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Embedded clauses

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Melisa Rodríguez

on 8 September 2013

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Transcript of Embedded clauses

Embedded clauses
First, let's start
with some basics

Rank Scale in SFG
We can split any meaningful unit
at one rank, or level, into smaller units of a different kind at the rank below.
What is an embedded clause?
A unit can be expanded by the inclusion of another unit from a higher or, in some cases the same rank.
[Tumors of the cervical spine] are rare. = Prepositional phrase as post-modifier of a nominal group
It is impossible to trace [all the influences which led to the Gothic revival in architecture.] = Clause as post-modifier of a nominal group
[What is beautiful] is also, in some respects ugly. = Finite embedded clause as Subject.
You will enjoy [meeting my new friends.] = Non-finite embedded clause as Complement
Embedded clauses
Clause complexes
Embedding vs Clause complexes
Follow a constituent relationship
Follow a logical relationship of interdependency
Logical relationship in some clause complexes
Projection: Mental processes: The department believes [that the students have rights and responsibilities.]
Verbal processes: The examiner said [that the candidate
should pass.]
HALLIDAY calls projection a process of mental or verbal action which is able to have a clause attached that either reports indirectly someone's speech or thoughts, or quotes directly someone's words or thoughts.
Ocassionally, we find complicated combinations of linking and embedding:
[A technological leader has to engage in expensive research and development activities [which may lead nowhere,] or [which may lead to new inventions [which have to be protected through patents.]] ]
Here we have two relative clauses linked by "or" which jointly post-modify the head "activities". And within the second clause there is a further case of embedding which post-modifies "inventions".
Children's games and folk literature often exploit
such characteristics of the language, pushing structures beyond normal limits. This happens in the folk poem "This is the house that Jack built" where each successive step builds on the previous one by converting part of the previous utterance into a relative clause post-modifying a new Head:
The structure with the dummy "it" in Subject position and the embedded clause placed later is often known as extraposition, on the grounds that the embedded clause is "extra-posed" (literally placed outside)
It isn't surprising [that Aristotle appealed to such principles.]
"That Aristotle appealed to such principles" is placed at the end, but, because English requires an explicit Subject in full declarative clauses, the so called "empty" pronoun "it" stands in, as it were, and holds the fort until the real "content" of the Subject comes along in the shape of the embedded clause.
some adjectives systematically permit clause embedding:
Ready [to die for the cause]
Postmodifiers in compararive adverbial groups:
More easily [than anyone had imagined]
Postmodifiers of adjectives and adverbs that are premodified by too or so:
too cleverly [for anyone to imitate]; so soon [that no one was ready]
Your turn!
1) Look for examples of
multiple embedding and
analyze them using minimal bracketing.
2) Look for an example of embedding clause which illustrates each of the functions discussed.
Good luck and see you next class!
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