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A. The types of semi-complex sentences
The semi-composite sentence as a polypredicative construction of fused composition. The leading (fully predicative) semi-clause and the semi-predicative expansion (the complicator). The two types of semi-composite sentences: semi-complex and semi-compound sentences.
The compound sentence as a polypredicative construction. The leading/the sequential clause. Syndetic/asyndetic connections. The types of coordinative connectors. Marked/unmarked coordinative connections. Open and closed coordinative constructions.
The classification of complex sentences on the basis of subordinate clause types. Clauses of primary nominal/secondary nominal/adverbial positions. Types of attributive clauses. The subtypes of adverbial clauses. Parallel (homogeneous and heterogeneous) and consecutive subordination.
Subordinate clauses are to be classified into three groups: first, clauses of primary nominal positions, including subject, predicative and object clauses; second, clauses of secondary nominal positions, including various attributive clauses; and third, clauses of adverbial positions.
1) Clauses of primary nominal positions, including subject, predicative and object clauses, are interchangeable with each other: What you see is what you get; What you get is what you see. The subject clause regularly expresses the theme of a complex sentence, and the predicative clause regularly expresses its rheme. The subject clause may express the rheme of the sentence, if it is introduced by the anticipatory ‘it’: It is true that he stole the jewels. The subject clause in such complex sentences is at the same time appositive. The status of the object clause is most obvious in its prepositional introduction. Sometimes it is mixed with other functional semantics, in particular, with adverbial relational meanings: Do you know when they are coming? A separate group of object clauses are traditionally discussed under the heading “the rules of reported speech”: She said she would come early.
2) Clauses of secondary nominal positions, including various attributive clauses, fall into two major groups: “descriptive” attributive clauses and “restrictive” (“limiting”) attributive clauses. The descriptive attributive clause exposes some characteristic of the antecedent, while the restrictive attributive clause performs a purely identifying role, singling out the referent of the antecedent in the situation: I know a man who can help us (descriptive attributive clause); This is the man whom I met yesterday (restrictive attributive clause). Appositive clauses, a subtype of attributive clauses, define the meaning of the substantive antecedent of abstract semantics, represented by such nouns as ability, advice, attempt, decision, desire, impulse, promise, etc, or by an indefinite or demonstrative pronoun, or by an anticipatory ‘it’: I had the impression that she was badly ill; It is true that he stole the jewels. The unique role of the subjective anticipatory appositive construction consists in the fact that it is used as a universal means of rheme identification in the actual division of the sentence.
3) Clauses of adverbial positions make up the most numerous and the most complicated group of subordinate clauses, reflecting various relations between events. The following big groups of adverbial clauses can be distinguished.
- First,clauses of time and clauses of place render the semantics of temporal and spatial localization. Local identification is primarily determined by subordinators: it may be general, expressed by the conjunctions when and where, or particularizing, expressed by such conjunctions as while, since, before, no sooner than, from where, etc.: I jumped up when she called; Sit where you like.
- Second, clauses of manner and comparison give a qualification to the action or event rendered by the principal clause: Profits are higher than they were last year. The syntactic semantics of manner is expressed by subordinate appositive clauses introduced by phrases with the broad-meaning words way and manner: George writes the way his father did.
- Third, the most numerous group, adverbial clauses of different circumstantial semantics includes “classical” subordinate clauses of attendant event, condition, cause (reason), result (consequence), concession, and purpose: I am tired because I have worked all day etc. Cases of various ‘transferred’ and mixed syntactic semantics are also common in this group of clauses: Whatever happens, she won’t have it her own way. The subordinate clause expresses circumstantial (concessive) semantics mixed with non-circumstantial (substantive-nominal) semantics.
- Fourth, a separate group of adverbial clauses is formed by subordinate clauses which function as parenthetical enclosures, inserted into composite syntactic constructions by a loose connection. Parenthetical predicative insertions can be either subordinative or coordinative, exposed by either a subordinating connector or a coordinative connector (inner cumulative connections in equipotent and dominational phrases): As far as I remember, the man was surprised to see me there; They used to be, and this is no longer a secret, very close friends. Semantically, parenthetical clauses may be of two types: “introductory”, expressing different modal meanings (as in the first example above), and “deviational”, expressing insertions of varied semantic character (the second example above).
As the classification shows, the only notional position the subordinate clause can not occupy is the position of the predicate; this fact stresses once again the unique function of the predicate as the organizing centre of the sentence.
More than two clauses may be combined in one complex sentence. Subordinate clauses may be arranged by parallel or consecutive subordination.
- Subordinate clauses immediately referring to one principal clause are subordinated “in parallel’ or “co-subordinated”. Parallel subordination may be both homogeneous and heterogeneous: in homogeneous parallel constructions, the subordinate clauses perform similar functions, they are connected with each other coordinatively and depend on the same element in the principal clause: He said that it was his business and that I’d better stay off it; in heterogeneous parallel constructions, the subordinate clauses mostly refer to different elements in the principal clause: The man whom I saw yesterday said that it was his business.
- Consecutive subordinative constructions are formed when one clause is subordinated to another in a string of clauses: I don’t know why she said that she couldn’t come at the time that I suggested. There are three consecutively subordinated clauses in this sentence; they form a hierarchy of three levels of subordination. This figure shows the so-called depth of subordination perspective, one of the essential syntactic characteristics of the complex sentence.
The compound sentence is a polypredicative construction built on the principle of coordination (parataxis). The clauses of a compound sentence are arranged as units of syntactically equal rank, equipotently. Paradigmatically, the compound sentence is derived from two or more base sentences, joined as coordinate clauses. One of them becomes the leading clause (the “leader” clause), and the other clauses, which may or may not include the coordinative connector, occupy the dependent sentential position and may be called sequential clauses. Though the dependence between the clauses of a compound sentence is not subordinative (the sequential clause is not inserted into the position of a nominative part in the matrix sentence), the dependence is manifested positionally: by means of differences in syntactic distribution of predicative units, different distributions of the expressed ideas are achieved: They quarreled and then they made up again; They made up, and then they quarreled again (the sequence of events in time is shown as different).
Coordination, just like subordination, can be expressed either syndetically (by means of coordinative connectors) or asyndetically. Coordinative connectors, or coordinators, are divided into conjunctions proper: and, but, or, for, either…or, neither… nor, etc., and semi-functional connectors of adverbial character: nevertheless, besides, however, yet, thus, so, etc. The coordinate clauses can be combined asyndetically (by the zero coordinator): The quarrel was over, the friendship was resumed.
The intensity of cohesion between coordinate clauses can become loose, and in this case the construction is changed into a cumulative one: I wasn’t going to leave; I’d only just arrived (cf.: I’d only just arrived and I wasn’t going to leave). Cumulative constructions have an intermediary status between the composite sentence and the sequence of independent sentences.
Semantically, connections between coordinated clauses can be subdivided into two types: marked coordinative connection and unmarked coordinative connection.
- A marked coordination is expressed by conjunctions and adverbial connectors rendering adversative relations (but, however, yet), disjunctive relations (or, either… or), causal-consequential relations (so, for, therefore, thus), and positive/negative copulative relations of events (both... and, neither… nor).
- Unmarked coordination is expressed syndetically by the pure conjunction and, or asyndetically, by the zero coordinator. Relations rendered by unmarked connections are not specified in any way: they are either pure copulative relations, or enumerative relations, or broader connective meanings, which can be diagnosed by equivalent substitution with marked connections: We started to sing and he started to sing along (unmarked coordination, copulative relations); They were sitting on the beach, the seagulls were flying above, the waves were rolling (unmarked coordination, relations of enumeration).
Both unmarked and marked coordinative connections can be additionally specified when coordinators are used with an accompanying functional particle-like or adverb-like word: and yet, but instead, but also, or else.
The basic type of the compound sentence, as with the complex sentence, is a two-clause construction. If more than two or more sequential clauses are combined with one leading clause, from the point of view of semantic correlation between the clauses, such constructions are divided into “open” and “closed”.
- “Open” constructions may be further expanded by additional clauses (as in various enumerations or descriptions): They were sitting on the beach, the seagulls were flying above, the waves were rolling...
- In “closed” coordinative constructions the final part is joined on an unequal basis with the previous ones and the end of the chain of ideas is achieved: He joked, he made faces, but the child did not smile.
Both composite and semi-composite sentences are polypredicative syntactic constructions: they have two or more predicative lines. The difference between the two is in the degree of independence of predicative lines: in a composite sentence the predicative lines are expressed separately, they are fully predicative, each with a subject and a predicate of its own; in a semi-composite sentence the predicative lines are fused, blended, with at least one predicative line being semi-predicative (partially predicative). In other words, in a semi-composite sentence, one predicative line can be identified as the leading, or dominant one, and the others are semi-predicative expansions.
Paradigmatically, the semi-composite sentence is derived from two base sentences: I saw her entering the room. - I saw her. + She was entering the room. The second kernel sentence has been phrasalized, transformed into a participial phrase (her entering the room), and combined with the first sentence. The two predicative lines overlap around the common element, her, which performs the function of the object of the leading predicative part.
Thus, the semi-composite sentence can be defined as a syntactic construction of an intermediary type between the composite sentence and the simple sentence: in its “surface” syntactic structure, it is similar to a simple sentence, because it contains only one fully predicative line; in its “deep” semantic structure the semi-composite sentence is similar to a composite sentence, because it is derived from two base sentences and reflects two dynamic situations.
Semantically, the semi-composite sentence reflects the speaker’s presentation of two situationally connected events as being more closely united than the events described in the clauses of a composite sentence: one of the events (in the semi-predicative semi-clause) is presented as a by-event, as a background situation in relation to the other, dominant event (in the fully predicative semi-clause).
Semi-composite sentences are further subdivided into semi-compound sentences, built on the principle of coordination (parataxis) and semi-complex built on the principle of subordination (hypotaxis).
In the semi-complex sentence, one kernel sentence functions as a matrix into which the insert kernel sentence is embedded: the insert sentence is transformed into a partially predicative phrase and occupies the position of a nominative part in the matrix sentence. The matrix sentence becomes the dominant part of the semi-complex sentence and the insert sentence becomes its subordinate semi-clause.
Predicative fusion in semi-complex sentences may be effected in two ways: by the process of position-sharing (word-sharing) or by the process of direct linear expansion.
I. Sentences based on position-sharing fall into two types: sentences of subject-sharing and sentences of object-sharing.
a) Semi-complex sentences of subject-sharing are built up by means of two base sentences overlapping round a common subject, e.g.: They married young. - They married. + They were young. The predicate in such sentences is defined as a double predicate, because it is a blend of a verbal predicate with a nominal predicate. Semi-complex sentences with double predicates express the simultaneity of two events. Another type of the semi-complex sentence of subject-sharing is sentences which include the so-called complex subject constructions; in these sentences, the verb in the dominant part is used in the passive, and the complicator part includes either a participle, or an infinitive: She was seen to enter the room / entering the room. Sentences with complex subject constructions are passive transforms of sentences with complex object constructions, which make up another type of sentences based on position-sharing.
b) In semi-complex sentences of object-sharing, the common element, round which the fully-predicative and the semi-predicative parts overlap, performs the function of an object in the leading part and the function of the subject in the complicator semi-clause, for example, in sentences with complex object constructions, which include either a participle, or an infinitive: I saw her entering/ enter the room. - I saw her. + She was entering the room. Such sentences express the simultaneity of two events in the same place or various mental attitudes. There are other types of object-sharing semi-complex sentences, 1) expressing the relations of cause and result: The fallen rock knocked him unconscious. - The fallen rock knocked him. + He became unconscious. 2) complex sentences which can be described as sentences of “bound” object-sharing: They made me leave; We made him a star; I want the room done. Most semi-complex sentences of the object-sharing type, though not all of them, are transformable into sentences of the subject-sharing type: I saw her entering/ enter the room. - She was seen entering / to enter the room.
II. Semi-complex sentences of direct linear expansion include sentences with attributive, adverbial and nominal complication.
a) Semi-complex sentences of attributive complication are built up by means of two base sentences, one of which is transformed into a semi-predicative post-positional attribute to the antecedent element in the matrix sentence: The girl crying in the hall looked familiar to me. - The girl looked familiar to me. + The girl was crying. Being linear expansions, attributive semi-clauses are easily restored to the related attributive clauses with verbal or nominal predicates: The girl crying in the hall looked familiar to me. - The girl, who was crying in the hall, looked familiar to me.
b) Semi-complex sentences of adverbial complication are derived from two base sentences, one of which, the insert sentence, is predicatively reduced and embedded into an adverbial position of the other one, the matrix sentence: When asked about her family, she blushed. - She was asked about her family. + She blushed. Adverbial complication can be either conjoint or absolute: if the subject of the insert sentence is identical with the subject of the matrix sentence, it is deleted and a conjoint adverbial semi-clause is built, as in the example above; otherwise, the subject remains and an absolute adverbial construction is built: The weather being fine, we decided to have a walk. - The weather was fine. + We decided to have a walk.
c) Semi-complex sentences of nominal complication are derived from two base sentences, one of which, the insert sentence, is partially nominalized (changed into a verbid phrase with an infinitive or a gerund) and embedded in one of the nominal positions of the other sentence, the matrix. Like other types of linear complication, infinitive and gerundial nominal semi-clauses are easily transformed into related fully-predicative subordinate clauses (nominal or adverbial): I sent the papers in order for you to study them carefully. - I sent the papers so that you could study them carefully.
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