Ossetian Complex Sentences: Problem Of Classification


The article studies existing classification types of complex sentences in the modern Ossetian language arguing that they are inadequate to the structure of the Ossetian language, do not reflect features of complex sentence structure and are the result of transferring logical-grammatical and formal-grammatical approaches traditional for Russian language classifications of this syntactic unit to the Ossetian grammar. The article reviews main works devoted to different aspects of Ossetian complex sentence. It suggests the idea that logical-grammatical and formal-grammatical principles of complex sentences classification, on the one hand, limit the diversity of Ossetian complex sentence types, on the other hand, do not contribute to the identification of those fundamental features that combine different constructions into one or another type of a compound sentence. The research emphasizes that in order to compile the descriptive and normative grammar of the Ossetian language is extremely important to develop an adequate approach to complex sentence classification. Semantic relations between components of a complex sentence should be in the basis of this approach, taking into account structural features of sentence parts, formal means of their connection. This approach yields a scheme of complex sentence classification based on the nature of the relationship between complex sentence clauses, which determines features of the structure of complex sentences. The study reports that, despite a number of loopholes in structural-semantic classification (specifically, in the analysis of divided sentences), its principles can make it possible to create a consistent typology system of the Ossetian complex sentence.

Keywords: Ossetian languagecomplex sentencesclassification


In recent years, the syntax of the Ossetian language has attracted special attention of researchers. There were publications devoted to the typology in Ossetian syntax. Nevertheless, the syntax of a complex sentence is one of the least studied and insufficiently described spheres of the Ossetian language. The problem of complex sentence as a special syntactic unit, its classification principles, clarification of its basic concepts, as well as means and methods of clauses connection and regularities of their order are among the problems that require further development. As there is a mission to create descriptive and normative grammar of the Ossetian language, a complex sentence theory has become a part of the mainstream grammar research typical of Russian grammar school.

Problem Statement

There is an acute problem in modern Ossetian linguistics to create a consistent, meaningful, multidimensional classification of complex sentences. A new approach to this classification is to give up the idea of isomorphism between subordinate clauses and word functions in simple sentences, as well as the division of sentences according to structural principle (conjunction or relative subordination, conjunction meanings and relative words). The basis of this classification should be, in our opinion, structural and semantic approach, designed on the principles of both structural and semantic features taking into account grammatical structures representing non-substituted syntactic position.

Research Questions

The subject of this study is a complex sentence of the Ossetian language. Belonging to the North-Eastern branch of the Iranian group of the Indo-European language family, Ossetian has been adjacent to the Caucasian and Turkic languages for many centuries. However, its syntax, as the most conservative language level, retained all the features of Indo-European languages. Moreover, it amazingly resonates with many Iranian languages (and not only modern ones). As a result, current classifications of complex sentences, being under the influence of the Russian linguistic tradition of 1950s, do not respond to the modern scientific approach providing an adequate description of complex sentence syntax.

Purpose of the Study

The article presents an attempt to design a consistent classification of Ossetian complex sentences based on both semantic and structural characteristics, including types of clause connections

Research Methods

Its research methods involve observation, analysis and synthesis, as well as inductive and deductive methods


The founder of Ossetian syntax studies is considered to be Shyogren whose work "Ossetian Grammar" was published in 1844. It was highly appreciated by scientific community, and its author was awarded a special prize by the French Academy of Sciences. The second chapter of the book describes Ossetian syntax and is called "Different forms and types of sentences" Its first part called "A. General sentence conception" describes types of sentences categorizing them according to the purpose of communication, modality, emotional connotations and simple sentences arrangements. The second part of the chapter ("B. Complex sentence") discusses some aspects of complex sentences (it should be noted that the author includes into the category of complex sentence other constructions having adverbial phrases and introductory words), such as: different types of subordinate clauses, means of connection of subordinate clauses with main clauses. Despite the lack of deep structure systematic analysis of Ossetian complex sentences, this work was breakthrough for its time. That is why, it is necessary to agree with the statement of Gagkaev (1956): "grammatical classifications proposed by Shyigren are schematic and insufficient due to the fact that the author applied a logical approach of European grammars to the Ossetian language.

It is a common fact about complex sentences that a "logical point of view" or a logical-grammatical classification result from recognition the isomorphism of subordinate clauses and word functions of simple sentences. The work A. M. Shyigren does not inherit this approach to sentence classification; it refers to such types of subordinate clauses as relative, interrogative, comparative, correlative, comparable, conditional, expository, causal. We tend to define this classification as formal-grammatical based the structural principle: the author distinguishes the two sentence type, namely, conjunction type and correlative type, and then he describes the types of clauses depending on the meanings of conjunctions and relative words. For example, based on this principle, the work identifies relative subordinate clauses corresponding to a demonstrative pronoun (implicit or explicit) in the main clause.

Discussing the approach to complex sentence classification in Ossetian proposed by K. E. Gagkaev, it represents an attempt to combine both logical-grammatical and formal-grammatical principles. Following the tradition of logical-grammatical principle, the author defines subordinate clause as "a historically independent sentence that has become a part of another sentence, replacing any member of the main clause or another subordinate clause"; therefore, he distinguishes subject clause, predicate clause, attribute clause, object clause and adverbial clause. This classification entails complete isomorphism of subordinate clauses and syntax functions of sentence members. However, this is the second level of complex sentence division. The first level of Gagkaev's classification demonstrates formal-grammatical approach, as it distinguishes asyndeton complex sentences and syndesis complex sentences. In asyndeton sentence type, the author points "asyndeton constructions" of conditional, explanatory, objective, and casual clauses; conjunctions and transition words make subordinate subjects, predicates, attributes, complements, and adverbials. Both classification principles are quite contradictory, inconsistent, and they demonstrated this ambiguity by the examples given in the work. All the further discussed examples were translated from Ossetian by the authors of this work. The sentence Доны былыл чи цæры, йæ ивылд дæр ын уый зоны (Who lives on a river bank, that man knows its spate) has the subordinate clause qualified as "subject clause"; the sentence Цуанон цы ком нæ басгары, уый сырдджын хоны (A hunter, what a hollow-way he investigated, considers it to be rich in wild fowl) has the attributive clause. These examples show that the author put the clauses into different categories though both sentences have similar clause connectors expressed by a personal pronoun уый – in the nominative and in the genitive case, respectively. In general "Syntax" by K. E. Gagkaev shows that highly heterogeneous complex sentences can belong to one category. As for asyndeton type sentences, they are divided into different types on the basis of semantic relations between the clauses. Specifically, the following example illustrates the conditional type of subordinate clauses: Æнæмæт бинонтæн гал амæла – фыд, дзоныгъ асæтта – суг In an idle family, an ox will be dead – meat, sledges will break – fire wood (Æнæмæт бинонтæн (кæд) гал амæла, (уæд) фыд (уыдзæнис) In an idle family, (if) an ox will be dead (then) there will be meat. However, the relationship between the clauses of this sentence can also be interpreted as temporary: Æнæмæт бинотæн гал (куы) амæла, (уæд) фыд (уыдзæнис) In an idle family, (when) an ox will be dead (then) there will be meat. Thus, the semantic relations between clauses defined by implicit conjunctions and connectors or transition words can not be the basis for the sentence classification.

A more successful attempt to take into account both formal and semantic features of cpmplex sentencs is made in the "Grammar of the Ossetian language", edited by Akhvlediani (1969). It is important to note that, for the first time, this the study reveals the relativity of the terms "main clause" and "subordinate clause", as taken separately, these units have all sentence properties and it would be more correct to call them subordinate parts.

The authors of "Grammar", describing the relationship between the main and subordinate parts, distinguish two main types of complex sentence: 1) with clauses relating to the word or phrase in the main part and 2) with clauses relating to the entire main part. The first type constructions are represented by sentences with subordinate clause, expressing attributive, complement, and explanatory relations. It should be noted that the authors of "Grammar" do not explain the differences between subordinate clauses expressing complementory and explanatory relations, and their examples demonstrate complex sentences with explanatory and attributive clauses. It remains unclear what "complement" relations meant.

The second type sentences typically have clauses expressing various kinds of adverbial relations. They also describe a transitional type of complex sentences as a separate part of classification. These are sentences with a comparative component, e.g.: Кæд æмæ паддзахы Уæрæсейы адæймаг рæстæмбис нымадæй цардис 32 азы, уæд Советон Цæдисы та цæры 270 азы If in tsarist Russia, the average human lifespan was 32 years, then in the Soviet Union, it is equal to 70 years. Indeed, comparing all the types of clauses, such constructions express the most abstract relations. Sentences with "comparative subordinate clauses" have clauses with a certain degree of independence as it is easy to transform them into compound sentences: Паддзахы Уæрæсейы адæймаг рæстæмбис нымадæй цардис 32 азы, Советон Цæдисы та цæры 70 азы In tsarist Russia, the average human lifespan was 32 years, and in the Soviet Union, it is equal to 70 years.ʼ. Such sentences represent hypotaxis as subordinating conjunctions form the connections between their clauses. However, this is not a sufficient reason to put them to the "transition" group. Moreover, we believe that the sentences of such a structure have a correlative component (уæд'then'), expressed not by an anaphoric pronoun, but by an anaphoric pronominal adverb (уæд – literally means at "that time"). Such pairs of connectors (кæд…уæд if...then) are usually reffered to as double conjunctions (Lander, 2014), but we tend to agree with Belyaev (2014) who argues that correlatives in the Ossetian language differ in some properties from classical relative clauses, which is why they should be allocated to a special class of constructions.

A detailed description of the basic characteristics, such as meanings expressed by subordinate clauses, relations between the main and subordinate clauses, subordinate conjunctions, connectors, the order of complex sentence parts primarily suggested that a structural-semantic approach will be implemented to the classification of complex sentences. However, the authors of "Grammar", noting that syntax theories lack one commonly accepted principle of complex sentence classification, stopped at the positions of logical-grammatical ("functional-semantic") approach, studying only functions of sentences replaced by or related to subordinate clauses. This decision seems unexpected, because it is not clear how in this case to qualify subordinate clauses relating to the whole main clause. The examples of predicative subordinate clauses presented in this work that have the function to reveal the meaning of the predicate of the main clause, expressed by the demonstrative pronoun ахæм'thatʻ(Akhvlediani , 1969), in fact, some of them are attributive clauses, others are explanatory ones. In addition, there is no answer to the question of how to qualify the clauses relating to all the main clause with the verb predicate. A symbiosis of logical-grammatical and formal-grammatical approaches to the typology of complex sentence is in a high school textbook by Bagaev "The modern Ossetian language. Part 2. Syntax" (Bagaev, 1982). Here the author based the classification on structural features of complex sentence (presence or absence of conjunctions or transition words). N. K. In the first group, Bagaev distinguishes constructions with formal means of connection and with the following types of clauses: subjective, predicative, attributive, complement, appositive, adverbial modifiers of time, place, manner, degree, cause, purpose, conditional, concession (here is some deviation from the isomorphism to syntactical functions of a sentence as apposition does not fit the category). The second group called "Asyndeton sentences" include the same types of subordinate clauses as the first group, adding "explanatory clauses, which explain and clarify the meaning of the main sentence". Among the examples illustrating such clauses, we found asyndeton complex sentences with relations of explanation, additions, and reasons.

Thus, there is to some extent a paradoxical situation when the most adequate structure of the described language is the first experience of its syntactic research. Belyaev (2014) notes that the syntactic uniformity of different types of subordination is described in the work by Shyigren, but in subsequent works, which were strongly influenced by Russian linguistic tradition, different types of subordinate clauses were described separately, ignoring their structural similarity (Belyaev, 2014). We also tend to consider it to be the influence of Russian linguistic tradition that Ossetian scholars demonstrate the commitment to logical-gramatical and formal-grammatical approaches to the study of Ossetian complex sentence that do not fit into the "Procrustean bed" of these principles. The desire to impose Ossetian language material on the structural schemes of the Russian language led, among other things, to the "emergence" of so-called "double conjunctions" consisting of the a conjunction itself and an anaphoric pronoun. The only exception is the "The modern Ossetian language " by Bagaev, in which anaphoric pronouns are called "correlative pronouns", and a conjunction is considered to be the carrier of subordinate relations. The fallacy of this view results from the fact that a certain set of syntactic functions is not specific to a particular conjunction , but to a conjunction together with its specific meaning (Uryson, 2013).

Actually, the logical-grammatical approach to the classification of complex sentences, more precisely, subordinate clauses, has supporters in modern linguistics (Babaytseva, 2010).

We have made a brief overview of the most important, major works on the systematic description of complex sentences in the Ossetian language. In addition, there are a number of works discussing separate specific aspects of complex sentence theory (Kudzoyeva, 2011; Tsarikaeva, 2017; Tsallagova, Gostieva, L. Bibilova & Dzhioeva, 2013; Morgoeva, 2008).

Belyaev (2015; 2016; Belyaev & Serdobolskaya, 2014) wrote several works devoted to the study of Ossetian hypotaxis based on lexical and functional grammar. In particular, the thesis for the degree of candidate of Philology considers the so-called correlative construction in the Ossetian language (Belyaev, 2014). The research by O. I. Belyaev employs mainly the framework of typological grammar, which is based on the methods of processing a large amount of data from text corpus. Applying the methods of corpus linguistics involving processing a significant amount of linguistic material allowed the researchers to form a separate branch of linguistics, which develops universal principles of text construction using modern technologies, methods of collecting and analysing texts of oral and written communication (Kuznetsova & Veleishikova, 2010).

The study considered a corpus-based approach to the language as undoubtedly relevant (Chernyavskaya, 2017) and viewed typological studies based on the material of the Ossetian language, especially at the level of syntax. However, we still believe that the results of such work is a great possibility of errors, because constantly dealing with borderline or non-grammatical structures, there is a danger to take them for the most acceptable options (Fedorova, 2013).

Thus, we believe that within the framework of the future descriptive and normative grammar of the Ossetian language, complex sentence should be considered in terms of structural and semantic typology, which, of course, also requires clarification (Bednarskaya, 2016) and adaptation to the peculiarities of the Ossetian syntax.

In our opinion, an attempt to classify complex sentences should begin with determining the type of connection between the main and subordinate clauses, since it is the type of connection between the parts of a complex sentence that ultimately determines this or that principle of differentiation


Considering the nature of relationship (word-based connection/ phrase-based connection) between clauses of a complex sentence, and the presence or absence of an unbiased syntactic position in the main clause, the following model is designed.

Word-based connection is in the sentences with subordinate clauses referring to one word or phrase of the main clause, and the word is not considered as syntactic function, but as a lexical and morphological unit. In sentences of this type, the syntactic relations between the predicative parts are based on the lexico-morphological characteristics, since the function of the subordinate clause depends on the lexico-morphological nature of the word it expands. As a result, we put complex sentences with explanatory and attributive clauses to the type of word-based connection sentences. These are closely connected structures, the main clause of which contains: a) a word that need to be expanded or specified in its value (Иу -къорд азы, зæронд дуджы, фæкуырдтой хицауæй суанг Калачы онг, цæмæй сын бар радтой чиныгдон-кæсæндон саразыны тыххæй Several years ago, back in the old days, they asked the superiors, all the way to Tiflis, to give a permission to open a library; b) a demonstrative pronoun that needs to be specified (Антон æм йæ къух бадардта, уый дæр æрæджиау фæхъуыды кодта Барис. Anton held out his hand to him, it was also not immediately noticed by Boris).

The structure of the subordinate clause of the Ossetian complex sentence is not determined by the grammatical features of an expanded word as part of speech or by the grammatical nature of a form of this word (though, in this case it would be not subordinate clauses of a subject and an attribute, but substantive and comparative phrases). Such sentences occur in the Russian language. In Ossetian, due to the peculiarities of the system of parts of speech, there are only sentences, the structure of which is determined by the lexical and morphological characteristics of an expanded word in the main clause, they are sentences with explanatory and attributive clauses.

Expository sentences are structures with a word-based connection, the peculiarity of which is the obligatory incompleteness (semantic and structural) of the main clause, and this requires the completion of its content. The function of explanatory subordinate clauses is: 1) in specification, in giving meanings to the determinative and demonstrative pronouns ((Гъеныр уыцы хъаруджын гуырды чи зоны, уый ацы нуазæн айсæд йæ къухмæ (N.K.) Now, who knows this brave fellow, that one let him take this glass in his hands; Йæ сывæллон ахæм кæмæн у, уыдонæн сае лæгтæ цавæр уыдзысты? 'Who has such a child, those will have similar men?'); 2) replacing a word that is missing in the main clause (Фæсмон фæкæна, Мæрдты дзыназа, Дæу чи ныййардта!.. ) For her to regret and to cry in her afterlife, who (is she that) gave you a birth).

The verbs of speech and mental activity often form a specified type of connection when the word зæгъгæ / зæгъын "mol" literaly meaning 'saying / say' is in the function of a conjunction: Афтæ сыл уыцы ранæй фæхъæр кодта Батрадз, æдде уæм дзырдæуы, зæгьгæ (N.K.) Then, from this place, Batradz called out to them, they are saying someone is calling for you outside; Нарт дисæй амардысты, уый Сырдоны хъæр куы у, уæд кæцæй фæзындис, зæгьгæ (N.K.) The Narts were very surprised, it's the cry of Syrdon, where he came from, saying.

An attributive clause most often refers to the combination of a demonstrative pronoun + noun or a pronoun + adjective + noun: Фæлæ мын ацы нуазæнæй та уыцы хæдзарвæндаджы цæрæнбон бирæ уа, æмæ кæрдзыныл чи бæззы (N.K.) With this glass I wish to family many years, which is hospitable (lit. good on bread)'; Уæрхæгæн ахæм хъаруджын гуырд ис, æмæ æртæ Нарты иуырдыгæй, уый йæхæдæг – иннæрдыгæй (N.K.) Urhag has such a brave son that the three Narts (three fasmilies) are on the one side, he is one on the other side. Attributive clauses in the Ossetian language have a function of complementation, and there are almost no sentences with an expanding subordinate clause, as these type of sentences are complex clauses having autosemantic main clause: the object to be defined is most often a noun, either specifically in meaning or sufficiently defined in the main clause. Complementary function of attributive clauses is emphasized by the use of pronouns (correlates), уыцы ʻthatʼ, ахæм ʻsuchʼ and some other connectors used with the designated name in the main clause, which indicates the obligatory nature of the attributive clause: Алы кьæдзæхæй дæр тас у цуанонæн асхъиуынæй ахæм æнæбын ранмæ, йе стджытæ йын халон дæр кæм не ссардзæн From all the rocks, a hunter runs the risk of falling into this bottomless pit, where the a raven will not find his bones.

Phrase-based type of connection is observed in the sentences, which clauses refer to the predicative centre or to the predicate of the main clause, and they usually indicate a certain circumstance in which something that is done or can be done is expressed in the main clause, thereby expanding the entire main clause: Топтыго сагьдауæй аззади, цалынмæ кæртæ бæхты къæхты хъæр не ссыди, уалынмæ (К.А.) Toptygo stood rooted to the spot, while from the yard came the clatter of hoofs (of horses), until that moment. It is noteworthy that in sentences with phrase-based connection, the main part often does not require expansion, and a certain type of subordinate clauses shows this characteristic more than other types. For example, the above sentence has a complete idea in the main clause, and the use of the clause depends on the specific purpose of the statement. The same main clause can attach other subordinate clauses: Топтыго сагьдауаей аззади, кæд æм Батырбег тызмæгæй не сдзырдта, , Toptygo stood rooted to the spot, although Batyrbek haven't talked to him angrily уæддæр (concessive clause); Топтыго сагьдауæй аззади, уымæн æмæ Батырбеджы ныхасæй йæ зæрдæ ауазал Toptygo stood rooted to the spot because of the words of Batyrbek his heart froze (cause of reason). This independence and the ability to join different types of clauses indicate the absence of a strong connection; the relationship between the parts are formed on purely syntactic basis.

Although in the composition of the main clause there may be a word with adverbial function (уалынмæ ʻuntilʼ, уæддæр ʻthough'), which formally serve as a means of connection between the clauses of complex sentences, however, in an informative aspect, it is often excessive and can be omitted: Топтыго сагьдауæй аззади, цалынмæ кæртаæ бæхты къæхты хъæр не ссыди. ʻToptygo stood rooted to the spot, while from the yard came the clatter of hoofs ʼ.

Sentences with divided structure and determinative connection differ according to the semantics of their conjunctions and form several types.

1. Sentences of conditionality:

a) clauses of reason (if there is no correlative word in the main clause): Мах Хъуыдайнаты кафæн залмæ акодтам, цæмæй хи цæстæй фена европæйаг кæфтытæ (К.А.) We took Kudainat to the dance hall, because we want him to see the European dancing with his own eyes; Райс маг туг, кæннод мæ иннæ мæрдтæ сæхимæ нæ уадзынц! (К.А.) Revenge for me, or the other dead will not let me to approach you!'.

Sentences with causal relations are closer to undivided ones, if they have a correlative word in the main clause, and the subordinate clause is in the interpolation, before the correlative word: Уый фаæтæ Созырыхъо Нарты астæу стауинагæй баззадис, маæрдтæ йæхицæн ус кæй ракодта, уый тыххæй (N.K.) After this, Sozyryko among the Narts was praised by all, and brought his wife from the land of the dead because of this.

This position is also typical of sentences with conditional relations, adverbial modifier of manner, time, although with a different arrangement of clauses they are certainly undivided structures: Аивæй-иу Созырыхъойы хал мæнмæ авæрут, мæн халисæг скæнут, афтæмæй (N.K.) Secretly the lots of Sozyryko you will give to me, you will make me the chooser, in such a way (clause is in the interposition). Compare: Мæн-иу халисæг скæнут, афтæмæй-иу Созырыхъойы хал аивæй мæнмæ авæрут You make me the chooser of the lot, so you will secretly give me the lot of Sozyryko (clause is in the preposition);

b) clauses of purpose: Сослан мæрдтæм цæуынвæнд скодта, цæмаей Аза-бæласы сыфтæ ссардтаид, уый тыххæйSoslan decided to go into the realm of the dead to find the leaves of the tree of Aza, for this purpose; c) clauses of result: Бон йæхи раив-баив кодта, уымæ гæсгæ мах дæр цæуыныл батагъд кодтам The weather began to change, so we hurried to leave.

Complex sentences with subordinate clauses of time are often complicated by causal, conditional and manner of action relationships. In this case, the additional conditional relations can be both in sentences with the action taking place in the main and subordinate clauses, and most often with the relations of sequence, different time of action: Ацы хортæ къухы куы бафтой, уæд мæгуыр нал уыдзыстæм This harvest, if we get it, then the poor will not have it (sequence of actions); Ныр дæр ма хъæуæй куы фæцæйцæуай, уæд сисыл бæрæг дарынд йæ алатæ Until the present, when you come out of the village, the soot on the wall is visible (simultaneity of actions).

Quite often there are complex sentences with time clauses are complicated by cause-and-effect relationships: Куы ничи та змæлыдис адæмæй уæлæмæ, уæд та зæронд Уæлхæг фесты æмæ та Созырыхъойы къухæй райсы нуазæн (N.K.) When none of the people got up again, the old Ualhag stands up and takes the glass out of the hands of Sozyryko. In this case, the temporary relationship is pushed into the background. This sentence can be considered as having time clause for the reason that other meaningful connections do not have grammatical expression and are only detected on the basis of the context given by specific sentences.

Not complicated by the additional meanings, time relations are established only in the case where the clause contains an indication to a certain definition of time: Вагзалы куы бады æмпылдæрфыг, æнкьардæй Дзынга, уæдæй нырмæ Беслæныхъæуы ‘рдæм сивгъуыдта æртыккаг поезд, фæлæ цæмæндæр нæ исы билет (Dz.К.) How he is sitting at the train station , frowning, sad, Dzynga, since to Beslan direction the third train has gone, but for some reason he does not buy the ticket. In complex semtences with time clauses complicated by the relations of the manner of action, secondary semantic connections are supported by means of connectors: a correlative pair куыд ... афтæ 'so...as' is typical of complex sentences with the relationship of manner of action: Æхсæв æмæ бон кæрæдзийæ куыд хицæн кодтой, афтæ æрбатахтысты æртæ маргьы (N.K.) 'Night and day how they started to separate from each other, three birds came'. A similar shade of manner is expressed in complex asyndeton sentences in the subordinate clause with a correlative word афтæ 'this way' in the main: Нарты фæсивæд Гуыбатæйы фæдыл цыдысты, афтæ Созырыхъо дæр ныххæццæ æмæ Нартыл фæхъæр кодта (N.K.) The young followed Guybata, in this way Sozyryko appeared and shouted at the Narts.

It is obvious that the main part can not be located in the post-position, but it can frame the subordinate, which in this case is in the interposition: Æртæ маргьы æрбатахтысты, æхсæв æмæ бон кæрæдзийæ куыд хицæн кодтой, афтæ 'Three birds flew, the similar way as night and day, from each other they we separate, this way'.

Another type of non-predicate connection between the clauses of the Ossetian complex sentences is similar to the connection between the predicative centre of a simple sentence and its expanding determinant. This connection is usually optional. In this case, a predicative construction, acting as a subordinate clause, refers to the predicative centre of the main clause: Æвæццæгæн æмæ уыцы фыдæбоны мыггагæй искуы æнхъизæн баззади, уый йеддæмæ уый хуымæтæджы ехсы цæлхъытæ æмæ бæхы къæхты хъæртæ не сты (N.K.) It is possible, that some representatives of this unlucky tribe remained somewhere, and that (otherwise) it's not simply the flicks of a whip, and the clatter hooves.

Between the clauses of a complex sentence representing the relationship of manner of action, the connection is weak, if a subordinate clause is the interposition (after it, there is normally a correlative word афтæ meaning 'so'): Йæ фаттæ дæр ныппырх сты, хуыргарчы цъиутæ хæмпæлы куыд ныппырх вæййынц, афтæ 'And as the arrows are scattered, the chicks of the partridge in the bushes as scattered, so'.

The connection between the clauses with the postpositive main clause is stronger. In this case, the subordinate clause is prepositional and refers to a correlative word in the main clause афтæ 'so', афтаемæй 'in such a way', expanding its contents. This is a kind of transitional type of sentences between divided and undivided ones.

The structure of these two sentence types, connectors have different meanings. In divided constructions, they are the arranging centre of a sentence as they not only define its meaning, but also are its most important element. In undivided structures, semantic structure of complex sentences along with the means of connection and even to a greater extent is defined by other elements: correlative or supporting words in the main clauses, giving a certain expansion of their subordinate clauses or a correlation with it, so that the presence and the structure of subordinate clauses is determined by the composition of the main clauses.

For Ossetian divided complex sentences, it is typical to employ meaningful conjunctions as a means of connection, so there is obviously determinate character of subordinating relations. Among the determinate sentences based on the semantics of conjunctions and, consequently, on the relations between the clauses, we distinguish the following groups:

Sentences of determination, including: a) causal (Цардысты тынг мæгуыр, уый тыххæй æмæ сын нæ уыдис нæ хуымзæхх, нæ хосгæрсты зæхх) They were very poor, because they had no arable land, no mowing for haymaking); b) conditional (Ныммæл мын фæсмонæй, ды искуы хæддзуйæ куы скæнай æлдар ) You die from repentance if you will ever make a master from an alien); c) target (Адæм рæгъау мæнмæ уымæн радтой, æмæ сын æй æз дæу хуызæн хæтæнхуæгтæн байуарон? ) Have people for this pupose entrusted me with a flock, for I would give a share to the burglars like you?'); d) concessive (Хæрæг цас фæнды сирæд, уæддæр ын иу бон æнæ асæпсæпгæнгæ нæй) Even if a jackass walk like an ambler, one day it can not run at a gallop); e) result (Æнæхъæн æхсæв мит йæ уарынæй нæ банцад, уымæ гæсгæ райсомæй горæты уынгтæ æгасæй миты хъæпæн фестадысты It was snowing all night, and the sow wouldn't stop, so in the morning the streets of the city turned into a snow hill).

Sentences with non-predicative connection: a) temporary (Цалынмæ фæстæмæ здæхон, уæдмæ уал ам абад (Kh.G.) While I was on my way back home, until then, you sit here); b) comparative (Цыма Хъарсы фидар басастай, уыйау дæхицæй куы ныббуц дæ (Kh. G.) As if you have overcome the Kars fortress, so pleased with youeself you look); c) compliance (Цас тагьддæр кæнын, уыйас мын къаддæр æнтысы (Kh.А.). ʻThe more I hurry, the less time I have').

Word-based connection is found in complex sentences with explanatory subordinate clause (Кæй дæ, уый дæ хурæй бафæдæд (N.к.) Who do you belong to, let that person be fed with your sun).

The group of sentences with correlative connection includes: a) manner of action (Цæмæй мачи мацы бамбара, афтæ бакæн (А.G.), In order no one understood anything, you do it in this way); b) attributive (Горæты фæзы, æфсæддонтæм кæдæм фæсидынц, уыцы урс хæдзары комкоммæ сиддонтæ лæууынц къордæй (T. B.) ' In the area of the town, where recruits gather, in front of this white house, recruits are standing in small groups); 3) place (Бæх кæм баст уыди, уым кæвдæсы фæйнæгыл æвæрд уыдис æхгæд къонверт Where the horse was tied up, there was a sealed envelope on the board. ]


  1. Akhvlediani, G. S. (ed.), (1969). Grammar of the Ossetian language. Vol.2. Syntax. Ordzhonikidze, Book Printing Office of the Press at the Council of Ministers of the ASSR.
  2. Babaytseva, V. V., (2010). In defence of traditional classification of complex sentences. Russian Language at School, 10, 29-35.
  3. Bagaev, N. K., (1982). The modern Ossetian language. Part 2. Syntax. Ordzhonikidze, Ir.
  4. Bednarskaya, L. D., (2016). On categorical meanings of complex sentences. First Sheulinsky Reading. Materials of all-Russian scientific conference with international participation (pp. 25-31) Lipetsk, Lipetsk State Pedagogical University.
  5. Belyaev, O. I., (2014). Correlative construction in Ossetic language in a typological approach. Thesis for a Candidate Degree in Philology, Moscow, Moscow State University.
  6. Belyaev, O. I., (2015). Pseudoconmosition in the Ossetian language, Acta linguistica petropolitana, 11, 2, 33-59.
  7. Belyaev, O. I., (2016). Level theory of polipredicative constructions: the data of Ossetian and Russian languages Clause architecture in parametric models. Syntax, information structure, word order. Moscow, YASK Publishing house, 165-194.
  8. Belyaev, O. I., Serdobolskaya, N. V., (2014). Studying of Ossetian grammar: field method and corpus technologies Ossetian language in the conditions of globalization. Materials of the II all-Russian (with international participation) scientific-practical conference. Moscow: Moscow State Institute of International Relations.
  9. Chernyavskaya, V. E., (2017). Methodological possibilities of discourse analysis in corpus linguistics, Bulletin of Tomsk State University. Philology, 50, 135-148.
  10. Fedorova, O. V., (2013). On an experimental syntax and a syntactic experiment in linguistics, Questions of linguistics, 1, 3 – 21.
  11. Gagkaev, K. E., (1956). Syntax of the Ossetian language. Ordzhonikidze: North-Ossetian Publishing House.
  12. Kudzoyeva, A. F., (2011). The main types of complex sentences with homogeneous subordination of clauses in the Ossetian language. Bulletin of the North Ossetian State University, 1, 150-155
  13. Kuznetsova, Yu. L., Veleishikova, T. V., (2010). Modern corpus-based language studies: new approaches. Questions of linguistics, 6, 108-124.
  14. Lander, (2014). Typology of unmarked causal subordination: relative constructions. Questions of linguistics, 1, 3 - 20.
  15. Morgoeva, L. (2008). On the linguistic status of phrasal-syntactical schemes as expressive means of natural speech Federal Russian Readings. 1. (p. 198-199). Vladikavkaz: North Ossetian Institute of Humanitarian and Social Research. Pekelis O. E. (2015). Indicator тоas a means of accentuation of the implicative relationship (on the example of the conjunction если…то) Questions of linguistics. 2. 55 – 96.
  16. Shyogren, G.R. (1844). Ossetian Grammar. Derbent.
  17. Tsallagova, Z. B., Gostieva, L. K., Bibilova, R.P., Dzhioeva, G. Kh., (2013). The formation of the Ossetian language studies as a branch of Russian academic Caucasian research At the origins of the Ossetian language studies: The first researchers and collectors of folklore and traditional culture. Collection of scientific articles. Vladikavkaz, North Ossetian State University named after Khetagurov
  18. Tsarikaeva, F.A., (2017). Complex sentence: actual aspects of the research. Vladikavkaz, North Ossetian State University named after Khetagurov.
  19. Uryson, E. V., (2013). Syntax of conjunctions and connectors and valency theory, Questions of linguistics, 3, 3 - 24.

Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

29 March 2019

eBook ISBN



Future Academy



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society

Cite this article as:

Kudzoyeva, A. F., Kadasheva, S. A., Misikova, B. G., Tsarikaeva, F. F., & Khanaeva, Z. K. (2019). Ossetian Complex Sentences: Problem Of Classification. In D. K. Bataev (Ed.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 58. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 1579-1589). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.03.02.183