Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Coordination and Subordination

Coordination and Subordination
(Syntactic Devices, part 1)

Syntactic Devices
Semantics is the study of meaning. It is a wide subject within the general study of language. Syntactic device is used to help with semantics in the English language.
The basic patterns of language may be extended in various ways or by various device.

  • Coordination or Conjoining
  • Subordination or Embedding
  • Endocentric and Exocentric
  • Substitution
  • Function Words and Content Words
  • Concord and Government

Coordination or Conjoining
What is Coordination? an equal joining together two or more phrases or clauses, for example, using and, or, or but.
What is Conjoining? To join as coordinate elements, often with a coordinating conjunction, such as coordinate clauses.

In such extensions parallel entities are arranged side by side, that is, coordinated, or conjoined. Instead of the two sentences "John takes cream" and "john takes sugar", we may conjoin the objects and say "John takes cream and sugar". Or we may conjoin differing subjects or differing verbs and say "John and Mary take cream and sugar" and "John takes and enjoys cream". Coordination, or conjoining, is one of the basic syntactic devices.

Although simple, it is carried out in accordance with specific patterns in any language. For example, in English conjoined noun expressions, we may use "and" with the last noun, "John", Mary, and Joe", as well as betweeneach noun. In Japanese, on the other hand, "to" ("and") is used between each noun and may even be used after the last, for example, "Taro to Fujiko to Jiro (to) wa" ("Taro and Fujiko and Jiro"). The constructions produced by coordination must be determined for each language.

Subordination or Embedding
Subordination explains that words, phrases, and clauses that make one element of a sentence dependent on (or subordinate to) another.

Clauses joined by coordination are main clauses. This is in contrast to subordination, which joins a main clause and a subordinate clause.

And what is Embedding? The three kinds of embedded clauses illustrated here are a relative clause (who came), a noun clause (that I would go), and an adverb clause (when the bell rang). Note that embedded clauses are usually marked in some way, e.g., by the initial who, that, and when in the above sentences.
(Ronald Wardhaugh, Understanding English Grammar. Wiley, 2002)

In a further type of extension, entities are arranged in hierarchies; one entity or construction is subordinated to, or embedded in, another. Embedding may be indicated by special words, such as English relatives and subordinating conjunctions, for example: "John, who likes sugar" and "When John drinks coffee", In Japanese, on the other hand, an embedded clause is simply placed before the entity it is subordinated to, for example, "Koohii o noma Taro" ("Taro who drinks coffee"). Similarly in English, adjectives may be embedded in nominal constructions without the use of a special marker, for example, "black coffee". Formerly in Japanese, embedded adjectives had special marker -ki, for example, "takaki yama" ("high mountain") versus "yama wa takashi" ("the mountain is high"). In the analysis of embedded constructions the term head is used to refer to the center of the construction, the term attribute for the modifier. A clause in which another is embedded is referred to as a matrix clause.

Descriptive Linguistics,,,,