly related to the expression of predicativity). And as we can see from the analysis this understanding of predicativity takes into consideration two aspects of the sentence: semantic, or denotational (the nominative contents, or the situation of reality expressed by the sentence) and syntactic (the establishment of subject-predicate relations carried out with the help of certain grammatical categories). In peripheral structural types of sentences, such as one-member nominative sentences predicativity is expressed by the intonation (Early spring. London at night). The expression of predicativity in the sentence is usually referred to as predication. Scholars differentiate between primary and secondary predication and also between explicit and implicit types of predication. Primary predication establishes subject-predicate relations and makes the backbone of the sentence. It is expresses by the finite form of the verb. E.g. Cranes are flying. Secondary predication is contained in gerundial, infinitival, participial constructions, detached parts of the sentence. Such structures name an event but do not place it in time, e.g. / saw cranes flying.Structures of secondary predication cannot function as autonomous sentences and they are related to the objective reality only through the main predicative line of the sentence. From the point of view of their derivational history these structures are the result of syntactic transformation of two simple sentences and joining them into one. E.g. I saw cranes. The cranes were flying. — I saw cranes flying. Therefore sentences which have, besides the main predicative line, a structure of secondary predication (an infinitival, participial or a gerundial structure) cannot be treated as simple, they are semicomposite by their structure.
Predication expressed by the finite form of the verb and by the structures of secondary predication is explicitly expressed in the sentence. Implicit predication is contained in sentences which are structurally simple and yet name not one but two events of reality. This is usually found in sentences which contain event-nouns, e.g. / was late because of the rain. This sentence presents information about two events: 1) I was late; 2) It rained. (There was rain). In fact any noun may function as an event-noun. E.g. I was late because of the train (my leg, my dog. my wife, her etc).
b). The second sentential category is modality.It is one of the most complicated linguistic categories which has various forms of its expression in the language. It also has a lot of various definitions and interpretations. In the Linguistic Encyclopedic Dictionary modality is defined as a functional-semantic category which expresses different types of the relations between the utterance and reality as well as different types of subjective evaluation of the information contained in the utterance [J13C 1990,303]. As we can see from the definition, modality expresses two types of relations and consequently includes two levels. For this reason scholars usually differentiate between two types of modality: objective, or primary and subjective, or secondary. These two types of modality were first introduced on the material of the Russian language by V.V.Vinogradov [ BuHorpaflOB 1975]. However the differentiation of modality into subjective and objective appears to be very conventional, because modality in fact presents an operation of the speaker (the subject of the utterance) over the utterance, so the subjective component (the speaker) appears to be relevant for both types of modality. For this reason the terms primary and secondary modality appear to be more precise. Even the definition of the so called objective modality includes the speaker: it expresses the relations between the contents of the sentence and reality as stated by the speaker . The consistent differentiation of the two types of modality was also stimulated by the studies of Ch. Bally who considered that each utterance consists of two parts, the part which presents information ( he called it 'dictum') and the part which presents the speaker's evaluation of this information (he called it 'modus') [EajuiH 1955]. The existence of modus and dictum can be best presented by the structure of a complex sentence with an object clause, e.g. / think he is going to be late, in which the principal clause is the modus and the subordinate clause is the dictum.
The primary modality expresses the relation of the contents of the sentence to reality as established by the speaker who, choosing the appropriate form of the mood presents the event as real, unreal or desirable. It is expressed by the grammatical form of mood and thus it is a component of predicativity and as such it always finds a grammatical expression in the sentence. E.g. You are my wife. Be my -wife. I wish you were my wife. Thus, primary modality as a component of predicativity is an obligatory feature of the sentence - we cannot make a sentence without expressing primary modality, i.e. without establishing the relations between the nominative contents of the sentence and reality.
Secondary modality presents another layer of modality, built over the primary modality. It' does not always find an explicit expression in the sentence. Secondary modality is not homogeneous. It contains two layers and therefore we can differentiate between two types of secondary modality. The first type expresses the relations between the subject of the sentence and the action. The action may be presented as possible, permissive, obligatory, necessary, desirable or unnecessary for the subject. In syntactic linguistic studies this type of modality is called action modality( Jacobs 1995, 225) it and is expressed by the modal verbs in their verb-oriented meanings: ability, possibility, permission, necessity, obligation etc. E.g. Children must be seen but not heard. I can jump puddles. You may be free for today. This type of modality is contained within the dictum of the sentence and cannot be presented outside the dictum. The second type of secondary modality expresses the attitude of the speaker to the contents of the utterance or the speaker's evaluation of the likelihood of the event presented in the utterance. This type of modality is called epistemic modality (Jacobs 1995, 226). This type of modality has various means of expression in the language. It can be expressed by: modal words and modal adverbs and modal particles: maybe, probably, certainly, of course, perhaps, sure, evidently, supposedly, allegedly, presumably, luckily, fortunately etc. ( e.g. This is probably the
best chance you have ever had); by modal verbs in their sentence-oriented meanings: probability, doubt, supposition, certainty, disbelief ( e.g. If she went out Wednesday night someone may have noticed. She couldn't have done it alone) ; by modalized verbs seem, to appear, happen, chance (She appeared to be holding something back from him); by the so called performative verbs and phrases which name speech and mental acts: think, suppose, presume, guess, doubt, be certain, be sure etc. (e.g. I guess you are right; I am afraid this is true); by special syntactic structures like 'tag questions' (This is true, isn't it?), as well as by intonation and word order (compare in Russian: flo 6jiujKauuieu cmanifuu KUJioMempoe decnmb 6ydem where uncertainty is expressed by the word order in the phrase and also by the use of the future tense). As we can see the modal verbs participate in the expression of two kinds of secondary modality: action modality and epistemic modality. It is noteworthy that participating in the expression of these two types of modality, they display different grammatical characteristics. When the modal verbs function as means of expressing action modality the meaning of tense is expressed by the change of the form'of the modal verb (can - could, may - might) and if there is no required form in the paradigm of the modal verb they draw into their paradigm the so called modal verb equivalents be, have, be able, be permitted, be allowed. When the modal verbs function in the sphere of epistemic modality, the difference between the forms can and could, may and might is not temporal, but modal whereas the temporal meanings are expressed by the forms of the Infinitive (e.g. He must be here now. He must have been here yesterday). The sentences ''This might be true' and 'This may be true' differ in the degree of the speaker's certainty about the truth of the proposition. Note also, that the modal verb must expresses negation differently when functioning in the sphere of these two types of modality. When it expresses root modality, it combines with the negative particle 'not' (You must not do it); when it functions in the sphere of belief modality negation is usually expressed lexically (He must have failed to come in time).
When modal verbs are used in their sentence oriented meanings they are formally placed inside the dictum, but semantically they belong to the modus of the sentence. This can be verified by the possibility to replace a modal verb in the sentence-oriented meaning by the equivalent modal word, a performative verb or a phrase. E.g. He may have forgotten about it - Perhaps, he has forgotten about it. He couldn't have done it -1 don't believe he did it. However the differentiation between these two types of modality is very complicated and the use of modal verbs in the two types of modality appears to be a problem not only for learners of English, but for native English speaking children too. Special research has shown that English speaking twelve-year-olds have not mastered the full semantics of the modal verbs [Major 1974].
Modality is one of the most culture-sensitive categories and the specific feature of English is the abundance and the frequent use of various means of expressing secondary modality which reflects such an important cultural concept as personal space. When making different statements about various events of reality
speakers of English tend to present it as their personal point of view on the event thus not intruding into the hearer's personal space. The frequent use of various modal means is also related to the principle of politeness characteristic of British speech etiquette. This principle includes the following maxims: I) Don't impose. 2) Give options. 3) Make the hearer feel good - be friendly [Brown, Levinson 1978]. In accordance with this principle which is a component of a wider category known as indirectness, the English speech is characterized by an abundant use of various means of subjective modality which make the speech more tentative / less assertive. Sometimes these means are. piled in the sentence as in the following example from S.Maugham: "I don't wish to seem spiteful but I am afraid I do not think she can have been a very nice -woman". The Russian language as compared to English appears to be more direct and categorical and this difference should be taken into consideration in learning and teaching English. We must learn to overcome the stereotypes of our mother tongue and try to sound less assertive in English.
Modality is also gender-sensitive and there are obvious differences between men's and women's speech in their use of modal means. The American linguist R.Lakoff points out that female speech usually lacks the assertiveness of male speech as women use various means of expressing subjective modality that impart a more tentative character to their speech, e.g. M. - This is better. W. - This is better, isn 't i?t (don'tyou think?) [Lakoff 1975].
c) The next sentential category is negation which shows that the relations established between the components of the sentence do not exist in reality, from the speaker's point of view ( A.M.Peshkovsky) , or that the speaker denies the truth of the proposition (Ch. Bally). The definition of the essence of negation appears to be rather difffcult because, as it is justly pointed out by E.V.Paducheva, negation belongs to one of the universal, basic, semantically indivisible conceptual categories (semantic primitives - L.K.) which cannot be defined through more simple semantic components [JT3C 1990,354].
Usually negative sentences appear in speech as a reaction to an affirmative statement, e.g. "We can have a good time tonight. " "No, no. I couldn 't" (G.Greene). Affirmation may not be presented explicitly but it may be contained in the presupposition to the utterance. Presupposition here denotes a state of things in the real world that makes the sentence appropriate. This is the case with general questions and imperative sentences. A general affirmative question does not contain a negation but it always presupposes it as an alternative to affirmation which becomes explicit in a negative answer to an affirmative general question, e.g. "Seen the news?" - "No" (G.Greene).For this reason general questions are treated as compressed variants of alternative questions with the alternative part being implied [Blokh 1983, 260]. As for the imperative sentences the relations between the contents of the imperative sentence and its presupposition (the state of things in reality) are actually based on the principle of contrast which necessitates the need of the speaker to resort to an imperative statement, e.g. / caressed her throat, her shoulders. "Please, don't" (J.Fowles ).
In the logic-oriented grammatical theories negation is often included into the category of modality [AflMOHH 1973, 130-142]. It is true that negation is interconnected with the category of modality: if we treat negation as a component of a larger category of polarity then on the polarity scale in between the two polar points - affirmation and negation we can point out the transitional zone expressing various degree of certainty from doubt to supposition ( He is twenty — He is surely twenty — He must be twenty — He may be twenty — Perhaps, he is twenty — Can he be twenty? — Perhaps, he is not twenty — He can't be twenty — He is not twenty}. But the very fact that sentences expressing doubt may also contain negation shows that negation and modality are two separate, though very closely interrelated categories. Negation as we shall see later is also very closely interrelated with the category of predicativity and with the communicative types of the sentence. For this reason we will share the opinion of those scholars who treat negation as a separate sentential category which is closely connected with the other categories of the sentence [e.g. LQeimejibc 1959, 127]
From the point of view of its expression negation can be considered as a functional semantic category because it has various forms of expression in the language: grammatical, lexical and word-building. The grammatical negators are: the negative particle not used with the predicate (e.g. / do not know him), the negative pronouns and adverbs: no, nobody, none, nothing, nowhere, never (He is nowhere to be found), the negative conjunctions neither, nor (He did not speak. Nor did he look at her). Negation can also be expressed lexically with the help of such verbs as fail, deny, object, mind, reject, refuse, lack, miss, the adjectives absent, the adverbs out, away, the preposition, without etc. The negative meaning in the semantics of these verbs is explicated in their definitions: deny - declare untrue or nonexistent (COD) or with the help of paraphrasing sentences with these verbs: He failed to come - He did not come. He missed school today - He did not go to school today. She is away -She is not in the city. There are also negative affixes in English which participate in the expression of negation and derive words with opposite meanings (root antonyms): the suffix- less ( merciless, penniless, bookless, husbandless etc.) and the prefixes un-, in-, im-, il-, ir-, dis-, mis- (unnecessary, inadequate, immaterial, illogical, irregular, dishonest, misquote etc.).The principal difference between the grammatical and lexical means of expressing negation is that grammatical negators turn the sentence from affirmative to negative whereas the lexical negators do not, a sentence with lexical negators is grammatically affirmative (It's illogical, isn 't it?) A grammatically negative sentence is a sentence which denies the truth of the proposition (He did not come - It is not true that he came. It is not raining - It is not true that it is raining). In an English sentence the choice of certain words (the pronouns some /any, the adverbs also, too /either, the conjunctions and/or) is determined by the affirmative/negative character of the sentence ( e.g. / like it too. I don' t like it either. I can sing and dance. I cannot singj3r_ dance).
According to its scope negation may be complete when the whole proposition is denied and partial when only a part of the proposition is denied. The part of the
proposition which falls under the scope of negation is referred to as the sphere of negation [E.V.Paducheva, JT3C, 1990, 354 -355]. In cases of complete negation the whole proposition comes into the sphere of negation whereas in sentences with partial negation the sphere of negation embraces only a part of the proposition. E.g. No one understood his jokes.. We understood none of his jokes - complete negation. Some people did not understand his jokes (Some people did and others did not understand his jokes). We did not understand some of his jokes (We understood only some of his jokes and did not understand other jokes} - partial negation. Very often complete negation is expressed in sentences with negative pronouns, adverbs and the negative form of the predicate (There was no one at home. He did not return), and partial negation is observed in the cases when the negative particle not is placed before the component which is embraced by the sphere of negation (Can you help me? — Not today (I can help you but not today). His advice helped me but not too much). Yet there is no one-to-one correlation between the type of negation (complete or partial) and the means of expressing it. Very often one and the same means is used to express both a complete and a partial negation. Sometimes a sentence may be ambiguous. E.g. A sentence 7 did not come because of you can be interpreted in two ways: 1) You are the reason of my not coming (complete negation); 2) 7 came but not because of you (partial negation). Usually such sentences can be disambiguated with the help of logical stress which accentuates the sphere of negation.
Sometimes the negator may be deliberately misplaced, or transferred by the speaker for some pragmatic reasons. E.g. There are no jobs. They don't exist any more than Dodo. Did you see that bird? (G.Greene). - Jobs exist not more than Dodo. Dickerman shrugs. He is not here to explain. He is here to identify' fingerprints (S.Turow). One of the varieties of transferred negation is the so called 'negation raising'.The term 'negation raising' is used to refer to the cases when the negator is transferred from the dictum into the modus expressed by such performative verbs as think, suppose, believe, expect. E.g. 7 don't think you are sharing everything with me (S.Turow) The reasons for this raising of the negation are pragmatic. By placing the negation in the modal part of the utterance the speaker makes the statement less assertive. However 'negation raising' does not embrace all performative verbs. It is frequent with the verbs think, believe, expect, suppose, but hardly ever occurs with the verbs guess, hope and the performative phrase I'm afraid.).
Besides explicit there are also implicit negators in English, the most frequent of them are the adverbs scarcely, hardly and too. E.g. You scarcely know anyone here, do you? He was too preoccupied to notice anything. The use of the words anyone, anything and the affirmative form of the tag show that the sentences are grammatically negative. However there is a difference between the adverbs scarcely, hardly and the adverb too in the scope of negation. Hardly and scarcely express complete negation (therefore the tag is negative) and too expresses the excess of something which makes the successive action impossible, so the sphere of negation embraces only the action expressed by the infinitive phrase (He is too busy to come -He is so busy that he "will not come}. Implicit negation is also contained in 'wish' sentences. The sentence 7 wish it were true' implies that it is not true. It is also contained in infinitive sentences of the type "Me to marry agairf!\ (compare with Russian: *lmo6bi a eu^epas ezo nonpocuna o neM-mo?!).
Sometimes negative sentences can be used in their secondary function and express affirmation. E.g. Oh, if it isn't Jim\ This sentence expresses emphatic affirmation. Emphatic affirmation is also expressed by negative rhetorical questions, e.g. / realty enjoyed it. - Who wouldn 't! (Everyone would enjoy it); What do I care? (I do not care.).
There is an interrelation between the communicative type of a sentence and negation. In declarative sentences the function of negation is to deny the truth of the proposition. In interrogative sentences (general questions) the use of the negator 'not' imparts an additional meaning to the question, that of surprise and astonishment. E.g. Don't you see the trick she is playing? Don't you understand? (G.Greene). In imperative sentences the negation changes the inducement from request or order to prohibition.
Negation is also interrelated with modality. When negation is used with modal verbs the sphere of negation is connected with the meaning of the modal verb. When the modal verbs participate in the expression of action modality (the meanings of ability, possibility, obligation etc.), the negation refers to the dictum, e.g. You must not do it - It's obligatory that you should not do it. You may not go there -You are permitted not to go there. But when the modal verbs express epistemic modality, the sphere of negation is not the dictum, but the modus. E.g. It can't be true - I do not believe that it is true.
Negation in English has some specific features different from Russian. l)English. sentences are mononegative whereas Russian sentences are polynegative. E.g. Mne uuxmo HUKo^^a Hul^e^o ne ^oeopum — No one ever tells me anything. When we describe English sentences as mononegative, we mean only the use of grammatical negators. Sentences with two grammatical negators sometimes occur in colloquial speech but they are considered to be substandard. But an English sentence may have a grammatical and a lexical/ word-building negator. The effect of using two negators in one sentence is usually the change of the meaning from negative to affirmative. E.g.- He is not unclever - He is clever. Such sentences differ from affirmative sentences proper by the degree of affirmation. A sentence with double negation usually expresses a lesser degree of affirmation and this device is known in stylistics as litotes (understatement).
Double negation may also occur in the structure of composite or semicomposite sentences and the meaning of such sentences is affirmative. E.g. / never told a woman I liked her when I did not (S. Maugham) -1 always told a woman that I liked her only when I really did. You cannot pick a local newspaper without seeing hisface(S. Turow) - Whenever you pick a local newspaper you see his face.
2) In English the negator tends to be placed in the modal part of the utterance, which makes the statement less assertive. E.g. I don't suppose you 'd want to give up waiting at tables ? (D. Steel).
3) The second part of a tag-question and the response to the utterance depend on the affirmative/negative character of the pervious remark. When the basic part of the sentence is affirmative, the tag is negative, and when the basic part is negative, the tag is affirmative. Correspondingly, the form of agreement to an affirmative statement starts with a ' Yes' and an affirmative sentence, whereas the agreement to a negative statement begins with a Wo' and a negative sentence and disagreement is expressed with a 'Yes' and an affirmative sentence. The meaning of agreement is also supported by the appropriate intonation. These points of cross-lingual difference require special attention in teaching English because the interference of the mother tongue is very strong here and Russian speakers of English often fumble with the choice of the appropriate form of agreement/disagreement to an initial negative utterance.