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  • Galina Blankenship

Clause-Linking in English and Turkish: Coordinate, Subordinate, or Juxtapose...

Updated: Jul 11


Painting of a young woman by Turkish painter Osman Hamdi Bey
A Lady of Constantinople by Osman Hamdi Bey

English Clause vs. Turkish Clause


In English, by definition, having a subject and a finite verb is sufficient for a clause to make sense. As such, it can stand alone as an independent clause/sentence:


S + P = INDEPENDENT CLAUSE


In Turkish, however, subjects are often dropped. As a pro-drop (pronoun-dropping) and null-subject language with a highly inflected verbal morphology, Turkish furnishes its finite verbs with the subject’s person and number.


[S] + P = INDEPENDENT CLAUSE



While an English clause requires both Subject and Predicate to make sense, a Turkish clause needs only Predicate. Thus, single-word sentences are possible in Turkish: Gittim (I left). Moreover, Turkish also allows impersonal sentences: Sıcaktı (It was hot).


English and Turkish have a number of devices used for linking clauses to create complex (birleşik), compound (sıralı), or compound-complex (karmaşık birleşik) sentences:


 

Clause-Linking in English


I. Coordination (Syndetic Parataxis)


Coordinating Conjunctions:

MAIN CLAUSE 1 + + and + MAIN CLAUSE 2

and or so for

but nor yet

Mary is a child, but she is very wise.
Mary would not apologize, nor would she promise to behave.
"nor" causes the inversion of the second clause
 

If the clauses are shorter and the clauses are grammatically or lexically related:


MAIN CLAUSE 1 + and + MAIN CLAUSE 2


May sang and Peter told a joke.
He was asked to help but he refused.
 

A sharper break is needed between Clause 1 and Clause 2 in an informal, literary context:


MAIN CLAUSE 1 + + and + MAIN CLAUSE 2


We've got to come back and finish the joband I think we can do it.
He was a sad, embittered young man—and well he might be.
Aldous Huxley
 
Correlative (Two-Part) Conjunctions:

Either + MAIN CLAUSE 1 + + or + MAIN CLAUSE 2

either ... or … not (only) ... but (also) … just as ... so …

neither ... nor … not ... but rather … as much ... as …

whether ... or … rather ... than … as ... as …

no sooner ... than … the ... the …


Either Mary is a very smart child, or all kids are geniuses.
He would neither work with us, nor would he let us work without him.
Just as Mary is smart, she is also a lovely person.
The more you argue with him, the less notice he takes.
 

Conjunctive Adverbs Used as Clause/Sentence Connectors:

MAIN CLAUSE 1 + ; + or + + MAIN CLAUSE 2


therefore however

thus besides

consequently otherwise

likewise


Mary is still a minor; besides, they don’t allow non-authorized personnel.
Mary is still a minor; they don’t allow non-authorized personnel, besides.

Mary is a child; however, she is wise.
Mary is a child; she is, however, wise.

 

II. Jaxtoposition (Asyndetic Parataxis)


Clause 1 and Clause 2 share a lesser grammatical or lexical connection:


MAIN CLAUSE 1 + ; + MAIN CLAUSE 2


Mary felt calm and happy; she was at last herself.
Arbitrage does not cause volatility; it responds to it.
 

Clause 1 and/or Clause 2 have interior punctuation:


MAIN CLAUSE 1 + ; + MAIN CLAUSE 2


Mary, Peter, and her children decided to travel back home; they knew the time was right.
 

Clause 1 and Clause 2 are shorter with a lesser grammatical or lexical connection:


MAIN CLAUSE 1 + + MAIN CLAUSE 2


The streets were empty, the slates shone purple.
The fog had all gone, the wind had risen.
 

Clause 2 expands on or explains Clause 1 in a formal context:


MAIN CLAUSE 1 + : + MAIN CLAUSE 2


This is a rather long book: some of the characters are overdeveloped, and the dialogues could benefit from another editing.
The toughness of pseudo-maraging steel degrades at cryogenic temperatures: at –320 °F, its Charpy impact energy is 6 ft-lb.
 

If an emphasis is needed in an informal, literary context:


MAIN CLAUSE 1 + + MAIN CLAUSE 2


Hammer is not just any Supermanhe has The Call.
Charles J. Rolo
 

III. Subordination (Syndetic Hypotaxis)


1. Noun Clauses

MAIN Sub-Clause CLAUSE


MAIN CLAUSE + that + Sub-Clause


who when whether

whom where if

whose why

which how

that


Whether the students enjoy grammar matters the most.
Noun Clause = Subject Clause

The only point is that students enjoy grammar.
Noun Clause = Subject Complement Clause

I believe that students enjoy grammar.
Noun Clause = Object Complement Clause
 

2. Relative (Adjective) Clauses

Essential info:


MAIN CLAUSE + that + Sub-Clause


Nonessential info:


MAIN CLAUSE + + which + Sub-Clause


who which when

whom that where

whose why


Essential info: This morning, I met with the student who called me yesterday.
Nonessential info: This morning I met with Anne Scott, who called me yesterday.

Essential info: The horse that is white costs thousands of dollars. Other horses are cheaper.
Nonessential info: The horse, which was white, cost me thousands of dollars
 
3. Adverbial (Adverb) Clauses

Finite Clauses:

The theater gets really quiet when the movie starts.
closing time adverbial clause

As soon as the mailman came, Terry ran to the door.
introductory time adverbial clause

I am happy if you are happy.
closing condition adverbial clause

If Mary is a child, then I am a child, too.
one of a few correlative subordinators: if … then …

As westerns go, this one doesn’t.
introductory restriction adverbial clause
Time Magazine
 

Time/ Place/ Cause/ Purpose/ Condition Adverbial Clauses Introductory (Initial) Position Noncanonical Word Order


When + Sub-Clause + + MAIN CLAUSE


Before the movie even started, I had finished my popcorn.
Time adverbial clause ⇒ separated with comma to signal broken word order
 

Time/ Place/ Cause/ Purpose/ Condition Adverbial Clauses Closing (Terminal) Position Canonical Word Order


MAIN CLAUSE + when + Sub-Clause


I had finished my popcorn before the movie even started.
Time adverbial clause ⇒ no comma
 

Concession/ Contrast Adverbial Clauses Closing (terminal) position Canonical word order


MAIN CLAUSE + + though + Sub-Clause


She doesn't speak Farsi, even though she grew up in Tehran.
Concession adverbial clause ⇒ separated with comma in any position
 

Peripheral Uses of Some Adverbial Clauses Closing (terminal) position Canonical word order


MAIN CLAUSE + + since + Sub-Clause


We'll have to stay at home, since it's raining again.
Since-adverbial clause used in its peripheral meaning (reason)separated with comma in any position
 

Interrupting (medial) position Noncanonical word order


MAIN CLAUSE: BEGINNING + + when + Sub-Clause + + MAIN CLAUSE: ENDING


I got my popcorn and, before the movie even started, devoured it all.
Time adverbial clause ⇒ set off by commas as an interrupting element
 
Nonfinite Clauses:

-ing participles:


Feeling unadventurous, I ordered chicken soup for my first course.

reduced participial clause (converb)

His colleague worked in the corporate section, selling art to big firms.
reduced participial clause (converb)


-ed participles:


When asked to speak, he complained about the poor service.

reduced participial clause (converb)

My wife, not easily pleased, declared that the play was excellent.
reduced participial clause (nonessential)

It is peaceful to float down a river, carried effortlessly by the current.
reduced participial clause (converb) (nonessential)


to-infinitives:


To push a wheelchair, you need muscle power.
introductory to-clause (noncanonical)

People often phone to thank me for my advice.
closing to-clause (canonical)

The suit doesn’t fit him, to tell you the truth.
closing modal (comment) to-clause (parenthetical)

 
So...
The major clause-linking mechanisms in English:
1. Coordinating Conjunctions (+ Punctuation)
2. Subordinating Conjunctions (+ Punctuation)
3. Conjunctive Adverbs + Punctuation
4. Juxtaposition + Punctuation
 

Table 1 below provides an overview of the typical dependent clauses and related subordinators used in English:


TABLE 1. Three Main Types of Dependent Clauses in English

 

Clause-Linking in Turkish


Turkish does not have strong syndetic (conjunction-based) clause-linking mechanisms. Instead, the genuinely Turkish device of linking clauses or clause elements is asyndetic (conjunction-less).


The distinctions between its coordinating or subordinating conjunctions and other discourse connectives (transitional sentence connectors, equivalent to conjunctive adverbs in English) are blurred at best, with the boundaries between them often overlapping.


Conjunctions join two or more items (words, phrases, clauses) that have the same syntactic function.

The conjoining function of discourse connectives, on the other hand, is to minimally join two sentences or clauses to show how the ideas in the second of two closely related clauses/sentences relate to the meaning of the ideas in the first clause/sentence.


Turkish has a plethora of discourse connectives, with many sharing the same meanings. In Turkish, discourse relations are often realized intersententially (between sentences) as well as intrasententially (within a sentence).


For example, sentences that start with çünkü or yani or end with diye or gibi are by far the most common segment fragments, frequently used by Turkish journalists.


Tıpkı okuduğum kitapta olduğu gibi.
Just like in the book I am reading.
www.kucukmenderes.com.tr

Çünkü lobi, çünkü para.
Because of the lobbing, because of the money.
www.gercekhayat.com.tr

In the current Turkish syntax model, çünkü is classified as a subordinating conjunction. However, çünkü can be used as a subordinating conjunction for linking a dependent and an independent clauses as well as as a discourse connective that links one sentence to another.


Many connectives can function both as conjunctions and as discourse connectives, and some fulfil more than one role as discourse connectives.


For example:


Hasan eve geldi. Hasan yemek yedi.

Intersentential linking by juxtaposing two sentences that share the subject (semantic correlation)

Hasan eve geldi ve yemek yedi.

Period replaced by “ve”: the intersentential coordination suggests a temporal successive interpretation (lexical correlation)

Hasan eve gelip yemek yedi.

“ve” replaced by the converb suffix -ip, expressing the temporal succession of actions (morphological correlation)

Hasan eve geldi, yemek yedi.

“-ip” replaced by a comma: the juxtaposition implicitly suggests the temporal succession (semantic correlation)
 

I. Jaxtoposition (Asyndetic Parataxis)


MAIN CLAUSE 1 + + MAIN CLAUSE 2


Baksanıza, öteleri aydınlık.
Look, it's light in other places.
Clause 1 + Clause 2 = semantically correlated

Sizin bastığınız yer sert, sizler sağlam yere basıyorsunuz.
You are standing on solid ground; you are standing firmly on your feet.
Clause 1 + Clause 2 = semantically correlated
 

MAIN CLAUSE 1 + ; + MAIN CLAUSE 2


Evde hasta var; bir haftadır doğru dürüst gazete bile okuyamadım.
We’ve got a patient at home, so that I couldn't even properly read a newspaper for a week.
Clause 1 + Clause 2 = semantically correlated

Mümtaz burada daha fazla vakit geçirmek istemedi; bugün ne sahaflar ne çadırcılar ehemmiyetlidir.
Mümtaz did not want to spend any more time here; today, neither the second-hand booksellers nor the tent sellers were important.
Clause 1 + Clause 2 = semantically correlated
 

II. Coordination (Syndetic Parataxis)


Additive Conjunctions

MAIN CLAUSE 1: CAUSE + ve + MAIN CLAUSE 2: RESULT

or

MAIN CLAUSE 1: SHARED S / P + da + MAIN CLAUSE 2: SHARED S / P


ve da

bir de ve de

Bu ihtiyar teyzeyi herkes sever ve sayardı.
Everyone loved and respected this old aunt.
Shared O + S Compound predicate = lexically correlated

Erkenden kalktım ve yola çıktım.
I woke up early and left.
Shared [S] + Advl Compound predicate = lexically correlated

Manzara güzeldi ve hemen fotoğraf makinemi kaptım.
The view was beautiful, so I quickly grabbed my camera.
Clause 1 + Clause 2 = lexically correlated
 
Disjunctive / Alternative Conjunctions

MAIN CLAUSE 1: ALTERNATIVE 1 + veya + MAIN CLAUSE 2: ALTERNATIVE 2


Bizde kalabilirsin veya şimdi Muratlarla gidebilirsin.
You can stay with us, or you can go with the Murats.
Clause 1 + Clause 2 = lexically correlated
 
Paired (Additive & Alternative) Conjunctions

Hem + MAIN CLAUSE 1 + [ ❟ ] + hem + MAIN CLAUSE 2


hem ... hem … gerek ... gerek(se) …

ne ... ne … ya ... ya …


Ne şair yaş döker ne âşık ağlar.
The poets wouldn’t weep, the lovers wouldn’t cry.
Clause 1 + Clause 2 = lexically correlated

Ya olduğun gibi görün ya göründüğün gibi ol.
Either appear as you are or be as you look.
Shared S Compound Predicate = lexically correlated

Savı ne turizmin nasıl geliştiğini göstermekte ne de son düşüşü açıklamaktadır.
His argument neither shows how tourism has come to flourish nor explains the recent decline.
Shared S Compound Predicate = lexically correlated

 
Discourse Connectives Used as Both Conjunctions and Conjunctive Adverbs

MAIN CLAUSE 1 + + ama + MAIN CLAUSE 2

ama yalnız

fakat çünkü

lâkin zira

ancak yani


Eve geldim, ama sizi bulamadım.
I came home, but I couldn't find you.

Çok yorgunum, ama toplantıya mutlaka katılmam lazım.
I'm very tired, but I need to join the meeting.

Ölme kaderde var, lakin vatandan ayrılışın ıstırabı zor.
We all die. Still, it’s hard to leave the homeland.

Aldığım bir haberi anlatayım, fakat üzülmeyeceksiniz, ağlayamayacaksınız.
Let me tell you what I’ve just learned. But you must promise that you won’t get upset, you won’t cry.
 

MAIN CLAUSE 1 + ; + ama + MAIN CLAUSE 2



Bahar, yüzyıl önceki bahardır; ama şimdi kullanılışı değişti.
Spring is the last century’s spring. Its use, however, has changed.
Clause 1 has interior punctuation
 

MAIN CLAUSE 1: RESULT + + oysa + MAIN CLAUSE 2 : CAUSE


Yaptıklarımızı asla kâfi görmeyiz; çünkü daha çok ve daha büyük işler yapmak mecburiyetinde ve azmindeyiz.
Whatever we’ve achieved isn’t enough, because we must do more and better.
 
Discourse Connectives Used as Conjunctive Adverbs

MAIN CLAUSE 1: + + oysa + MAIN CLAUSE 2:


aksi halde bunun yerine üstelik bundan dolayı

aksine dahası yoksa bu sebepten

bu nedenle ilk olarak ardından bu yüzden

buna rağmen örneğin ne var ki bunun için

buna karşılık mesela ayrıca onun için (da)

bundan başka sonuç olarak oysa ondan

öte yandan bu nedenle (da) ondan öyleyse



Benden biraz daha kıdemli, onun için de amirim olduğunu sanıyor.
She is slightly senior, and therefore thinks she's in charge of me.

Hasta yardım almanın ötesindeydi, onun için doktorlar daha fazlasını yapamadı.
The patient was quite beyond help, so the doctors could do no more.

Hastalanan hayvanlar bir bakıma insanlaşırlar, acı çekerler de ondan.
In some way, sick animals tend to get humanized—it must be because they suffer it.
Nermi Uygur, Yaşama Felsefesi

Ali Ekrem Bey’in savunduğu dil duramadı, toplumun yeni düşüncelerine, yeni gereksinimlerine (ihtiyaçlarına) uymuyordu da onun için duramadı.
The language that Ali Ekrem Bey defended couldn’t stop. It couldn’t stop because it didn’t fit the new ideas and the new societal needs.
Nurullah Ataç, Diyelim: Söz Arasında
 

III. Subordination (Syndetic Hypotaxis)


Postpositional Complex Subordinators (Nonfinite Adverbial Clauses)

-ir gibi -diği zaman -dan sonra -incaya kadar

-a göre -diği kadar -dan önce -incaya dek

-a rağmen -diği gibi -dan dolayı -ali beri


Herkes çoktan pazara çıktığı için kentin o dar, eğri büğrü arka sokaklarını boşalmış ve sessiz bulurduk.
Since everyone has gone to the bazaar long time ago, we would find the narrow and curved back streets of the town empty and quiet.

Çok iyi bir biçimde yayılmış olmasına rağmen Celtis (çitlenbik) poleninin yokluğu dikkate değerdir.
Despite not dispersing well, the absence of the Celtis [tree] pollen is worthy of attention.
 
Converbial Simplex Subordinators (Nonfinite Adverbial Clauses)