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Lesson 20
Coordinating Conjunctions

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Simple statements like we've been studying are excellent for expressing clear, concise, and straightforward ideas. Their adherence to a consistent SVO word order always provides us with enough information to determine the sentence's actor, his or her action, and the recipient (if any) of that action.

Sometimes, though, we want to express not simply straightforward ideas, but the relationship between multiple ideas. One way of forming such complex sentences is connecting together simple statements with what are called coordinating conjunctions (so called because they conjoin two independent sentences of relatively equivalent, or coordinate, value). Let's look at an example in English.

Example:

Bravery is good, but he is not brave.

Here, we have two simple statements, bravery is good and he is not brave, that are linked together with the coordinating conjunction but. Taken individually, each statenebt us a complete and functional sentence on its own. When they are connected together by but, a logical relation is established between them: as a general condition, being brave is a good thing — he is an exception, though, he stands in contradiction to the general condition and is not brave. But tells us that the relation between the two connected sentences, technically called independent clauses, is one of opposition or contradiction.

In D'ni, we would write the same sentence this way:

Example: .KeraT Kenen ram rUb ril Kenen Kera

As in English, the two independent clauses —  KeraT Kenen ram and  ril Kenen Kera — are connected with a coordinating conjunction,  rUb, meaning but. Notice that there is no punctuation, such as the comma we use in English, to separate the two clauses; D'ni has no such punctuation.

Another D'ni conjunction is pam, or, which connects two clauses that are mutually exclusive alternatives. For example, it might be said of Riven that Atrus is always writing the Descriptive Book or the Age dies.

Example: .Atrus xan Doselen reKorman pam resev manSUen

The sentence offers two distinct possibilities. Whichever alternative comes to be true, the other one must necessarily not be true — either Atrus keeps writing and the Age lives, or the Age dies because Atrus has stopped writing.

ga, and, is the most frequently used coordinating conjunction. It indicates that the two clauses are connected together because of their similarity, association, or consequence. In Aitrus' From D'ni to the Surface, we read about a curious lizard:

Example: .met m'la tornen poant bonUex ga rEsloen repråDtE

These two independent clauses are connected together with ga because the second is a consequence of the closely associated first: This lizard spits acidic saliva, and as a result it (the saliva) dissolves the rocks.

Of course, coordinating conjunctions be used to string together more than two independent clauses:

Example: .met m'la tornen poant bonUex ga rEsloen repråDtE rUb rem'la ril Doglasen

D'ni coordinating conjunctions thus work very similarly to how they work in English, by connecting together simple statements and telling us something about the relationship between those statements, with the one significant difference that there is no punctuation to set the statements apart.

 
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