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Conjunctions and Other Parts of Speech

Alan Reed Libert

The classification of words in terms of parts of speech is frequently problematic. This book examines the classification of conjunctions and similar words of other classes. It reviews work done from the 19th century to the present on a wide range of languages, including English, German, French, Latin, Ancient Greek, Welsh, Persian, Chinese, Japanese, Ute, and Abun. Most chapters treat conjunctions as opposed to one of the other traditionally recognized parts of speech: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, adpositions, and interjections. The book’s major focus is on the terminology used to describe words on or near the borders between conjunctions and other parts of speech, such as «deverbal conjunctions», «conjunctional adverbs», «prepositional conjunctions», and «so-called conjunctions».

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Chapter 3: Conjunctions and Pronouns


In his paper on Ancient Greek Saayman (1990:93-4) asserts that relative pronouns are conjunctions:

All words that link a subordinate clause to a main clause in such a way that recurrence takes place, that is, that the subject of the subordinate clause is nominative and the verb finite, should be considered as conjunctions. Even relative pronouns should be included, because in the clause introduced by a relative pronoun, the subject is always nominative and the verb always finite.

Maling (1990), writing on Icelandic, seems to see interrogative pronouns as conjunctions, as she speaks of “conjunctions, including interrogative pronouns and the relative particles” (p. 74); what they have in common (in Icelandic) is that “they never count as filling first position [in a clause] but are always considered to be outside the clause boundaries” (ibid.).

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