Absolute Clauses in English from the Systemic Functional by Qingshun He, Bingjun Yang

By Qingshun He, Bingjun Yang

​This publication specializes in the structural range, semantic variability, case selection, stylistic features and diachronic distribution of English absolute clauses. The syntactic roles assumed through absolute clauses within the conventional experience might be labeled into clausal adjuncts, attendant situations and appositives. those 3 forms of functionality correspond to the 3 hypotactic expansions within the relation process of clause complexes in Systemic useful Linguistics, i.e., elaboration, extension and enhancement. This study, consequently, redefines absolute clauses within the framework of SFL and proposes 4 syntactic different types of absolute clauses: absolute paratactic clauses (elaboration), absolute hypotactic clauses (extension and enhancement), absolute projected clauses (fact and act) and absolute embedded clauses (subject). in response to the Brown family members corpora, BNC and COHA, this learn unearths that varied functionality varieties of absolute clauses range by way of their stylistic and diachronic distributions, and either nominative and accusative situations are acceptable.

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Moreover, there are two differences between free adjuncts and absolute clauses. First, the subject of a free adjunct is implicit, and the implicit subject can be coreferential with the subject of the main clause, hence related free adjunct or unrelated free adjunct. However, the subject of an absolute clause is explicit, and this explicit subject is not co-referential with the subject of the main clause. Second, free adjuncts can be introduced by a subordinator which can be a conjunction or a preposition, while an absolute clause cannot be introduced by a conjunction, but can by a preposition, such as with, forming an augmented absolute.

A man stumbled out of the alley, gun in hand. (COCA_FIC) b. The baby waves, her hand turned backwards, knuckle-side out. (COCA_FIC) c. The interview over, the detective followed Yaz home. (COCA_SPOK) In 3-4, the complements of the three absolute clauses are played by prepositional phrase, adverb, and adjective, respectively. Grammarians such as Fowler (1965: 5), Onions (1971: 76), and Kane (1983: 755) refer to clauses of this type of structure as reduced absolute clauses, with participial elements omitted, mostly being or having been.

Quirk et al. (1985: 1123) distinguish the positions of attributive clauses and adverbial clauses with their main clauses. Jason, told of his son’s accident, immediately phoned the hospital. (Quirk et al. Jason, who was told of his son’s accident, immediately phoned the hospital. (ibid) The position of adverbial clauses is arbitrary. They can be positioned initially, medially, and finally, while the most typical position of attributive clauses is immediately after their antecedent. If subjectless nonfinite clauses occur in that position, they may be indistinguishable from the participle clauses functioning as post-modifiers or noun phrases in apposition.

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