Всего на сайте:
282 тыс. 988 статей

Главная | Изучение языков

COMPOSITE SENTENCE AS A POLYPREDICATIVE CONSTRUCTION 2 страница  Просмотрен 929

If this interpretation is accepted, then the whole domain of cumulation should be divided into two parts: first, the continuative cumulation, placing the cumulated clause in post-position to the expanded predicative construction; second, the" parenthetical cumulation, placing the cumulated clause in inter-position to the expanded predicative construction. The inter-position may be made even into a pre-position as its minor particular case (here belong mostly constructions introduced by the conjunction as: as we have seen, as I have said, etc.). This paradox is easily explained by the type of relation between the clauses: the parenthetical clause (i. e. parenthetically cumulated) only gives a background to the essential information of the expanded original clause. And, which is very important, it can shift its position in the sentence without causing any change in the information rendered by the utterance as a whole. Cf.:

He was sent for very suddenly this morning, as I have told you already. → He was sent for, as I have told you already, very suddenly this morning. → As I have told you already, he was sent for very suddenly this morning.

§ 9. In the composite sentences hitherto surveyed the constitutive predicative lines are expressed separately and explicitly: the described sentence types are formed by minimum two clauses each having a subject and a predicate of „its own. Alongside of these "completely" composite sentences,


there exist constructions in which one explicit predicative line is combined with another one, the latter being not explicitly or completely expressed. To such constructions belong, for instance, sentences with homogeneous predicates, as wall as sentences with verbid complexes. Cf.:

Philip ignored the question and remained silent. I have never before heard her sing. She followed him in, bending her head under the low door.

That the cited utterances do not represent classical, explicitly constructed composite sentence-models admits of no argument. At the same time, as we pointed out elsewhere (see Ch. XXIV), they cannot be analysed as genuine simple sentences, because they contain not one, but more than one predicative lines, though presented in fusion with one another. This can be demonstrated by explanatory expanding transformations. Cf.:

... → Philip ignored the question, (and) he remained silent. ... → I have never before heard how she sings. ... → As she followed him in, she bent her head under the low door.

The performed test clearly shows that the sentences in question are derived each from two base sentences, so that the systemic status of the resulting constructions is in fact intermediary between the simple sentence and the composite sentence. Therefore these predicative constructions should by right be analysed under the heading of semi-composite sentences.

It is easy to see that functionally semi-composite sentences are directly opposed to composite-cumulative sentences: while the latter are over-expanded, the former are under-expanded, i. e. they are concisely deployed. The result of the predicative blend is terseness of expression, which makes semi-composite constructions of especial preference in colloquial speech.

Thus, composite sentences as polypredicative constructions exist in the two type varieties as regards the degree of their predicative explicitness: first, composite sentences of complete composition; second, composite sentences of concise composition. Each of these types is distinguished by its own functional specification, occupies a permanent place in the syntactic system of language and so deserves a separate consideration in a grammatical description.


CHAPTER XXVII COMPLEX SENTENCE

§ 1. The complex sentence is a polypredicative construction built up on the principle of subordination. It is derived from two or more base sentences one of which performs the role of a matrix in relation to the others, the insert sentences. The matrix function of the corresponding base sentence may be more rigorously and less rigorously pronounced, depending on the type of subordinative connection realised.

When joined into one complex sentence, the matrix base sentence becomes the principal clause of it and the insert sentences, its subordinate clauses.

The complex sentence of minimal composition includes two clauses — a principal one and a subordinate one. Although the principal clause positionally dominates the subordinate clause, the two form a semantico-syntactic unity within the framework of which they are in fact interconnected, so that the very existence of either of them is supported by the existence of the other.

The subordinate clause is joined to the principal clause either by a subordinating connector (subordinator), or, with some types of clauses, asyndetically. The functional character of the subordinative connector is so explicit that even in traditional grammatical descriptions of complex sentences this connector was approached as a transformer of an independent sentence into a subordinate clause.

Cf.:

Moyra left the room. → (I do remember quite well) that Moyra left the room. → (He went on with his story) after Moyra left the room. → (Fred remained in his place) though Moyra left the room. → (The party was spoilt) because Moyra left the room. → (It was a surprise to us all) that Moyra left the room...

This paradigmatic scheme of the production of the subordinate clause vindicates the possible interpretation of contact-clauses in asyndetic connection as being joined to the principal clause by means of the "zero"-connector. Cf.: —» (How do you know) 0 Moyra left the room?

Needless to say, the idea of the zero-subordinator simply stresses the fact of the meaningful (functional) character of the asyndetic connection of clauses, not denying the actual absence of connector in the asyndetic complex sentence.

• 303


The minimal, two-clause complex sentence is the main volume type of complex sentences. It is the most important type, first, in terms of frequency, since its textual occurrence by far exceeds that of multi-clause complex sentences; second, in terms of its paradigmatic status, because a complex sentence of any volume is analysable into a combination of two-clause complex sentence units.

§ 2. The structural features of the principal clause differ with different types of subordinate clauses. In particular, various types of subordinate clauses specifically affect the principal clause from the point of view of the degree of its completeness. As is well known from elementary grammatical descriptions, the principal clause is markedly incomplete in complex sentences with the subject and predicative subordinate clauses. E.g.:

And why we descend to their level is a mystery to me. (The gaping principal part outside the subject clause: " — is a mystery to me".) Your statement was just what you were expected to say. (The gaping principal part outside the predicative clause: "Your statement was just — ")

Of absolutely deficient character is the principal clause of the complex sentence that includes both subject and predicative subordinate clauses: its proper segment, i. e. the word-string standing apart from the subordinate clauses is usually reduced to a sheer finite link-verb. Cf.: How he managed to pull through is what baffles me. (The principal clause representation: " — is — ")

A question arises whether the treatment of the subject and predicative clauses as genuinely subordinate ones is rational at all. Indeed, how can the principal clause be looked upon as syntactically (positionally) dominating such clauses as perform the functions of its main syntactic parts, in particular, that of the subject? How can the link-verb, itself just a little more than an auxiliary element, be taken as the "governing predicative construction" of a complex sentence?

However, this seeming paradox is to be definitely settled on the principles of paradigmatic theory. Namely, to understand the status of the "deficiently incomplete and gaping" principal clause we must take into consideration the matrix nature of the principal clause in the sentence: the matrix presents the upper-level positional scheme which is to be completed by predicative constructions on the lower level.


In case of such clauses as subject and predicative, these are all the same subordinated to the matrix by way of being its embedded elements, i. e. the fillers of the open clausal positions introduced by it. Since, on the other hand, the proper segment of the principal clause, i. e. its "nucleus", is predicatively deficient, the whole of the clause should be looked upon as merged with the corresponding filler-subordinate clauses. Thus, among the principal clauses there should be distinguished merger principal clauses and non-merger principal clauses, the former characterising complex sentences with clausal deployment of their main parts, the latter characterising complex sentences with clausal deployment of their secondary parts.

§ 3. The principal clause dominates the subordinate clause positionally, but it doesn't mean that by its syntactic status it must express the central informative part of the communication. The information perspective in the simple sentence does not repeat the division of its constituents into primary and secondary, and likewise the information perspective of the complex sentence is not bound to duplicate the division of its clauses into principal and subordinate. The actual division of any construction, be it simple or otherwise, is effected in the context, so it is as part of a continual text that the complex sentence makes its clauses into rheme-rendering and theme-rendering on the complex-sentence information level.

When we discussed the problem of the actual division of the sentence, we pointed out that in a neutral context the rhematic part of the sentence tends to be placed somewhere near the end of it (see Ch. XXII, § 4). This holds true both for the simple and complex sentences, so that the order of clauses plays an important role in distributing primary and secondary information among them. Cf.: The boy was friendly with me because I allowed him to keep the fishing line.

In this sentence approached as part of stylistically neutral text the principal clause placed in the front position evidently expresses the starting point of the information delivered, while the subordinate clause of cause renders the main sentential idea, namely, the speaker's explanation of the boy's attitude. The "contraposition" presupposed by the actual division of the whole sentence is then like this: "Otherwise the boy wouldn't have been friendly". Should the clause-order of the utterance


be reversed, the informative roles of the clauses will be re-shaped accordingly: As I allowed the boy to keep the fishing line, he was friendly with me.

Of course, the clause-order, the same as word-order in general, is not the only means of indicating the correlative informative value of clauses in complex sentences; intonation plays here also a crucial role, and it goes together with various lexical and constructional rheme-forming elements, such as emphatic particles, constructions of meaningful antithesis, patterns of logical accents of different kinds.

Speaking of the information status of the principal clause, it should be noted that even in unemphatic speech this predicative unit is often reduced to a sheer introducer of the subordinate clause, the latter expressing practically all the essential information envisaged by the communicative purpose of the whole of the sentence.

Cf.:

You see that mine is by far the most miserable lot. Just fancy that James has proposed to Mary! You know, kind sir, that I am bound to fasting and abstinence.

The principal clause-introducer in sentences like these performs also the function of keeping up the conversation, i.e. of maintaining the immediate communicative connection with the listener. This function is referred to as "phatic". Verbs of speech and especially thought are commonly used in phatic principals to specify "in passing" the speaker's attitude to the information rendered by their rhematic subordinates:

I think there's much truth in what we hear about the matter. I'т sure I can't remember her name now.

Many of these introducer principals can be re-shaped into parenthetical clauses on a strictly equivalent basis by a mere change of position:

I can't remember her name now, I'т sure. There's much truth, I think, in what we hear about the matter.

§ 4. Of the problems discussed in linguistic literature in connection with the complex sentence, the central one concerns the principles of classification of subordinate clauses. Namely, the two different bases of classification are considered as competitive in this domain: the first is functional, the second is categorial.


In accord with the functional principle, subordinate clauses are to be classed on the analogy of the positional parts of the simple sentence, since it is the structure of the simple sentence that underlies the essential structure of the complex sentence (located on a higher level). In particular, most types of subordinate clauses meet the same functional question-tests as the parts of the simple sentence. The said analogy, certainly, is far from being absolute, because no subordinate clause can exactly repeat the specific character of the corresponding non-clausal part of the sentence; moreover, there is a deep difference in the functional status even between different categorial types of the same parts of the sentence, one being expressed by a word-unit, another by a word-group, still another by a substitute. Cf.:

You can see my state. → You can see my wretched state. →You can see my state being wretched. → You can see that my state is wretched. → You can see that. —»What can you see?

Evidently, the very variety of syntactic forms united by a central function and separated by specific sub-functions is brought about in language by the communicative need of expressing not only rough and plain ideas, but also innumerable variations of thought reflecting the ever developing reality.

Furthermore, there are certain (and not at all casual) clauses that do not find ready correspondences among the non-clausal parts of the sentence at all. This concerns, in particular, quite a number of adverbial clauses.

Still, a general functional analogy (though not identity) between clausal and lexemic parts of the sentence does exist, and, which is very important, it reflects the underlying general similarity of their semantic purpose. So, the functional classification of subordinate clauses on the simple sentence-part analogy does reflect the essential properties of the studied syntactic units and has been proved useful and practicable throughout many years of application to language teaching.

Now, in accord with the categorial principle, subordinate clauses аre to be classed by their inherent nominative properties irrespective of their immediate positional relations in the sentence. The nominative properties of notional words are reflected in their part-of-speech classification. A question

20* 307


arises, can there be any analogy between types of subordinate clauses and parts of speech?

One need not go into either a detailed research or heated argument to see that no direct analogy is possible here. This is made clear by the mere reason that a clause is a predicative unit expressing an event, while a lexeme is a pure naming unit used only as material for the formation of predicative units, both independent and dependent.

On the other hand, if we approach the categorial principle of the characterisation of clauses on a broader basis than drawing plain part-of-speech analogies, we shall find it both plausible and helpful.

As a matter of fact, from the point of view of their general nominative features all the subordinate clauses can be divided into three categorial-semantic groups. The first group includes clauses that name an event as a certain fact. These pure fact-clauses may be terminologically defined as "substantive-nominal". Their substantive-nominal nature is easily checked by a substitute test:

That his letters remained unanswered annoyed him very much. → That fact annoyed him very much. The woman knew only too well what was right and what was wrong. → The woman knew those matters well.

The second group of clauses also name an event-fact, but, as different from the first group, this event-fact is referred to as giving a characteristic to some substantive entity (which, in its turn, may be represented by a clause or a phrase or a substantive lexeme). Such clauses, in compliance with our principle of choosing explanatory terminology, can be tentatively called "qualification-nominal"'. The qualification-nominal nature of the clauses in question, as is the case with the first group of clauses, is proved through the corresponding replacement patterns:

The man who came in the morning left a message. → That man left a message. Did you find a place where we could make a fire? → Did you find such kind of place?

Finally, the third group of clauses make their event-nomination into a dynamic relation characteristic of another, event or a process or a quality of various descriptions. In keeping with the existing practices, it will be quite natural to call these clauses "adverbial". Adverbial clauses are best


tested not by a replacement, but by a definitive transformation. Cf.:

Describe the picture as you see it.

Describe the picture in the manner you see it. All will be well if we arrive in time. → All will be well on condition that we arrive in time.

§ 5. When comparing the two classifications in the light of the systemic principles, it is easy to see that only by a very superficial observation they could be interpreted as alternative (i. e. contradicting each other). In reality they are mutually complementary, their respective bases being valid on different levels of analysis. The categorial features of clauses go together with their functional sentence-part features similar to the categorial features of lexemes going together with their functional characteristics as parts of the simple sentence.

Subordinate clauses are introduced by functional connective words which effect their derivation from base sentences. Categorially these sentence subordinators (or subordinating clausalisers) fall into the two basic types: those that occupy a notional position in the derived clause, and those that do not occupy such a position. The non-positional subordinators are referred to as pure conjunctions. Here belong such words as since, before, until, if, in case, because, so that, in order that, though, however, than, as if, etc. The positional subordinators are in fact conjunctive substitutes. The main positional subordinators are the pronominal words who, what, whose, which, that, where, when, why, as. Some of these words are double-functional (bifunctional), entering also the first set of subordinators; such are the words where, when, that, as, used both as conjunctive substitutes and conjunctions. Together with these the zero subordinator should be named, whose polyfunctional status is similar to the status of the subordinator that. The substitute status of positional subordinators is disclosed in their function as "relative" pronominals, i. e. pronominals referring to syntagmatic antecedents. Cf.:

That was the day when she was wearing her pink dress. Sally put on her pink dress when she decided to join the party downstairs.

The relative pronominal "when" in the first of the cited sentences syntagmatically replaces the antecedent "the day",


while the conjunction "when" in the second sentence has no relative pronominal status. From the point of view of paradigmatics, though, even the second "when" cannot be understood as wholly devoid of substitute force, since it remains associated systemically with the adverb "then", another abstract indicator of time. So, on the whole the non-substitute use of the double-functional subordinators should be described not as utterly "non-positional", but rather as "semi-positional".

On the other hand, there is another aspect of categorial difference between the subordinators, and this directly corresponds to the nature of clauses they introduce. Namely, nominal clauses, being clauses of fact, are introduced by subordinators of fact (conjunctions and conjunctive subordinators), while adverbial clauses, being clauses of adverbial relations, are introduced by subordinators of relational semantic characteristics (conjunctions). This difference holds true both for monofunctional subordinators and bifunctional subordinators. Indeed, the subordinate clauses expressing time and place and, correspondingly, introduced by the subordinators when and where may be used both as nominal nominators and adverbial nominators. The said difference is quite essential, though outwardly it remains but slightly featured. Cf.:

I can't find the record where you put it yesterday. I forget where I put the record yesterday.

It is easy to see that the first place-clause indicates the place of action, giving it a situational periphrastic definition, while the second place-clause expresses the object of a mental effort. Accordingly, the subordinator "where" in the first sentence introduces a place description as a background of an action, while the subordinator "where" in the second sentence introduces a place description as a fact to be considered. The first "where" and the second "where" differ by the force of accent (the first is unstressed, the second is stressed), but the main marking difference between them lies in the difference between the patterns of their use, which difference is noted by the chosen terms "nominal" and "adverbial". This can easily be illustrated by a question-replacement test: ... →Where can't I find the record? ...→ What do I forget?

Likewise, the corresponding subdivision of the nominal


subordinators and the clauses they introduce can be checked and proved on the same lines. Cf.:

The day when we met is unforgettable. → Which day is unforgettable? When we met is of no consequence now.

What is of no consequence now?

The firstwhen-раttеrn is clearly disclosed by the test as a qualification-nominal, while the second, as a substantive-nominal.

Thus, the categorial classification of clauses is sustained by the semantic division of the subordinators which are distinguished as substantive-nominal clausalisers, qualification-nominal clausalisers and adverbial clausalisers. Since, on the other hand, substantive nomination is primary in categorial rank, while qualification nomination is secondary, in terms of syntactic positions all the subordinate clauses are to be divided into three groups: first, clauses of primary nominal positions to which belong subject, predicative and object clauses; second, clauses of secondary nominal positions to which belong attributive clauses; third, clauses of adverbial positions.

§ 6. Clauses of primary nominal positions — subject, predicative, object — are interchangeable with one another in easy reshufflings of sentence constituents. Cf.:

What you saw at the exhibition is just what I want to know. → What I want to know is just what you saw at the exhibition. → I just want to know what you saw at the exhibition.

However, the specific semantic functions of the three respective clausal positions are strictly preserved with all such interchanges, so that there is no ground to interpret positional rearrangements like the ones shown above as equivalent.

The subject clause, in accord with its functional position, regularly expresses the theme on the upper level of the actual division of the complex sentence. The thematic property of the clause is well exposed" in its characteristic uses with passive constructions, as well as constructions in which the voice opposition is neutralised. E.g.:

Why he rejected the offer has never been accounted for. • What small reputation the town does possess derives from two things.


It should be noted that in modern colloquial English the formal position of the subject clause in a complex sentence is open to specific contaminations (syntactic confusions on the clausal level). Here is one of the typical examples: Just because you say I wouldn't have (seen a white elephant— M. B.) doesn't prove anything (E.Hemingway).

The contamination here consists in pressing into one construction the clausal expression of cause and the expression of the genuine theme-subject to which the predicate of the sentence refers. The logical implication of the statement is, that the event in question cannot be taken as impossible by the mere reason of the interlocutor's considering it as such. Thus, what can be exposed of the speaker's idea by way of "de-contaminating" the utterance is approximately like this: Your saying that I wouldn't have doesn't prove anything.

Another characteristic type of syntactic contamination of the subject-clause pattern is its use as a frame for an independent sentence. E. g.: You just get yourselves into trouble is what happens (M. Bradbury).

The cited contamination presents a feature of highly emotional speech. The utterance, as it were, proves to be a living illustration of the fact that where strong feelings are concerned the logic of lingual construction is liable to be trespassed upon. The logic in question can be rehabilitated by a substitution pattern: You just get yourselves into trouble, this is what happens.

As is known, the equivalent subject-clausal function can be expressed by the construction with an anticipatory pronoun (mostly the anticipatory it). This form of expression, emphasising the rheme-clause of the sentence, at the same time presents the information of the subject clause in a semantically stronger position than the one before the verb. Therefore the anticipatory construction is preferred in cases when the content of the subject clause is not to be wholly overbalanced or suppressed by the predicate of the sentence. E. g.: How he managed to pull through is a miracle. —» It is a miracle how he managed to pull through.

Some scholars analyse the clause introduced by the anticipatory construction as presenting two possibilities of interpretation which stand in opposition to each other. Accord-ing to the first and more traditional view, this is just a subject clause introduced by the anticipatory it, while in the light of the second, the clause introduced by it is appositive,


In our opinion, the latter explanation is quite rational; however, it cannot be understood as contrary to the "anticipatory" theory. Indeed, the appositive type of connection between the introducer it and the introduced clause is proved by the very equivalent transformation of the non-anticipatory construction into the anticipatory one; but the exposition of the appositive character of the clause does not make the antecedent it into something different from an introductory pronominal element. Thus, the interpretation of the subject clause referring to the introducer it as appositive, in fact, simply explains the type of syntactic connection underlying the anticipatory formula.

The predicative clause, in conformity with the predicative position as such, performs the function of the nominal part of the predicate, i. e. the part adjoining the link-verb. The link-verb is mostly expressed by the pure link be, not infrequently we find here also the specifying links seem and look; the use of other specifying links is occasional. E. g.:

The trouble is that I don't know Fanny personally. The question is why the decision on the suggested innovation is still delayed. The difficulty seems how we shall get in touch with the chief before the conference. After all those years of travelling abroad, John has become what you would call a man of will and experience.

Besides the conjunctive substitutes, the predicative clause, the same as other nominal clauses, can be introduced by some conjunctions (that, whether, as if, as though). The predicative clause introduced by the conjunctions as if, as though has an adverbial force, which is easily shown by contrast: She looks as though she has never met him. → She behaves as though she has never met him.

Предыдущая статья:COMPOSITE SENTENCE AS A POLYPREDICATIVE CONSTRUCTION 1 страница Следующая статья:COMPOSITE SENTENCE AS A POLYPREDICATIVE CONSTRUCTION 3 страница
page speed (0.0125 sec, direct)