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Debated Problems within a Simple Sentence

1. Debated is the status of a simple sentence with expansion. 1.1. Expanded are the simple sentences with homogeneous parts. Any member of the sentence can be homogeneous (The beauty of the lakes, the forests, and the stretches of the tranquil blue skies gently took the army out of Alessandro. M.Helprin. He came awake with a jerk, turned towards the window and almost screamed. St. King). 1.2. Expanded are the simple sentences with infinitival, gerundial and participial phrases( There are other businesses to attend to => There are other businesses which can be attended to). 1.3. Expanded are the simple sentences with infinitival, gerundial and participial predicative constructions which function as complex parts of a sentence {(I want it to be spring (an objective with an infinitive construction).Riding side by side, the night was beautiful ( an absolute participial construction). Judging by his appearance, he is a second-rate actor(an absolute participial construction)}. A sentence with homogeneous parts is analysed as a simple sentence with one explicit predicative tie and two or more implicit predicative ties. Some scholars find it to be a compound sentence. A sentence carrying phrases and constructions with non-finites is considered to be a complex sentence with an abridged clause. B.A.Ilyish finds the structures with homogeneous elements, apposition, detachment and predicative constructions with non-finites, nouns, adjectives, statives to be transitional sentences between mono- and polypredicative structures.

2. Debated is the status of a sentence with syncretical elements( Her life was gone and done with. His hands are cut and bleeding (are is an auxiliary for perfect and continuous tenses).

3. There are no rigid criteria of distinguishing between secondary parts of the simple sentence: between an attribute and a prepositional object ( The sound of the door opening made him start). In traditional linguistics nounal constructions with the preposition of after a noun are considered to be prepositional objects; between a prepositional object and an adverbial modifier ( After many snows I was home again); between an attribute and an adverbial modifier( She is not a girl to marry).

O.Jespersen distinguished secondary parts into secondaries and tertiaries. A. Peshkovsky divided members of the sentence into those which are governed and those which are not governed. The theory of secondary parts has many weaknesses, hence structuralists discard traditional parsing into primaries and secondaries and resort to the IC method, distributional and transformational methods when analyzing non-included utterances (simple sentences).

4. Debated is the nature of the formations of the type His attachments may be said to have ended. It is not clear whether it is a complex subject expressed by the nominanative with the infinitive construction or a modal predicate of double orientation.

5. Debated are the character and the functional status of infinitival structures in such sentences as Common people to talk about him! B.A. Ilyish treated it as a two-member sentence with an infinitive functioning as a simple infinitival predicate. But it contradicts the generally established belief that a predicate should be expressed by a finite form of the verb.

6. Debated is the status of the sentence opening with conjunctions or conjunctive phrases (Silly little fool trying to flatter me. As if I don’t know that). The nature of the opening element and of the whole sentence is debated. B.A.Ilyish holds that it is an emancipated clause turning into an independent simple sentence. The opening element is no longer a conjunction. Acquiring some additional semantic meaning, it becomes an interjection.




There are dichotomic and trichotomic classifications of sentences. In a dichotomic classification we see a simple ( one –axis) sentence and a composite sentence.

The trichotomic classification remains the prevalent scheme of the structural classifications of sentences in all linguistic schools (the simple sentence, the compound sentence, the complex sentence with structural variations). Descriptivists introduced the terms a single free utterance (minimal and expanded)( I want a cat), a duplication (or a multiplication) of the pattern (He was young, the weather was beautiful, and Europe was at war) M. Helprin. A Soldier of the Great War. P.178), a sequence with included utterances ( We don’t know where we’ ll be tomorrow).

A composite sentence is a polypredicative structure based on coordination (parataxis), subordination (hypertaxis) or specification (explication).

Composite sentences based on coordination are called compound sentences, while sentences based on subordination are called complex sentences..

Composite sentences based on specification (explication) carry two parts which are separated by a colon, the second part specifying the first (Печален я: со мною друга нет. Real grief is ugly: the business of an actor is to represent it not only with truth but with beauty. Women in their nature are giantesses: they will break through everything and go on with their own lives).

The nature of composite sentences with specification is debated. It is not clear whether it is a variety of complex sentences or an independent syntactic connection along with coordination and subordination.A compound sentence can be complicated by subordination, likewise complex sentence can be complicated by coordination:All that I ask of you in return is that you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than Philosophy, though he is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty (It is a fusion of an allegory with a personified metaphor)

In English subordination domineers over coordination, while in Russian coordination domineers over subordination, be it a simple or a composite sentence.


A Compound Sentence

Problems within a compound sentence are:

1. general notion of coordination and types of coordination;

2. the semantic volume of the coordinating conjunctions and, but, or, for;

3. the stylistic importance of parataxis.

A compound sentence has always been considered as a weak link; it was thought not to be a sentence proper. Kruizinga speaks about loose syntactic groups, not independent sentences. There were attempts to exclude the notion of a compound sentence or to employ new terms to express more exactly the grammatical peculiarities of this type: a double or a multiple sentence, a duplication of the pattern, a multiplication of the pattern: She would not eat anything and she would not sleep at all.

A compound sentence is based on coordination (parataxis) and it consists in syntactical equality of two or more parts (clauses), but this syntactical equality does not presuppose their logical semantical and communicative equality. Clauses of a compound sentence constitute a semantical, syntactical and communicative whole.

A compound sentence is structured multivariously. It can comprise 2,3,4 or more coordinate clauses which can be joined to each other syndetically, asyndetically (without connectives) or in a mixed way.

Asyndetic connection can be exemplified by the sentences The larks sprang up in front of his feet, the air was full of butterflies, the sweet fragrance rose from the wild grasses (3 clauses). I span, I wove, I kept the house, I nursed the sick, I made the garden.

Here is the sentence with a mixed coordination: Your children are murdered, your husband gone, a corpse in your bathtub, and your house is wrecked.

Types of coordination are copulative (and), disjunctive (or),adversative (but), causative-consecutive (for).

Each type of coordination is expressed by certain connectives, which are conjunctions, conjunctive adverbs and pronouns, particles, conjunctive phrases: and, but, or, for, moreover, however, whereas, either…or, on the other hand, to say nothing of…, etc.

Copulative coordination expresses simultaneous, parallel actions:

I am the poet of the body and I am the poet of the soul: the pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me (Whitman)

Adversative coordination denotes contrast. The second part contradicts to what is expressed in the first part:Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid; ambition called me, but I dreaded the chances…(Edgar Lee Masters).

Disjunctive coordination expresses choice: Did he not give her everything or was she not everything to him.

In a sentence with a causative-consecutive coordination one clause expresses the cause of the consequence which is to be found in another clause.: Do not weep, maiden, for war is kind…(St. Crane). Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (The Holy Scriptures)(The Bible).

Coordination is expressed primarily by coordinating conjunctions and,but, or, for, which are polysemantic, polyfunctional; each conjunction comprises the properties of the rest of coordinating conjunctions.

Andis the most polyfunctional conjunction. It can substitute for other coordinating conjunctions in most cases.

Since Old English till the present time and expresses all kind of relations: copulative, disjunctive, adversative, causative-consecutive, which can be proved transformationally. And joins clauses presenting details of one whole, it can render relative connection, this connection is encountered within a complex sentence: His book was published and this pleased his vanity. => His book was published which pleased his vanity ( a continuative attributive clause)

The distinction between a compound and a complex sentence is neutralized here and we analyze it as composite sentence.

And joins clauses with simultaneous or subsequent actions. It can express adversative relations (Love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusions);adversative-concessive relations (уступительно-противительные) ( I shrank away from them and I had an acute nostalgia for them. (=> though I shrank…); condition( Follow and you will see (=> if you follow…) ; consequence (The hour was midnight and no Forsytes remained in sight (as the hour was midnight, no Forsytes remained in sight), (You wanted her silenced and I ‘ve silenced her. W.S.Maugham).

Prof. I.R.Galperin distinguished a peculiar coordinative connection , calling it the gap-sentence link. It bridges a semantic gap (a semantic leap) (She and that fellow ought to be suffering, and they were in Italy. J. Galsworthy). This sort of coordination is to be found in represented speech, which represents the unuttered thoughts of characters in the writings of J. Galsworthy, K. Mansfield, D. Parker. It expresses the underlying message, suggestions, implications and associations.

The adversative conjunction but can also be polyfunctional in syntagmatics. It can express concession (though) (New skies the exile finds, but the heart is still the same. M.Helprin). It can indicate a change or break in narration or simply a turn to a new theme (He was quite a gentleman, but she had known it from the first).

As parataxis (coordination) is less demanding than subordination, it is of greater stylistic value. It denotes a semantic leap,, the suggested, the unsaid, the implied. K.Mansfield, E.Hemingway, W.Saroyan masterfully employ it. In Hemingway’s writings parataxis is the basis for reiteration. It appeals to the subconscious. It implies something timeless, immortal, infinite. The Biblical text (both in The Old Testament and The New Testament) is primarily based on parataxis which expresses profound, solemn, eternal problems. E.Hemingway borrowed parataxis from the Bible to create his famous iceberg technique.


The Theory of the Complex Sentence

The problems to be discussed within the complex sentence are:

I. The general notion of a complex sentence.

2. The status of the subordinate clause.

3. Classifications of subordinate clauses.

3.1. The principles of classifications.

3.2. Varieties of subordinate clauses.

4. Connections between the principal and the subordinate clause.

5. Neutralization between subordination and coordination.

6. The character of the subordinating conjunction.

7. Levels of subordination,

8. Syntactic processes in the complex sentence.

9. Communicative dynamism within a composite sentence (compound and complex) and a supra-phrasal unit.

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