Of Clumps and Clusters
Every coherent word-group can be replaced by a single word. That is to
say, every coherent word-group operates as a single word; therefore, it has a
sentence function and a form,- that is, it is a particular part of speech.
Moreover, every coherent word-group is built around a single base-word (main/
head/key word), and word-groups can be classified as clumps or clusters on the
basis of the relationship between the base word and the whole word-group. If
the base word and the word-group are the same part of speech with the same
function, then the word-group is a cluster; otherwise, it is a clump. To
study this, compare the following three sentences (the first is 4.d):
i) She hears the fat elf.
ii) She does hear Santa.
iii) She has been hearing Santa.
In i) the word-group 'the fat elf' which clusters around the base 'elf' can be
replaced by the one word 'Santa'. Both 'Santa' and 'the fat elf' have the
same form and function; therefore, 'the fat elf' is a noun cluster. In ii)
and iii) the simple verb 'hears' is replaced by compound verb clusters. In
the interest of practical uniformity and historical cogency we always take the
lexical item (the dictionary form) of the verb as the base. Accordingly,
'hear' and 'hearing' are the bases, while 'does' and 'has been' are the
adjuncts. Adjuncts are of two kinds: helping verbs as those above or 'modal
auxiliaries' like 'can', 'must', 'should', or 'may'. Ultimately, every
sentence breaks down into a noun (/pronoun) cluster called the subject (topic
or power-grip) and a verb cluster called the predicate (comment or adjustment-
touch). Consider the following sentence:
The big hawk soon will relentlessly chase the little birds away.
The subject cluster is 'the big hawk' and the rest of the sentence is the
predicate cluster. Note that this predicate is made up of a verb (-cluster),
an object (-cluster) which answers the question 'What?', and adverbs
(-clusters) which answer the questions 'When? Where? How? Why?'.
A clump is a very different type of word-group. Consider, for instance,
the word-group 'across the sky' from 5.e. Since this group answers the
question 'Where?' about the action of the verb, it must operate as an adverb.
Likewise, the group 'at night' in 5.d operates as an adverb because it
explains when Santa laughs; likewise again, the group 'When Santa laughs'
modifies the main verb, specifying the period of its possibility or
pertinence. Therefore, all these three groups operate as adverbs, although no
single word in them is an adverb. When the sentence function of the whole
word-group is different from the immediate function of its base word, then the
group is called a clump. Now finish the following chart to include all the
clumps in the sentences in Set #5:
INTRO Base Base Base Clump Clump Clump
WORD WORD FORM FUNCTION FORM FUNCTION DEPENDENCE
When fade verb act adverb modify forget
into oblivion noun object adverb modify fade
When save verb aff(ect) adverb modify saves
from triviality noun _____ ______ ______ ______
The traditional name for a word that introduces a clump whose base word
is a noun is a preposition, while a conjunction is the word for a 'when'-type
word that introduces a verb as a base word. Notice that the function of both
of these is the same: they are both 'introductory connectors'. Prepositions
and conjunctions are Janus words which look inward into their clump and
outward to the rest of the sentence. They connect their clump to some word
outside their clump on which the whole clump depends. Consider the similarity
of connectors to modifiers in respect to their systemic equivalence:
INTRODUCES / MODIFIES WORD-TYPE
Preposition Adjective NOUN
Conjunction* Adverb VERB * only subordinate so far
Now let us again update our chief chart:
WORD FORM FUNCTION DEPENDS Type of
Type Reference Relation on Clump
6 Preposition STATIC introduces & NOUN PHRASE
7 Conjunction STATIC intro & connects VERB CLAUSE
If the philosophers would permit us to define an activity or action as a
dynamic relationship, then we could suggest that from the point of view of
Word world, the Surd world consists of objects, qualities, and the dynamic and
static relationships between them, any of which can be asserted or implied. If
Surd world seems absurdly simple, Word world is not far behind: it seems to
use only a handful of basic operations or manipulations to connect words
together. Note your comments & observations here.
Now make up three sentences that use the two types of clumps above, labelling
each word, numbering its dependence, and bracketting each clump:
E.G.: (When Santa laughs [at night])
Now consider the next set of sentences:
Example Set #6 a. Satan gives us fads to distract us.
b. To save art we sell it to museums.
c. Scholars tell you the truth to free you.
d. To convince them, show them your proofs.
e. He offered us money to catch the birds.
What is special about verbs meaning to give, tell, or show? In sentence
b) what is difference between the clumps 'to save' and 'to museums'? How do
constructions like 'to distract us' fit into the rest of the sentence? What
function does this construction perform in the sentence? Note your
observations and suggestions here: __________________________________________
On ODDS locate, circle, and label 5 instances of each of the new constructions.