Den konnektive ledsætning

Lotte Jelsbech Knudsen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis proposes a new type of connector as well as a new type of subordinate clause (SC) – The connective subordinate clause (CSC). This type of SC distinguishes itself from other types of SC in that its function is not primarily intrasentential, i.e. related to the main clause, but rather intersentential as it connects the proposition of its main clause to another co-textual and extrasentential proposition. In the current linguistic study of connection, there seems to be a default understanding of the connector as a function conducted essentially by adverbs, conjunctions and adverbial phrases. Although the term connector has been introduced in order to focus the analysis on the function and not the lexical material, actual analyses reflect that the function is still seen as limited to a group of syntactically simple elements. The thesis seeks to broaden the concept of connector to include more complex syntactical material with a propositional content, i.e. SC’s, and thereby contribute to a more widened understanding of connection and the connector function. After an introduction to the problems arising from this limited view of the connector function and a precision of the use of linguistic concepts and the applied method, the functional concept of CSC is established, primarily based on its functional similarities with the connective adverbial. The thesis proposes a definition of CSC based on three key factors. In order to have a primarily connective function the SC must be extrapropositional, its propositional contents must be anaphorical and it must apply a semantic or pragmatic value to the antecedent. It is argued that by resuming a co-textual proposition anaphorically, its primary function becomes that of explicating the connection between the antecedent and the proposition of the main clause, rather than expressing new information about the subject matter. After establishing the function of CSC, traditional typologies of SC’s are applied to the analysis. The thesis argues that by limiting the definition and division of SC’s to intrasentential factors, which is the case in the traditional typologies, i.e. the typology of Diderichsen (1976), an important textual function of some of the SC’s is ignored. Therefore an additional typology of SC’s based on the text and not the sentence is proposed. The typology is additional since it does not overrule the existing approaches – indeed these prove useful to distinguish the CSC from non-connective SC’s and are applied in the analysis as a means of delimiting CSC. Then the thesis moves to investigate how and why CSC is applied in actual language use. Based on the empirical evidence, the function of CSC is divided into two main groups - semantic and pragmatic connection - according to whether the connection concerns only the subject matter (semantic) or includes information about the communication situation (pragmatic). In the analysis the use of CSC is compared with that of other connectors, and it is shown that the scope of e.g. the connective adverbial is limited to propositions that appear in immediate sequence and that in contrast CSC can explicate connections between propositions that appear separated by large spans of text. Thus in a discussion of the results of the analysis it is argued that by recognizing this type of SC as a connector, the concept of (explicit) connection is widened to be a phenomenon that can occur between practically any two propositions in at text – in terms of position – instead of being a linearly progressive phenomenon between propositions appearing in immediate sequence. In the concluding remarks, an overall review of the function and definition of CSC is presented and its applicability to the study of connection and SC’s is evaluated. Finally further possibilities for a typology of SC’s based on the text as a whole are briefly suggested.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2010
Number of pages77