Leading Ukrainian linguists, including Kateryna Horodenska and Oleksandra Serbenska, indicate the dominance of passive constructions in Ukrainian professional texts, which are unnatural for the Ukrainian language, so they evoke to give preference to the active constructions over the passive ones. In order to comply with this recommendation it should be clearly defined what the active and passive constructions are. In linguistic literature there only three–component active/passive constructions are clearly defined. However in professional texts two-term constructions dominate. This problem of active/passive constructions with forms in ‑но, ‑то is especially controversial. We believe that the different views on this question are primarily related to the lack of a clear and unequivocal criterion of the active/passive forms of two-term syntactic constructions.
The purpose of this article is to try to formulate a clear and unequivocal criterion of the active/passive forms of syntactic constructions and to clarify the issue of the activeness/passivity constructions with forms in ‑но, ‑то and to classify typical constructions of the professional texts.
To achieve this purpose the article deals with transformational relationship of the typical three-component and two-component syntactic constructions that describe the transitive processes, and semantic differences between different constructions. Our study is based on a semantic model of the transitive process, which consists of two participants: the doer (or agent, actor, in Latin – agens) and the recipient (or patient, in Latin – patiens). In professional texts the living beings (persons in particular) and the lifeless objects (natural, technical or social) can be the doers.
It is found that four basic kinds of syntactic constructions correspond to the norm of Ukrainian language. They should be used in professional texts depending on the content. If you want to emphasize the doer and the process performed by him, the active three-component constructions are used. When the focus should be on the process and its results or the recipient and its characteristic (state), the author generally eliminates the doer from the sentence. The recipient and its characteristic are reproduced by two-component passive construction with passive participles, and the process and its result – by undefined personnel construction and by construction with forms in ‑но, ‑то and the direct object.
Therefore exact test of active and passive forms of a syntactic construction is formulated. It is common to the three-component and two-component syntactic constructions and is based on the syntactic function of the recipient: if the recipient is the direct object, the construction is active, and if recipient is the subject, the construction is passive. The criterion practically coincides with the views of Oleksandr Potebnia who denies the passive form of subjectless constructions by the availability of the direct object which is the name of the recipient, in the accusative.
On the basis of this formulated criterion the active form of constructions with forms in ‑но, ‑то and the direct object is proved. This conclusion is confirmed by quotations from the works of such eminent linguists as Oleksandr Potebnia, Olena Kurylo, Sergii Smerechynskyi, Boris Kulik, Vitalii Rusanivskyi. The active forms of these constructions are also confirmed by comparison with the Polish language, where constructions with similar forms in ‑но, ‑то also are considered as the active ones, justifying the presence of the direct object in the accusative in this construction.
It is proved that, unlike the construction with passive participles, which undoubtedly means the resultant state as a consequence of the executed (runtime) actions, the construction with forms in ‑но, ‑то has a different meaning, namely the event associated with the transition to this resultant state.
Many linguists consider that constructions with forms in ‑но, ‑то are passive because of two main reasons. The first is the origin of these forms from the passive participles, and the second one is the influence of the Russian language in which Ukrainian passive constructions with participles and active ones with forms in ‑но, ‑то have common equivalent – Russian passive constructions with short forms of passive participles of the perfective aspect. These Russian constructions depending on the context may have two meanings: event (something happened or will happen) or state (unchanged acquired characteristic).
It is shown that the Ukrainian language has two different constructions: one for action/events associated with the transition to a certain state, and the second for the state proper (unchanged acquired characteristics), and this should be taken into account, in particular while translating texts from Russian. In the meaning of event we should use the active construction with forms in ‑но, ‑то, in the meaning of state – passive construction with participles in ‑ний, ‑тий.