6 Clauses and Sentences
In the second chapter we looked at words as the basic building blocks of syntac- tic structures. In chapters 3 to 5, then, we explored how words of different word classes fulfil functions on the phrase level, namely as head, determiner, pre- modifier, or postmodifier. That is, we saw how an assemblage of words creates a structural unit on the next higher level, namely the level of phrases. In addition, we have seen in section 5.4 how phrases can also have functions within other phrases. In the present chapter we will see how phrases form the next higher structural unit, namely clauses or simple sentences. And just as phrases can be embedded in other phrases, so can clauses be embedded in other clauses; in that case we speak of a 'complex sentence', e.g. That syntax is boring is not true, where the subject of the whole clause is a clause itself, i.e. that syntax is boring. If more than one clause is co-ordinated, we speak of 'compound sentences', e.g. Syntax is not boring but it is demanding. Figure 6.1 below shows how the struc- tural units interact on different levels of linguistic description. The simple ar- rows mean 'form' whereas the rectangular arrows mean 'are embedded in'. words phrases clauses/ simple sentences complex sentences compound sentences Figure 6.1: The interaction of linguistic units on different levels of description. Note that there is a difference between the rectangular arrows on the phrase level and on the clause level. In the first...
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