Rhetorical use of some Finnish conjunctions in constructions and the scope of subordination

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This article describes the nature and meaning of a group of constructions that include different conjunctions and onomatopoetic expressions as their elements. Some of these conjunctions are subordinating, while others are coordinating; the constructions thus create depictions of various states of affairs using differing designs of construal, some with a more symmetrical design, others with an asymmetrical design. The tone of each construction varies, depending on the conjunction chosen and the order of the elements. Two types of constructions with subordinating conjunctions kun (‘when’) and kunnes (‘until’) are studied more closely in order to demonstrate how these constructions work and how they acquire their meaning. It will be argued that these constructions are recurring rhetoric patterns of narration and storytelling and that they are best studied as holistic patterns per se, not as sentences that can be divided into separate subordinate or coordinated clauses. It will also be suggested that their narrative power is, however, motivated by the more standard uses of the differing coordinate and subordinate conjunctions. One of these conjunctions is special: kunnes as a conjunction is a narrative device anticipating a dramatic change in the course of action, rather than a means of marking a clause as background information the way subordinating conjunctions normally do. Therefore, if something can be seen as the governing part in this kind of kunnes use, it is not just a single clause but an overall action and chain of events described earlier. Examining these rhetoric structures can shed light on subordination as a phenomenon in general. The article ends with a discussion of subordination, subordinate conjunctions and different descriptions of subordination.


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