Specializations > Typology and Descriptive Linguistics
Incoordination (sentence-initial counterparts of "and")
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In Italian, the conjunction corresponding to "and" can be used in imperative constructions for emphatic purposes, as in:
E smettila! ('And stop!', i.e: 'Do stop!').
This is probably the outcome of a diachronic process whereby the first clause preceded by the conjunction has come to be ellipsed: (Do this) and stop!
Are there any other languages in which the counterparts of "and" are used in incoordinated contexts (i.e. sentence-initially), be it in this function or in different ones?
Many thanks in advance!
Hi Nico and welcome to the forum. (Note: I deleted your duplicate post in another subforum. We can discuss this here.)
I'm writing my dissertation on pseudocoordination, so this is of interest to me. First it may be worth defining a number of similar but confusing terms:
1. Pseudocoordination: apparent coordination (with "and") that functions differently, e.g., as subordination.
--"Go and get", "try and do", etc.
References: My 2016 chapter here is a good place to start: http://www.cambridgescholars.com/coordination-and-subordination -- various references are cited there, and I'm building a comprehensive bibliography.
2. Pseudosubordination: apparent subordination (often with a dependent verb form, a converb) that functions as (usually) coordination.
--Various clause-chaining languages like Turkish, Japanese, etc., have converbs that are subordinate/dependent forms but function as if they are coordination. Another example is in nominal coordination, where many languages use comitative "with" as "and" to conjoin nouns.
References: Yuasa & Sadock 2002 "Pseudo-subordination: a mismatch between syntax and semantics" (Journal of Linguistics) http://doi.org/10.1017/S0022226701001256 defined the term as complementary to pseudocoordination.
--Note that synchronically in some cases where "and" and a subordinator are homophonous, they may be ambiguous between pseudocoordination and pseudosubordination, in that these terms are really diachronic in nature and refer to paths of grammaticalization so they may result in the same end state (overlap between coordinate and subordinate functions) but from two different starting points. For example, in Korean the verbal coordinator could be called "and" or could be called a converb marker, and depending on that, we could call it either pseudocoordination or pseudosubordination, because it has both functions.
3. Cosubordination: a mixed type of clause combining. Compare coordination as [-dependent, -embedded] and subordination as [+dependent, +embedded]. We can define cosubordination as [+dependent, -embedded]. Clause-chaining with dependent verb forms is one example of this, where the meaning is basically just normal coordination but one clause is formally dependent on another. (The meaning here very often overlaps with pseudosubordination but they are not defined equivalently and could in principle differ.) A possible forth type would be [-dependent, +embedded], which could refer to parentheticals for example.
References: the term was introduced in Role & Reference Grammar to deal with clause-chaining and similar constructions and though it hasn't really been adopted by other theoretical approaches it is fairly common in descriptive literature because it is useful. A succinct description is Van Valin 1984 "A Typology of Syntactic Relations in Clause Linkage" in BLS 10 http://doi.org/10.3765/bls.v10i0.1975 (or most textbooks/etc. about RRG)
4. Para-hypotaxis: the overt mixing of subordination and coordination in a single sentence. E.g., something like "If you want my help, and just ask me." These are basically subordinate contexts where an "extra" coordinating conjunction "and" is added. I've coined a term for a correlated phenomenon "hypo-parataxis" where a construction functioning as coordination has a dependent form that doesn't seem to belong, as in essentially cosubordination/pseudosubordination plus an overt "and" conjunction.
References: the term was introduced (as paraipotassi) in Italian literature on old Romance languages where this construction was seen as a stylistic device. But Bertinetto & Ciucci 2012 "Parataxis, Hypotaxis and Para-Hypotaxis in the Zamucoan Languages" (Linguistic Discovery) http://dx.doi.org/10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.404 established para-hypotaxis as a cross-linguistic (and grammatical, not stylistic) phenomenon. I have an upcoming conference presentation co-authored with Ciucci and Olguín at SWL8: http://swl8.sciencesconf.org/ although no information about the schedule/talks/abstracts is on that website yet. We will discuss both PH and HP from a balanced cross-linguistic sample to establish their distribution and variation, and also issues about diagnosing these constructions, e.g., when to call something a coordinating conjunction "and" versus just a linking adverb like "then" (which makes a big difference in "if... and/then.."). But in short, these do exist cross-linguistically and are severely underdescribed.
5. Insubordination: when a subordinate/dependent clause is used independently as a main clause.
--"If you will all please sit down to begin."
References: coined by Evans 2007 in his chapter "Insubordination and its uses" in Finiteness: theoretical and empirical foundations but there have been I think at least 2 volumes recently about the topic from a comparative perspective.
6. Incoordination: as used by you here (I haven't seen it elsewhere), I interpret this transparently as the use of a coordinate-marked clause used independently as a main clause.
"Uncoordination" was used by Donna B. Gerdts in her 2015 SWL7 talk "In-subordination and un-coordination in Hul’q’uminum’ (with some special attention to temporal adverbials)", but essentially synonymous to the term "pseudocoordination", rather than really in parallel to insubordination.
"Hendiadys" is a traditional term from Latin scholarship on Ancient Greek (it appears to be a Roman coinage from Greek roots 'one through two') which generally refers to nominal pseudocoordination as a stylistic device: a famous example is pateries libamus et auro "we drink from cups and gold" > 'golden cups' (Virgil's Georgics 2.192). The term "verbal hendiadys" is sometimes used in place of "verbal pseudocoordination" (especially in research on Hebrew and Dutch/Afrikaans)
"Subcoordination" was used by Johnsen 1988 "A note on subcoordination" (Trondheim Working Papers in Linguistics 6) for a discussion about pseudocoordination. (So this isn't the opposite of cosubordination or something like that.)
Some others have needlessly coined completely equivalent terms like "fake coordination", "mirage coordination" and "quasi-coordination", but those are fairly transparent.
There are some other terms out there, but these are the main ones you'll see as well as a few that are unnecessary and confusing. And sometimes other terms for different phenomena are also used instead, such as "serialization/serial verbs" instead of pseudocoordination, usually by authors who are unaware that more specific terms exist. That's another reason these phenomena are understudied from a comparative perspective!
Overall, all of these terms are often used imprecisely, inconsistently, or even interchangeably in the literature. So they may not mean what I wrote above in individual usage, but I think they should be used that way to avoid confusion.
Note that of these terms, pseudocoordination is the oldest and most widespread (for that phenomenon, at least). It comes from the 1970s in Scandinavian research about Scandinavian languages. It then spread to research on other languages and has been translated (literally) into maybe a dozen languages by now. I have an article about the history of research of this phenomenon here, though it's in Spanish (I could send an English translation to anyone interested).
So, not all of what I wrote is directly related to what you're studying but I think it's worth starting out with that to make sure we're talking about the same thing.
The first thought I have is that in general it's a myth that conjunctions can't/"shouldn't" begin sentences: "And then he screamed!" is perfectly valid narrative prose.
So that is, I assume, why the term "incoordination" hasn't really taken off. It also is structurally not the same, where aside from the expectation for a second clause, coordination already refers to (pairs of) main clauses.
In that sense I'm unaware of any research about that (although you could find some challenging the traditional prescriptive rule that you can't start a sentence with a conjunction, just like you can't end a sentence with a preposition).
But there are other uses of "and", which I could broadly include under the label "pseudocoordination" that begin expressions and have different functions, which we could call "incoordination".
Several that I can think of:
1. Emphatic narrative, like the sentence above.
2. Adding afterthoughts, or even interrupting, to give more information. Discourse strategy.
But those aren't quite as interesting as the example you gave (though perhaps related).
I've made notes about many types of unusual usage of "and", and the one that comes to mind as most interesting is found in German, as in the following example. It's not and-initial, but it's still "and" marking an independent clause, not in coordination. In fact, it's medial placement is almost more interesting in that sense, as well as the non-indicative (verb-final) word order of the clause (usually found in subordinate clauses, but here it's more of a root infinitive situation). It's clearly an exclamation rather than a normal indicative.
Ich und morgen heimfahren!
I and tomorrow home-go
'As if I would go home tomorrow!'
Zaefferer (1990:223) describes this as a presentative mode, expressing the basic idea of a predicate. Clearly the expression also has a pragmatic sense of non-expectation.
"In the rather limited class of independent infinitive constructions in German there is the type of the clause-like pseudo-coordination as exemplified in (5), that evokes the idea of pure possibility of predication by joining a referring expression with a predicating one without asserting that the predicate holds of the referent (on the contrary what is implicated is that it would be absurd to even entertain such a possibility).
5) [example above]
Thinking about the origin of this construction in the mere juxtaposition of a referring and a predicating unit without any mark of attitude towards the emerging Gedanke (in Frege's sense) makes one think about the option of introducing a new modality which would be even more basic than the assertive one, namely what could be called the presentative mode." (Zaefferer 1990:223-4)
Zaefferer, Dietmar. “On the Coding of Sentential Modality.” In Toward a Typology of European Languages, edited by Johannes Bechert, Giuliano Bernini, and Claude Buridant, 215–37. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1990.
More broadly, this second-position use of "and" (almost like a copula in the predicate-linking sense) seems to be found in another context, which is related to topic/focus. That is, in some languages, a topic (or focused element?) can be linked to the main clause by "and" (or some similar marker) as background information. An expression like "Five years and I did that" could mean "It has been five years since I did that". Often these seem to be some sort of preposed adverbials. I haven't really worked out a typology yet, but that's a general/broad description. This was the topic of Gerdt's 2015 presentation mentioned above, and is discussed more for the Salishan languages here:
Baetscher 2014, M.A. thesis: "Interclausal and intraclausal linking elements in Hul’q’umi’num’ Salish" http://summit.sfu.ca/item/14530
Baetscher mentions several other languages too, such as Chinese, with similar constructions.
I've been collecting my own small but growing set of examples and hope to in the future figure out the typology of these constructions. In some African languages, for example, the focus marker is homophonous with the coordinating conjunction, which I think is more than a coincidence.
Overall these might be classified under the convenient label "background marker" as discussed in this recent paper (not about coordination per se, although the marker also has a coordination-like function):
Lovestrand 2018: "The background marker ná in Barayin" (Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 39) https://doi.org/10.1515/jall-2018-0001
By the way, if any of my work on the related topics interests you let me know and I could send it to you if it's not already available to you online.
I'd be happy to discuss this topic more!
Thanks a lot for your extremely detailed reply! I'll have a look at the single points, some of which I am not familiar with. As for Evans, I know his work very well and it's a milestone although not uncontroversial from a diachronic point of view (see some articles in his last volume co-edited by Watanabe).
I coined the notion of "incoordination" intending to mirror that of "insubordination" for my dissertation, which was about the cross-linguistic use of "but" and counterparts for expressing surprise (mirativity) and not contrast. This usage is hardly widespread in English apart from instances such as "Oh, but you speak English so well!", but extremely entrenched in other languages. More will follow. Thanks again!
Interesting. Could you share the citation for your dissertation (either reply here or sent by private message if you prefer)? I'd be interested in keeping up to date on these terms.
I've studied a bit about mirativity with pseudocoordination but not about the conjunction itself, but the use of "go" (sometimes "take") in expressions like "He went and hit me!" (widespread cross-linguistically, similarly "He took and hit me" though that one is much rarer or dialectal in English but extremely common in literally almost every European language). The German "Ich und ... INF" type also seems something like mirativity (or more like 'expression of how absurd it would be', according to the description above). And I believe I have seen a conjunction (I think "and", which is what I look at most in grammars, but maybe "but" or another) that similarly encodes mirativity/surprise in a grammar or two, but I can't remember the details now enough to come up with a citation or even suggestion for you unfortunately. If I happen to come across it again I'll try to let you know.
Some English poems begin with a semantically redundant "and", included for emphasis and/or rhythm.
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