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CHAPTER 7. THE COMPOUND SENTENCE

1. The nature of the composite sentence. The peculiarities of the structural, semantic and communicative aspects of the composite sentence.

2. The types of the composite sentence. The problem of asyndetic type of connection between the clauses in a composite sentence.

3. The compound sentence. The semantic relations between the components of a compound sentence.

4. The semicompound sentence.

1. The composite sentence is a polypredicative syntactic unit composed from two or more clauses (analogous in their syntactic structures to simple sentences) which constitute a syntactic, semantic and communicative whole. A

composite sentence is built on the basis of simple sentences, but it is not a mere combination of simple sentences, but a qualitatively new syntactic unit of a higher syntactic sublevel. Simple sentences united into the structure of a composite sentence have a special name in English - they are called clauses. Being a qualitatively new syntactic unit the composite sentence is characterized by certain structural, semantic and communicative peculiarities. From the structural point of view the composite sentence is characterized by the presence of two or more primary predicative lines. It is a polypredicative structure whereas the simple sentence is a monopredicative structure. From the semantic point of view the difference between the simple and the composite sentence lies in the fact that the simple sentence denotes one situation of reality (unless it contains implicit predication) and thus has one underlying semantic structure whereas the composite sentence denotes two or more situations of reality and expresses various relations between them which reflects various types of logical relations between events of reality perceived and conceptualized by our mind. E.g. It was odd because to all appearance he was not a bad sort (S.Maugham). The two events presented in the sentence are connected by causative-consecutive relations, which the speaker establishes between them on the basis of his knowledge of the world. And this feature constitutes the main semantic peculiarity of the composite sentence. Thus we may say that the composite sentence reflects by means of the language structure the complexity of the relations in the objective reality and the complexity of the conceptual picture of the world existing in the human mind. From the communicative aspect the composite sentence may present a combination of two different communicative types of sentences but once they are combined within a composite sentence and become clauses, they lose their independent communicative status and the communicative status of the resultative composite sentence is established on the basis of the clause which has the status of the principal clause. E.g. Do you think we should postpone the decision? - an interrogative clause; If you want to see the results be patient for a while - an imperative sentence. Another peculiarity of the communicative aspect of the composite sentence lies in the fact that it is characterized by several levels of actual division. The first level of actual division is drawn between the clauses. And here the order of clauses follows the general rule: in the neutral style the clause which comes first is the theme and the clause which comes last is the rheme. E.g. I had read Main Street when I was in high school (J. Steinbeck) Here the principal clause presents the theme and the subordinate clause is the rheme. And each clause in the structure of the composite sentence has its own level of actual division - its own theme and rheme or only the rheme. In the given example the theme in the principal clause is / and the rheme is Main Street (the predicate presents a transition from the theme to the rheme), and in the subordinate clause the rheme is in high school. In the sentence As he shut the door he saw Ole Andreson with his clothes on (E. Hemingway) - the order of clauses is different which signals a difference in the actual division - the subordinate clause is the theme and the principal clause is the rheme. The fact that certain types of subordinate clauses (e.g. object and attributive clauses) usually follow the principal clause and not precede it only testifies to the fact that, like secondary parts of the sentence, they usually carry new information, i.e. fulfil the function of the rheme.



Composite sentences are most characteristic of literary written speech rather than colloquial oral speech. Of course composite sentences do occur in oral speech but they differ considerably in length and complexity from sentences in written literary speech. Most scholars recognize now that written speech is not just a recorded version of oral speech but the two kinds of speech have considerable difference if only because oral speech depends on the sound and written - on the sight. Sound is limited both spatially and temporally and therefore cannot be preserved (of course in modern age it can but originally it could not which affected the peculiarities of oral messages) whereas written speech is not limited by time or space, and written messages, as they are preservable through time and space, can be reread, dissected, analyzed over and over which allows them to be very lengthy and very complicated in their structure (for detailed treatment of the difference between oral and written speech see: [Chafe 1994, 41-50]). A written text, therefore, may abound in lengthy descriptions, digressions, reasoning, logical suppositions and conclusions. - and all this complexity can be best presented within the structure of a composite sentence. E.g.

There is a tine in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that envy is ignorance; that imitation is suicide; that he must make himself for better or worse at his portion; that though the wide universe is fool of good, no kernel of nourishing corn can come to him through his toil bestowed on that plot of ground which ig given to him to till (R. W. Emerson)

It is true, though, that modern fiction as compared to classical literature is characterized by the tendency to use less complicated and shorter sentences.

2. According to the basic semantic difference in the relations between clauses, that of coordination/subordination the composite sentence is divided into two types: the compound sentence based on coordinative semantic relations between the clauses, and the complex sentence based on the semantic relations of subordination. Coordination reflects the most general types of logical relations between situations and events: conjunction, disjunction, juxtaposition, cause and consequence. Subordination reflects various relations of dependence between events: condition, result, cause etc. As a rule, the principal clause presents the main event and the subordinate clause - the dependent event which explains or modifies the main event. The meaning of coordination/subordination is manifested by special words - the conjunctions and conjunctive adverbs and pronouns which carry a double function: 1) they connect the clauses into one whole; 2) they specify the type of semantic relations between the clauses. Conjunctions thus serve as explicit markers of the semantic types of relations between the clauses. Some scholars point out a third type of a composite sentence, based on asyndetic connection of the clauses [Fax 2000, 738]. The question concerning the nature and the status of asyndetic composite sentence has been under debate for quite some time (for detailed analysis see: [Ilyish 1971, 318-327]. We believe that the opposition syndetic/asyndetic concerns the formal means of expressing •semantic relations between the clauses rather than the character of these relations. In the case of syndetic sentences the semantic relations between the clauses are expressed explicitly, by the conjunctions and conjunctive words, and in the case of asyndetic sentences there are no formal means. This may be either the result of deliberate deletion of conjunctions for the sake of economy which frequently occurs in oral speech (e.g. This is the book I want, He said he would be lafe; Should he come earlier, tell him to wait), or the semantic relations are expressed implicitly, they are inferred from the semantic interpretation of the contents of the clauses. E.g. / talked to her in English, she answered back in Chinese(Amy Tan); I don't want to be an English writer; I want to be a European one (J. Fowles).Follow the accident, fear the fixed plan - that is the rule(Idem).

In fact the semantic relations between the clauses in an asyndetic composite sentence are similar to the semantic relations between sentences in the structure of a whole text where separate sentences are connected into one whole text on the basis of various semantic relations between them. E.g. He gasped. He understood everything - the two sentences are connected by causative-consecutive relations.

The borderline between coordination and subordination is not very rigid. As we have already mentioned there are sentences which, according to their formal markers (conjunctions) refer to the complex type but semantically are closer to the compound sentence. Such are sentences with attributive continuative clauses in which the meaning of subordination is weakened and which are semantically closer to a compound sentences. E.g. She may have other ideas; to be a blue stocking, for instance, in which case I must give her the chance (L. Lee). Another example of the kind: English does, in fact, encode other social distinctions such as gender in its third person pronouns while Finnish does not (S. Romaine). The conjunction while in the quoted sentence expresses juxtaposition rather than time and the sentence, though formally refers to a complex sentence is semantically closer to a compound one.

On the other hand, the relations of cause and consequence may be coded both by a compound and a complex sentence which brings them very close and makes them mutually transformable. E.g. I was busy, so I could not go to the party As I was busy, I could not go to the party.

The fact that causative-consecutive relations are presented by both types of the composite sentence may be explained by the importance of these relations in the real world and in the human consciousness. The majority of events happening in the real world are connected by cause and consequence relations and language responds to it accordingly. Even if two events just follow each other the underlying relations between them are often causative-consecutive, e.g. The sun set and it grew dark. The rain stopped and the sun began to shine. He missed the bus and was late for work. So, because, of the importance of these relations they are coded by both types of the composite sentence. In the complex sentence they are presented more vividly due to the semantics of the conjunctions, in a compound sentence or in a sequence of simple sentences they may be less vivid, but they are still expressed.

In speech, especially in written, literary texts we often come across mixed types of sentences which combine both subordination and coordination. E.g. He never really expected an offer: hysteria and not hope had dictated his behavior, and it took him a long time to realize that he was not being mocked (G. Greene); They complained that he was conceited; and since he had excelled only in matters which to them were unimportant, they asked satirically what he had to be conceited about (S. Maugham). Whenever Garret found himself thinking about her, he remembered either the way she looked that night or how she looked the very last time they went sailing (N. Sparks).

3. The compound sentence is a syntactic unit which consists of two or more clauses joined together on the basis of coordinate relations. Coordination reflects equal relations between two or more thoughts integrating them into one syntactic whole. Though the sentences name two or more events of reality which are not subordinated to one another, yet when they are joined together and make up a compound sentence they partially lose their independent status and become clauses. The first sentence becomes the "leader clause" and the others are "sequential clauses". The leader clause is structurally more independent whereas the successive clauses are more dependent which is manifested by the fact that they may contain anaphoric elements, substitutes and they may be elliptical. E.g. He had heard too many chilling stories about him, and he had reason to believejhem ( S. Sheldoh). Bran Gwen never smoked cigarettes, yet he took the one offered, fumbling painfully with thick fingers, blushing to the roots of his hair (D.H. Lawrence). They never seemed happier, nor their marriage healthier, than those two summers (J. Updike). Yet the degree of dependence between the clauses in a compound sentence is much weaker than the dependence between the clauses in a complex sentence. The underlying principle of coordination finds its manifestation in the fact that the clauses in the structure of a complex sentence may have similar syntactic structures ( form parallel syntactic constructions) and may contain semantically related words that form synonymic, antonymic or hyponymic relations. E.g. Down, down, down we fall into that terrifying, wildly inconsequent, yet perfectly logical world where time races, than stands still; where space stretches, then contracts (V. Woolf). We can draw a certain analogy in the relations between the clauses in a compound sentence and the relations between homogeneous parts of a sentence which are also characterized by a certain semantic proximity based on synonymic, antonymic and hyponymic connections.

The semantic relations between the clauses within a compound sentence present the result of the interaction between three layers: the semantics of the conjunction, the semantics of the grammatical components of the sentence and the semantics of the lexical composition of the sentence. By the grammatical form of the sentence components we first of all mean the tense-aspect forms of the verb because the verb in its finite form establishes the semantico- syntactic centre of the sentence. As it is rightfully pointed out by Y. A. Levitsky, the semantics of the grammaticaj forms of the sentence, due to its general and abstract character, points at only two types of semantic relations: simultaneity and succession of events presented in the sentence [jicbhijkhh 2003, 315]. E.g. / knew that he was praying and I kept still (S. Leacock) - simultaneity; He was only in it a second and then he was out again (Idem) — succession . The more explicit and specific markers of coordination are the coordinative conjunctions and, but, or, nor, either... or, neither... nor, for, and adverbial sentence-connectors, such as yet, thus, so, consequently, nevertheless, however, therefore. The basic difference between the conjunctions proper and adverbial connectors lies in the fact that the position of the latter in the sentence (with the exception of so and yet) is not as rigidly fixed as that of the conjunctions proper. The conjunctions and adverbial connectors carry out not only the formal function of coordination but have their own semantics (which is of a very general nature) which indicates the character of semantic relations between the clauses and in its turn - the character of relations between the situations of reality established by the speaker in the perception of reality and verbalization of those situations.

In general the semantic elaboration of coordination is less elaborate then subordination. Traditionally scholars point out four types of semantic relations between the clauses of compound sentences which are marked by the prototypical conjunctions: copulative (the conjunction and), adversative (but), disjunctive (or), causative-consecutive (for, therefore, so). Let's have examples of each type of semantic relations:

She woke up screaming every night and it was always the same dream (S. Sheldon) -copulative; / made enough working on shares, but they came and took it all away from me (E. Caldwell) - adversative; You'll either sail this boat correctly or you'll never go out with me again (Th. Dreiser) - disjunctive; I had an inclination to get married, so I looked for more remunerative work (E. Waugh) — causitive-consecutive.

Copulation as a type of semantic relations between the clauses in fact is a very wide term and it embraces such relations as correlation (He was an artist and she was a dancer), likeness ( She could sing and so could he), enumeration ( One small group was playing cards, .another sat about a table and drank (Th. Dreiser)), specification (Rubbish lay everywhere, and long-broken tractors rusted in their own debris (C. Thurbon)), cumulation (They stood together, away from the pile of stones in the corner, and their jokes were quiet and they smiled rather than laughed (Sh. Jackson).

However, the most frequent coordinative conjunction and appears to be very polysemantic and may in fact express all the four types of semantic relations between the clauses. E.g. There were the few of us who cared, and there were the silly ones (J. Fowles) - copulative; You are young and I am old, You are rich and I am poor - adversative; My next plan was to be a carpenter, and for a winter I went regularly to classes in a government polytechnic (E. Waugh) - causative -consecutive. The semantic relations between the clauses in a compound sentences are expressed, as we have pointed out, not only by the conjunctions, but by the structure of the whole sentence and.by the semantics of the words in the clauses. Of course, the conjunctions serve as the most explicit markers, but the other means are also very important. It is possible to trace a certain relationship between the semantics of the conjunction and the lexical semantics of the words in the clauses as well as the whole structure of the compound sentence. The role of the lexical semantics of the words in the sentence varies and depends largely on how explicitly the semantic relations are expressed by the conjunctions. In the case of prototypical conjunctions the semantics of the words in the clauses plays a secondary role, because the conjunction serves as a very explicit marker of the semantic relations. There may be a certain harmony between the meaning of the conjunction and the semantics of the lexical composition of the clauses. Thus, in case of the copulative relations the words in the clauses are often characterized by a certain semantic proximity: they may be partial synonyms or belong to the same semantic/ thematic field, the syntactic structures of the clauses are often identical E.g. It was summer and the hay harvest was almost over (D.H. Lawrence).

In the case of adversative relations the words in the clauses may also form semantic oppositions. E.g. It was early afternoon but very dark outside, and the lamps had already been turned on (I. Murdoch). In the beginning she had been too ill to be concerned about herself, but slowly she had regained her strength and her health (S. Sheldon).

When a less prototypical conjunction is used to connect the clauses or when the clauses are joined asyndetically, the role of the lexical semantics of .the components of the sentence and their syntactic arrangement increases and they play the main role in identifying the semantic relations between the clauses. E.g. It was still early and the place was empty (J. Cheever)\ Do not dictate to your author; try to become him (V. Wool/).

The order of clauses within a compound sentence may sometimes be reversible, e.g. The piano goes out of tune, the dog goes mad (J. Updike), but usually it cannot be reversed for several reasons, both semantic and structural. First of all, the order of clauses cannot be reversed if it corresponds to the order of events in reality, e.g. 'Just then another automobile drove up, and six or seven men got out (E. Caldwell}. I opened the cab door and let him out, and he -went about his ceremony (J.Steinbeck). It cannot be reversed if the first clause serves as an exposition for the action presented in the successive clause, e.g. She was in the middle of a lake in a fierce storm and a man and a woman were forcing her head under icy waters, drowning her (S. Sheldon). The order of clauses cannot be reversed for structural reasons - if the successive clause contains substitutes and representants or elliptical constructions. E.g. My town had grown and changed and my friend along with it (J. Steinbeck). Oil was the future and he was determined to be apart of it (S. Sheldon).

As for the number of clauses in a compound sentence it is determined first of all by the type of semantic relations between the components of a compound sentence. The most common is a two-clause construction which is typical for expressing adversative, disjunctive and cause-consequence relations. They are called "closed" constructions [Blokh 1983, 339]. E.g. Just as he never forgave an injury, neither did he forget a favour (S. Sheldon; He proposed to her five times but she refused..

In case of enumerative and cumulative semantic relations the number of clauses within a compound sentence is theoretically unlimited and it is determined by the communicative intention of the speaker (and the skill of the writer). In the extract presented below the famous Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock describes a visit to a photographer who does not seem to like the visitor's face and gives the visitor a series of commands which are presented either isolatedly or in a series of compounds with several clauses: " The ears are bad, droop them a little more. Thank you. Now the eyes. Roll them in under the lids. Put the hands on the knees, please, and turn the face just a little upward. Yes, that's better. Now just expand the lungs! So! And hump the neck- that's it - and just contract the waist -ha! - and twist the hip up toward the elbow --now!" (S. Leacock).

Very often the clauses within a compound sentence are arranged climatically and have a great expressive effect. E.g. Ted would begin his day with a swim, before dressing to catch the train, and Linda would hold court all day amid crowds of wet matrons and children, and Ted would return home from work to find a poolside cocktail party in progress, and the couple would end their day at midnight, by swimming nude, before bed. What ecstasy!(J. Updike). It overflows, it floods, it mingles with the souls of others (V. Woolf) The avenue darkened with black bees from the department stores: the traffic swelled into an interlaced jam; the buses were packed four deep like platforms above the thick crowd; but Silvester, to whom the daily shift and change was a matter only of sordid monotony, walked on...(F.S. Fitzgerald).Thus compound sentences have a great stylistic potential and are indispensable for creative prose.

4. Semicompound sentences are structures that contain two types ofpredication: primary and secondary connected by coordinate relations. This structural type is presented by sentences with homogeneous parts, sentences with the double predicate, sentences with infinitival and participial constructions. E.g. Directly behind the boat, the rushing water hissed and swirled (N. Sparks}; Teresa pulled her hair back, looking out over the water (Idem; He spoke eight languages and was a noted raconteur (S. Sheldon). Donny Ray lies stiff as a board with a sheet tucked tightly under his frail body (J. Grisham). At fifteen he left his home town never to come back again (S.Sheldon).

There are two ways of describing the derivational history of semi-compound sentences. They may be treated either as the result of extending the elementary sentence with the help of such syntactic processes as extension, expansion and contamination (see ch. 2) or as the result of performing various transformations over two simple sentences and joining then into a semi-compound sentence (for detailed description of the derivational history of semicompound sentences see: [Blokh 1983, 351-361]). However, not all sentences with homogeneous parts present the results of certain syntactic transformations. If we look attentively at such sentences as Dora and Nora were twins; John and Mary are a happy couple; Oil and water do not mix; Jack and Jill never quarrel, we can see that they cannot be treated as the result of transformation over two simple sentences. In such sentences we have two subjects which make one whole, named by the predicative (twins, couple) or which participate in the reciprocal action named by the predicate ( mix, quarrel). In other words homogeneous subjects in such predicates are obligatory and the combination of two (or more) nouns intended for the subject position takes place at the phrase level, not at the sentence level. Therefore, describing the syntax of homogeneous parts, scholars think it necessary to differentiate between two types of conjunctions which result in homogeneous parts: sentential conjunction (Nick and Bob are my friends) and phrasal conjunction (Nick and Bob are friends) [JleBHUKHH 2003, 346-347; ria/ryneBa 1974, 161]. The surface structures of the two sentences are identical but their derivational histories and their semantic structures are not identical. Another case of asymmetry between the syntactic and semantic structures of the sentence occurs when the conjunction and joins two or more parts of the sentence which are not wholly homogeneous. Here we may differentiate between two cases. The conjunction may join two words which carry out different syntactic functions in the sentence. E.g. Who and why did such a nasty thing never became known. Who refers to the subject of the sentence and why - to the adverbial modifier; Some day and some way I will repay him (T. Chamales). Some way is an adverbial modifier of time and some way is an adverbial modifier of manner, so they are not wholly homogeneous. In other cases homogeneous parts carry out identical syntactic functions but their semantic functions are different. E.g. / took a long and hot bath (I. Shaw). The words long and hot are homogeneous on the syntactic level, but their semantic roles are different: long describes the duration of the process and hot - the quality of the water in the bathtub. Another example: Once again he rose to his feet and said quietly and deliberately (J. Archer) - the two adverbs quietly and deliberately function as adverbial modifiers, but they belong to different types of adverbial modifiers: 'quietly' is an adverbial modifier of manner whereas ''deliberately' is an adverbial modifier of purpose. Such cases present great interest and deserve a more profound analysis.

Semicompound sentences are widely used both in everyday speech and in the language of literature. They reveal the principle of economy of the language and they correspond best to the tendency of modern language to express more information within a unit of time or space.


Date: 2015-01-12; view: 1381


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