ethopoeia wrote:A compound sentence is characterised by containing two or more clauses. Traditionally, the Grammar distinguishes between independent and dependent clauses. The grammatical relations uniting these clauses are diverse. How many are they?
ethopoeia wrote:To get started, and daring to be overtly provocative, I'll deny i) the universal validity of the former, and ii) the very existence of sentences.
bellum paxque wrote:By sentences do we not mean merely verbs bearing baggage?
if we consider the OED definition for "sentence", we will realize that there is conceivably a stark opposition between what we consider to be and what a sentence actually is:
6. ...In Grammar, the verbal expression of a proposition, question, command, or request, containing normally a subject and a predicate (though either of these may be omitted by ellipsis).
Thus, I should like to start considering the different categories for compound sentences the classical Grammar establishes. Using as examples some compound sentences from CaesarÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s De Bello Gallico, I will schematically discuss their categorization in order to show how tricky categories can be.
Caesar Heluetios cum eo exercitu quem in Gallia habebat secutus est.
(Ã¢â‚¬Å“Caesar chased the Helvetians with the army he had in Gaule.Ã¢â‚¬Â)
Main clause: Caesar Heluetios secutus est.
Subordinate clause 1: cum eo exercitu.
Subordinate clause 2: quem in Gallia habebat.
This is a classic scholarly example of a compound sentence: a subordinate clause becomes, still, a main clause for a second relative subordinate. There is nothing to object as the categories (main clause - mode subordinate - relative subordinate) are pristine clear.
Caesar praesidia disponit quo facilius Heluetios prohibeat.
(Ã¢â‚¬Å“Caesar placed towers aiming to stem the HelvetiansÃ¢â‚¬Â)
Main clause: Caesar praesidia disponit.
Subordinate clause: quo facilius Heluetios prohibeat.
The main clause and the subordinate are easily distinguishable. However, the doubt arises: the subordinate is causal or final?
Caesar equites missit commeatus petendi causa.
(Ã¢â‚¬Å“Caesar sent horsemen in order to ask for suppliesÃ¢â‚¬Â)
Main clause: Caesar equites missit.
Subordinate clause: Commeatus petendi causa.
This pseudosubordinate sentence arises the same question as its precedent.
Caesar Heluetios rogauit ne per Prouinciam iter facerent.
(Ã¢â‚¬Å“Caesar begged the Helvetians not to cross Provence / so that they wouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t cross ProvenceÃ¢â‚¬Â)
Main clause: Caesar Heluetios rogauit.
Subordinate clause: Ne per Prouinciam iter facerent.
We donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know whether the subordinate clause is a final (in order to) or a substantive (not to).
Caesar exspectauit dum naues conuenirent.
(Ã¢â‚¬Å“Caesar waited the arrival of the ships / until the ships would arriveÃ¢â‚¬Â)
Main clause: Caesar exspectauit.
Subordinate clause: Dum naues conuenirent.
Is the subordinate a temporal clause? Is it a substantive? Both are possible in the light of the events -and the particle dum.
Heluetii id quod constituerant facere conantur, ut e finibus suis exeant.
(Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Helvetians attempted to do that what they had convened (to do) in order to cross their borders / that is, to cross their borders.Ã¢â‚¬Â)
Main clause: Heluetii (id) (facere) conantur.
Subordinate clause 1: (Id) quod constituerant (facere).
Subordinate clause 2: Ut e finibus suis exeant.
Coordinate clause 1: Heluetii id quod constituerant facere conantur.
(Main clause : Heluetii (id) (facere) conantur.
Subordinate clause: (Id) quod constituerant (facere).)
Coordinate clause 2: Ut e finibus suis exeant.
This obscure sentence drags two possible interpretations, which are, in fact, the two sides of the coin. The first part is a compound sentence itself; as for the second, it could be either a final or substantive subordinate, or a coordinate sentence. It is actually both.
You may wonder how come can a sentence be both subordinate and coordinate. Indeed, it all depends on the semantic interpretation we make of it. And finally, our commonplace becomes less clear that meaning doesn't interfere with Grammar.
In fact, we should go back to the OED definition to find the quid of our question. As stated, a grammatical sentence is a subject, a verb and a predicate. So does it mean that, in compound sentences, we find several "sentences" in one??
Indeed, a period contains several sentences. That's why I claimed at the very beginning that sentences do not exist, at least as we imagine them. Once we understand that and are able to chunk what we see and what we hear, we will be able to stop thinking whether a compound sentence is a coordinate or a subordinate, and start thinking how two sentences coordinate or subordinate each other.
Bardo de Saldo wrote:You were old. (Not a sentence.)
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