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Subordinate clauses - preceding or following main clause?

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Subordinate clauses - preceding or following main clause?

Postby davoosh » Sat Apr 06, 2013 3:45 pm

Hello all,

I have been wondering if Latin has any preference over the position of a subordinate clause in a sentence. I realise this probably has no definitive answer and it depends on other factors, but are there any generalisations about this?

Ubi dixit, audiebam VS Audiebam ubi dixit.

Also, I was wondering if some subordinating conjunctions always come before the clause they modify (as in English), or may they be moved?

For example:
Postquam in Galliam pervenit... (After he arrived in Gaul)

may this become

in Galliam pervenit postquam...?

I ask this because since Latin is typically described as verb-final, other verb-final languages I have studied or read about tend to prefer the subordinators to be placed at the end of the clause.

Many thanks!
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Re: Subordinate clauses - preceding or following main clause

Postby Qimmik » Sat Apr 06, 2013 11:08 pm

There is no preference as to whether subordinate clauses precede or follow the main clause. Considerations of emphasis and effective writing might come into play.

As for the placement of subordinators, they are generally placed at the beginning of the clause, but can be placed as the second element or even later, especially in poetry, but not at the end of the clause.

in Galliam pervenit postquam
-- This seems very strange, even for Latin poetry. "In Galliam postquam pervenit" doesn't seem at all unusual, but "pervenit postquam in Galliam" does seem strange.

Latin word order is very free, since the syntactic structure is encoded in inflectional endings, not in word order, as it is in English.
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