CHAPTER XXVIII COMPOUND SENTENCE 1871
§ 1.The compound sentence is a composite sentence built on the principle of coordination. Coordination, the same as subordination, can be expressed either syndetically (by means of coordinative connectors) or asyndetically.
The main semantic relations between the clauses connected coordinatively are copulative, adversative, disjunctive, causal, consequential, resultative. Similar semantic types of relations are to be found between independent, separate sentences forming a continual text. As is known, this fact has given cause to some scholars to deny the existence of the compound sentence as a special, regular form of the composite sentence.*
The advanced thesis to this effect states that the so-called "compound sentence" is a fictitious notion developed under
* See: Иофик Л. Л. Сложное предложение в новоанглийском языке. Л., 1968.
the school influence of written presentation of speech; what is fallaciously termed the "compound sentence" constitutes in reality a sequence of semantically related independent sentences not separated by full stops in writing because of an arbitrary school convention.
To support this analysis, the following reasons are put forward: first, the possibility of a falling, finalising tone between the coordinated predicative units; second, the existence, in written speech, of independently presented sentences introduced by the same conjunctions as the would-be "coordinate clauses"; third, the possibility of a full stop-separation of the said "coordinate clauses" with the preservation of the same semantic relations between them.
We must admit that, linguistically, the cited reasons are not devoid of a rational aspect, and, which is very important, they appeal to the actual properties of the sentence in the text. However, the conception taken as a whole gives a false presentation of the essential facts under analysis and is fallacious in principle.
As a matter of fact, there is a substantial semantico-syntactic difference between the compound sentence and the corresponding textual sequence of independent sentences. This difference can escape the attention of the observer when tackling isolated sentences, but it is explicitly exposed in the contexts of continual speech. Namely, by means of differences in syntactic distributions of predicative units, different distributions of the expressed ideas is achieved, which is just the coordinative syntactic functions in action; by means of combining or non-combining predicative units into a coordinative polypredicative sequence the corresponding closeness or looseness of connections between the reflected events is shown, which is another aspect of coordinative syntactic functions. It is due to these functions that the compound sentence does not only exist in the syntactic system of language, but occupies in it one of the constitutive places.
By way of example, let us take a textual sequence of independent monopredicative units:
Jane adored that actor. Hockins could not stand the sight of him. Each was convinced of the infallibility of one's artistic judgment. That aroused prolonged arguments.
Given the "negative" theory of the compound sentence is correct, any coordinative-sentential re-arrangements of the cited sentences must be indifferent as regards the sense
rendered by the text. In practice, though, it is not so. In particular, the following arrangement of the predicative units into two successive compound sentences is quite justified from the semantico-syntactic point of view:
→ Jane adored that actor, but Hockins could not stand the sight of him. Each was convinced of the infallibility of one's judgment, and that aroused prolonged arguments.
As different from this, the version of arranging the same material given below cannot be justified in any syntactic or semantic sense:
→ *Jane adored that actor. But Hockins could not stand the sight of him, each was convinced of the infallibility of one's judgment. And that aroused prolonged arguments.
On the other hand, some subordinate clauses of a complex sentence can also be separated in the text, thus being changed into specific independent sentences. Still, no one would seek to deny the existence of complex sentence patterns based on optional subordinative connections. Cf.:
Suddenly Laura paused as if she was arrested by something invisible from here. → Suddenly Laura paused. As if she was arrested by something invisible from here.
As for the factor of intonation, it should indeed be invariably taken into account when considering general problems of sentence identification. The propositional intonation contour with its final delimitation pause is one of the constitutive means of the creation and existence of the sentence as a lingual phenomenon.
essential or less essential changes in meanings, of his own choice, which is determined by concrete semantic and contextual conditions.
Thus, the idea of the non-existence of the compound sentence in English should be rejected unconditionally. On the other hand, it should be made clear that the formulation of this negative idea as such has served us a positive cause, after all: its objective scientific merit, similar to some other inadequate ideas advanced in linguistics at different times, consists in the very fact that it can be used as a means of counter-argumentation in the course of research work, as a starting point for new insights into the deep nature of lingual phenomena in the process of theoretical analysis sustained by observation.
§ 2. The compound sentence is derived from two or more base sentences which, as we have already stated above, are connected on the principle of coordination either syndetically or asyndetically. The base sentences joined into one compound sentence lose their independent status and become coordinate clauses — parts of a composite unity. The first clause is "leading" (the "leader" clause), the successive clauses are "sequential". This division is essential not only from the point of view of outer structure (clause-order), but also in the light of the semantico-syntactic content: it is the sequential clause that includes the connector in its composition, thus being turned into some kind of dependent clause, although the type of its dependence is not subordinative. Indeed, what does such a predicative unit signify without its syntactic leader?
The coordinating connectors, or coordinators, are divided into conjunctions proper and semi-functional clausal connectors of adverbial character. The main coordinating conjunctions, both simple and discontinuous, are: and, but, or, nor, neither, for, either ... or, neither ... nor, etc. The main adverbial coordinators are: then, yet, so, thus, consequently, nevertheless, however, etc. The adverbial coordinators, unlike pure conjunctions, as a rule can shift their position in the sentence (the exceptions are the connectors yet and so). Cf.:
Mrs. Dyre stepped into the room, however the host took no notice of it. → Mrs. Dyre stepped into the room, the host, however, took no notice of it.
The intensity of cohesion between the coordinate clauses can become loose, and in this case the construction is changed into a cumulative one (see Ch. XXVI). E.g.: Nobody ever disturbed him while he was at work; it was one of the unwritten laws.
As has been stated elsewhere, such cases of cumulation mark the intermediary status of the construction, i.e. its place in syntax between a composite sentence and a sequence of independent sentences.
§ 3. When approached from the semantico-syntactic point of view, the connection between the clauses in a compound sentence should be analysed into two basic types: first, the unmarked coordinative connection; second, the marked coordinative connection.
The unmarked coordinative connection is realised by the coordinative conjunction and and also asyndetically.
You will have a great deal to say to her, and she will have a great deal to thank you for. She was tall and slender, her hair was light chestnut, her eyes had a dreamy expression.
The broader connective meanings of the considered constructions can be exposed by equivalent substitutions:
The money kept coming in every week, and the offensive gossip about his wife began to be replaced by predictions of sensational success. → The money kept coming in every week, so the offensive gossip about his wife began to be replaced by predictions of sensational success. The boy obeyed, the request was imperative. → The boy obeyed, for the request was imperative.
The marked coordinative connection is effected by the pure and adverbial coordinators mentioned above. Each semantic type of connection is inherent in the marking semantics of the connector. In particular, the connectors but, yet, stilt, however, etc. express different varieties of adversative relations of clauses; the discontinuous connectors both ... and, neither ... nor express, correspondingly, positive and negative (exclusive) copulative relations of events; the connectors so, therefore, consequently express various subtypes of clausal consequence, etc.
In order to give a specification to the semantics of clausal relations, the coordinative conjunction can be used together with an accompanying functional particle-like or adverb-like word. As a result, the marked connection, as it were, becomes doubly marked. In particular, the conjunction but forms the conjunctive specifying combinations but merely, but instead, but also and the like; the conjunction or forms the characteristic coordinative combinations or else, or rather, or even, etc. Cf.:
The workers were not prepared to accept the conditions of the administration, but instead they were considering a mass demonstration. She was frank with him, or rather she told him everything concerning the mere facts of the incident.
The coordinative specifiers combine also with the conjunction and, thus turning the unmarked coordinative connection into a marked one. Among the specifiers here used are included the adverbial coordinators so, yet, consequently and some others. E.g.: The two friends didn't dispute over the issue afterwards, and yet there seemed a hidden discord growing between them.
It should be specially noted that in the described semantic classification of the types of coordinative relations, the asyndetic connection is not included in the upper division of the system, which is due to its non-specific functional meaning. This fact serves to sustain the thesis that asyndetic connection of clauses is not to be given such a special status in syntax as would raise it above the discrimination between coordination and subordination.
§ 4. It is easily seen that coordinative connections are correlated semantically with subordinative connections so that a compound sentence can often be transformed into
a complex one with the preservation of the essential relational semantics between the clauses. The coordinative connections, as different from subordinative, besides the basic opposition to the latter by their ranking quality, are more general, they are semantically less discriminatory, less "refined".
Our host had rung the bell on our entrance and now a Chinese cook came in with more glasses and several bottles of soda. → On our entrance, as our host had rung the bell, a Chinese cook came in with more glasses and several bottles of soda. There was nothing else to do, so Alice soon began talking again. → Alice soon began talking again because there was nothing else to do.
Speaking of the diagnostic role of subordinative constructions in relation to coordinative ones, it should be understood that this is of especial importance for the unmarked constructions, in particular for those realised by the conjunction and.
On the other hand, the coordinative connection of clauses is in principle not reducible to the subordinative connection, which fact, as in other similar cases of correlations, explains the separate and parallel existence of both types of clausal connection in language. This can be illustrated by the following example: I invited Mike to join us, but he refused.
It would appear at first sight that the subordinative diagnostic-specifying exposition of the semantic relations between the clauses of the cited sentence can be achieved by the concessive construction: "Though I invited Mike to join us, he refused". But the proper observation of the corresponding materials shows that this diagnosis is only valid for part of the possible contexts. Suffice it to give the following two contextual expansions to the sentence in question, of which only one corresponds to the cited diagnosis.
The first expansion: You are mistaken if you think that Mike was eager to receive an invitation to join us. I invited him, but he refused.
The given concessive reading of the sentence is justified by the context: the tested compound sentence is to be replaced here by the above complex one on a clear basis of equivalence.
The second expansion: It was decided to invite either Mike or Jesse to help us with our work. First I invited Mike, but he refused. Then we asked Jesse to join us.
It is quite clear that the devised concessive diagnosis is not at all justified by this context: what the analysed construction does render here, is a stage in a succession of events, for which the use of a concessive model would be absurd.
§ 5. The length of the compound sentence in terms of the number of its clausal parts (its predicative volume), the same as with the complex sentence, is in principle unlimited; it is determined by the informative purpose of the speaker. The commonest type of the compound sentence in this respect is a two-clause construction.
On the other hand, predicatively longer sentences than two-clause ones, from the point of view of semantic correlation between the clauses, are divided into "open" and "closed" constructions. Copulative and enumerative types of connection, if they are not varied in the final sequential clause, form "open" coordinations. These are used as descriptive and narrative means in a literary text. Cf.:
They visited house after house. They went over them thoroughly, examining them from the cellars in the basement to the attics under the roof. Sometimes they were too large and sometimes they were too small; sometimes they were too far from the center of things and sometimes they were too close; sometimes they were too expensive and sometimes they wanted too many repairs; sometimes they were too stuffy and sometimes they were too airy; sometimes they were too dark and sometimes they were too bleak. Roger always found a fault that made the house unsuitable (S. Maugham).
In the multi-clause compound sentence of a closed type the final part is joined on an unequal basis with the previous ones (or one), whereby a finalisation of the expressed chain of ideas is achieved. The same as open compound sentences, closed compound constructions are very important from the point of view of a general text arrangement. The most typical closures in such compound sentences are those effected by the conjunctions and (for an asyndetic preceding construction) and but (both for an asyndetic and copulative syndetic preceding construction). Cf., respectively:
His fingernails had been cleaned, his teeth brushed, his hair combed, his nostrils cleared and dried, and he had been dressed in formal black by somebody or other (W. Saroyan).
Pleasure may turn a heart to stone, riches may make it callous, but sorrow — oh, sorrow cannot break it (O. Wilde).
The structure of the closed coordinative construction is most convenient for the formation of expressive climax.