Sentence Patterns

Today, I am thinking about sentence patterns. Not since taking a class in Rhetoric have I given much thought to the way sentences are put together. However, when I decided to learn Korean and got myself some Korean pen pals, I quickly became aware of sentences.

Realizations:

  • My sentences are normally extremely complex.
  • Simpler sentences are easier for someone reading in a second language to decipher.
  • Korean does not have the same word order I am use to (Subject Verb Object).
  • There are patterns to sentences.
  • There is a difference in how we speak and how we write
  • Much of the rich expressiveness of language comes from the way an idea is expressed.
  • In English the word order can make a difference in the sense.  Words grouped together. (collucations) provide a lot of the meaning.
  • In Korean, much of the tone and subtle meaning differences come from particles.  Word order is more flexible.
  • Complex thoughts are difficult to discuss with simple sentences and limited vocabulary.

It is a surprise and joy that studying Korean is teaching me about my own language.  It is a pleasure for me to look at how sentences are made.

Perhaps it is because I am a voracious reader.  Perhaps it is because I am a writer at heart, if not by profession.  I appreciate the way language is used, and I analyze the way that happens.  Dual degree in English Writing and Computer Science.  An odd mix, some might think, but both writing and programming are creative processes.

To me, looking at how something is expressed isn’t a dry, dull set of rules.  It is style, grace, power, subtly, and emotion.

Of course, this has lead me to search out books.  🙂  Poking around my library and online booksellers is a favorite pass time.  One book I hope to find in the library is “Artful Sentences:  Syntax as Style“.  One reviewer wrote ” a remarkable collection of over one-thousand sentences demonstrating the utilization of syntax to create a distinctive writing style, and which were selectively compiled by Professor Tufte from the works of authors published in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.”  A kindred spirit who sees beauty in language and will share her insights with examples of great literature?  So my kind of book!

Books on sentence patterns came up in many languages.  For example, one Japanese sentence book described sentences from the point of view of what the speaker is trying to convey.

  • Sentence Patterns

    1. Making simple declarative statements about people and things in the world
    2. Making comparisons
    3. Talking about events in the past, present, and future
    4. Expressing desire, conjecture, and intension
    5. Stating causes or reasons
    6. Making requests
    7. Asking or giving permission
    8. Using the passive and causative voices

Another writer in English classifies sentence patterns by their structure:

sentence pattern

 

I don’t know how I will end up thinking about sentence patterns in Korean.  However, Glossika is giving me a wealth of sentences to look at, with many patterns.  Brain food.  I shall chew on it for a while.  🙂

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