ON SENTENCE FORMS IN GERMAN AND ON THE INFLUENCE OF VALENCY ON THEM
Keywords:syntax, forms of sentences, verb valency, pragmatic knowledge, ellipsis
The criterion for the classification of the German sentence forms is the number of explicitly expressed (verbal) statements. The sentence is to be understood as a hyperonym for all constructions between the capital letter at the beginning and the punctuation mark at the end; it comprises both clauses and sentences. The sentence can be coordinate or subordinate. Importantly, the main clause is not always independent from the subordinate clause (subclause) and it cannot always be used on its own. The verb valency is a semantically determined category that influences the basic structure as well as the form of the sentence. Non-obligatory agents can be omitted if their information value is part of the communicative partners’ co-text or context-of-the-situation knowledge and can easily be reconstructed. The verb valency can also be modified, in most cases in the form of valency reduction. Such reductions are grammatically correct and understandable without obligatory complements provided that the pragmatic knowledge of the participants in the communicative process can be activated. Another type of valency reduction is an incomplete sentence construction, the so-called ellipsis. It results from a deliberate breach of the rule of syntactic minimum. It is acceptable to the recepient as long as it fulfills a communicative function.
Copyright (c) 2019 Stojan Bračič
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