STRUCTURE OF THE CLAUSE – UNIT 1 Topics covered so far in Unit 1: Nominal group, verbal group, adjectival group, adverbial group and prepositional phrase: their structure and function*
STRUCTURE OF THE CLAUSE – Unit 1 Topic to be developed in this section of the unit: Elements of the clause: their function and recognition criteria Lower-rank units (groups and phrases) that fill the elements of the clause Clauses that fill elements of the clause (embedded clauses/embedding) [Bloor & Bloor, chapter 3; Downing, Angela & Philip Locke, chapter1]
How does this topic relate to the previous one and to later topics • To previous one: In that elements of the clause, like Subject, Complement, Adjuncts, are generally (though not only) filled by the groups and phrases we have studied so far • To later topics: In that an understanding of the elements of the clause and how they are filled will help us better talk about the three kinds of meanings we make through language and the linguistic resources we use to encode/express/realize those meanings
Elements of the clause The elements of the clause we will be referring to in this course are illustrated by means of the sentence below and shown in red below each of the groups and phrases that realize them “However, luckily, Otto Loewi had A(djunct) A(djunct) S(ubject) F(inite) conjunctivemodal jotted down the idea on a sheet of paper P(redicator)C(omplement) A(djunct) circumstantial
Elements of the clause – Subject - definition Semantically experientially interpersonally textually Syntactically
Elements of the clause – Subject – definition (SEMANTIC PERPECTIVE) Experientially: S is usually, though not always, the main participant in the event or action being represented The guests left. The guests brought a present S/Actor S/Actor The poor man feared the encounter . S/Senser He said a few words. He is fearless. S/Sayer S/Carrier
Elements of the clause – Subject – definition (SEMANTIC PERPECTIVE) Textually: S is the topic of the message, what the text is about The guests left. The guests brought a present S/Topic S/Topic The poor man feared the encounter . S/Topic He said a few words. He is fearless. S/Topic S/Topic
Elements of the clause – Subject – definition (SYNTACTIC PERPECTIVE) The S is the syntactic function which in English must be present in declarative and interrogative clauses, but not in imperatives. In declaratives the S is placed before the finite verb; in yes-no and wh- interrogatives (except for “who”), after the finite operator (Downing & Locke, chapter 1, p- 42) Otto Loewi jotted down the idea on a sheet of paper. Did Otto Loewi jot down the idea on a sheet of paper? Jot down the idea on a sheet of paper.
Elements of the clause – Subject - recognition (1) With some pronouns (the so-called Subject pronouns) their form reflects that they are the Subject I see what you mean. She saw me from a distance and greeted me. He devised a new theory. They credit him with having devised a new theory. she vs. her we vs. us they vs. them
Subject – probes to determine Subject 2) The S-Verb agreement probe: The S would be the word or group of words that agrees with the verb in person and number. (i) Erosion depletes the grasslands. (ii) All savanna lands experience a period of drought. (iii) The failure of the rain brings disaster (change the groups in number and check effect on verb). (iv) Rich pastures support more animals (change the groups in number and check effect on verb).
Subject – probes to determine Subject Caveat of S/V agreement probe: English does not always display even these limited distinctions. Modals and past tense main verb forms, for example, do not vary to show person and number in this way.
Subject – probes to determine Subject 3) The Mood-tag probe: The Subject is the word or group of words in the Clause that is picked in the pronoun in the mood tag: Your parents will buy a new house soon, won’t they? His sister was granted a scholarship, wasn’t she? This probe also enables us to know the gender of the person being referred to by the nominal group standing as S if the gender is not explicitly signalled The doctor prescribed those pills, didn`t she?
Subject – probes to determine Subject Caveat of the Mood-tag probe: Also not quite useful/reliable to determine S in the two cases pointed out as problematic before: (iii) The failure of the rain brings disaster, doesn’t it? (iv) Rich pastures support more animals, don’t they?
Subject – probes to determine Subject 3) The Yes-No question re-expression probe: To determine the S for a declarative clause we re-express the declarative as interrogative, and the S is the element that immediately follows the Finite operator (suggested by R. Fawcett). (iii) Does the failure of the rain bring disaster? (iv) Do rich pastures support more animals?
Subject – some special cases The Subject in a Passive clause In passive clauses the S would be a C in the corresponding active clauses. It generally responds to all probes (S-V agreement, Tag-question probe and Yes-No re-expression probe) Brutus killed Caesar (active) S F/P C Caesar was killed by Brutus (passive). S F/P A
Subject – some special cases The Subject in a Passive clause They gave my sister a grant. S F/P C(IO) C(DO) My sister was given a grant. S F P C(DO)
Subject – some special cases Apposition as part of Subject In some cases the S nominal group is followed by another nominal group with its own head and modifiers that elaborates on it (= specifies it further). This nominal group is considered an Apposition and is regarded as part of the S: “Otto Loewi, the Austrian physician, had jotted down Subject --------------------------------- the idea on a sheet of paper”
Subject – Elements that can fill the position of Subject Subjects can be filled (realized) by various elements: Pronouns (subject pronouns): They were very willing to cooperate. We usually meet on Tuesdays. NGs: Obama won the elections on the promise to bring about change. Cocaine can damage the heart as well as the brain. The precise number of heart attacks from using cocaine is not known.
Subject – Elements that can fill the position of Subject Subjects can be filled (realized) by various elements: Non-finite Clauses: [[To take such a risk]] was rather foolish. [[For everyone to escape]] was impossible. [[Where to leave the dog]] was a problem. [[Having to go back for the tickets]] was a nuisance. [[His/Him/Sam having to go back for the tickets]] was a nuisance. [[Move the car]] was what he did.
Subject – Elements that can fill the position of Subject Subjects can be filled (realized) by various elements: Finite Clauses: [[What he said]] pleased me/was unacceptable. [[That he did not pass the test]] surprised everybody. [[Why the library was closed for a month]] was not explained.
Subject – Elements that can fill the position of Subject Subjects can be filled (realized) by various elements: Anticipatory “it” It is easy to forget your keys. It was difficult for everyone to escape. It surprised everyone that he did not pass the test. It is a pity that you are leaving the firm. It seems that you were right after all. It so happened that the driver lost control.
Subject – Elements that can fill the position of Subject Subjects can be filled (realized) by various elements: Dummy “it” (in expressions of ‘time’, ‘weather’ and ‘distance’) It is nearly 6 o’clock. It is raining. It is six hundred kilometers from Madrid to Barcelona. Unstressed “there” Waiter, there is a fly in my soup. There are many species of whales.
Elements of the clause – the Finite and the Predicator Finite: Element of the clause that relates it/the event to the here and now of the speaker (by signalling modality and tense) “He is calling you.” (simultaneous w/ time of speaking). “He was calling you.” (non-simultaneous (previous to) time of speaking). “He will be calling you.” (non-simultaneous time of speaking = forecast to occur). “He may be calling you.” (= modality = attitude of speaker).
Elements of the clause – the Finite and the Predicator Predicator Element of the clause that determines the structure of the rest of the clause: The guests had left (determines there is no further participant). The guests will bring a present (determines there is one more participant). They gave my sister a grant. (determines there are two more participants).
Elements of the clause – the Finite and the Predicator – Realization of Finite & Predicator Finite and Predicator are realized by a verbal group The F is realized by the operator; the Predicator by Aux(s) and Lexical Verb “He had jotted down the idea on … paper.” F P:::::::::::::::: “He will/may/could be jotting down the idea …” F P ::::::::::::::::::
Elements of the clause – the Finite and the Predicator – Realization of Finite & Predicator F fused with P when there is only a VG is made up only of lexical verb (simple) He jotted down the idea on a sheet of paper. F/P He seems a bit absent-minded. F/P
Elements of the clause – the Complement Semantically: Element that usu. expresses minor participants in the event or action (experientially) Element that is not the topic; that contains new information about the topic (textually) Syntactically: Any nominal or pronominal element that is obligatory but is not the S
Elements of the clause – the Complement It can be realized by Pronouns (object pronouns): We did not see him. We invited them to go with us. NGs: They adopted the poor child. They took the house with a balcony. They rented the flatthat had a wonderful view onto the sea.
Elements of the clause – the Complement It can be realized by Clauses (non-finite): I enjoy [[playing the piano]]. He regretted [[having said that]]. C = DO My advice is [[to refrain from investments]]. C = SC
Elements of the clause – the Complement It can be realized by Clauses (finite): He feared [[what was to come]]. C = DO He took [[what he wanted]]. I will always give [[whoever comes before this court]] the benefit of the doubt. C = I O This is [[where we keep our money/what I would do/how I would go about it]]. C = SC
Elements of the clause – the Adjuncts Non-obligatory/peripheral/optional elements of the clause = They can be left out without affecting the core of the proposition being made The fall into three subtypes: Circumstantial Conjunctive Modal
Elements of the clause – Circumstantial Adjuncts (Ac)- meaning They express the circumstances that accompany/concommitant to the events or actions being represented. Experiential in nature: “He jotted down an idea on a slip of paper.” (Ac = place/spatial location) That night he jotted down an idea on … (Ac = time/temporal location) He wrote down the idea very quickly. (Ac = manner)
Elements of the clause – Circumstantial Adjuncts - realization They are realized by means of AdvGs, PPs and even NGs “He jotted down an idea on a slip of paper.” PP “That night he jotted down an idea on …” NG “He wrote down the idea very quickly.”AdvG
Elements of the clause – Modal Adjuncts Amod They express some aspect of the speaker’s attitude to the message (his comments on the validity of his statements, his emotions towards what he is saying or his judgement of what he is presenting, etc.). sometimes, frequently, usually, often, seldom, etc.; probably, possibly, certainly, definitely, hopefully, frankly, oddly, luckily, wisely
Elements of the clause – Conjunctive Adjuncts (Acon) They express links among sentences and signal rhetorical organization: However/Nevertheless/though (concession) Consequently/Therefore (cause-effect) Moreover/Furthermore/Besides (extension) Afterwards/then/next (chronology) Firstly/Secondly/Finally (sequence)
Elements of the clause – Conjunctive Adjuncts (Acon) and Conjunctions Conjunctive Adjuncts link sentences or sections of a text, whereas Conjunctions link clauses in clause complexes. Conjunctive Adjuncts are an element of the clause and can be moved around in it; conjunctions are not an element of any of the clauses they link and cannot be moved around. “He sensed he had written something of the utmost importance, but now he could not decipher his own scrawl.” “He sensed he had had an idea of the utmost importance. He could not remember it, though.”
Elements of the clause – Conjunctive Adjuncts (Acon) and Conjunctions “He was not yet safe, but he decided to leave the place where he was hiding and run as fast as he could.” “He was not yet safe. However, he decided to leave the place where he was taking cover and run as fast as he could.” “He was not yet safe. He decided(, however,) to leave the place where he was taking cover (, however,) and run as fast as he could.”
Analysing the structure of the clauses in a text (Practice) The night before Easter Sunday, 1920, Otto Loewi, an Austrian physiologist awoke in the middle of the night with an idea that he jotted down on a tiny slip of paper and then he went back to sleep. When he awoke again about six, he remembered he had written something of the outmost importance, but he could not decipher his own scrawl.