This article, http://www.christianlehmann.eu/publ/linkage.pdf , alluded to something called an adjoined clause, which is subordinate, but not embedded.

What is the difference between a subordinate clause and an embedded clause?

I am assuming that "subordinate clause" is a term for a category that includes embedded clauses, but is not limited to it.

  • There are also embedded clauses which are not subordinate. Joseph Emonds introduced the notion "root clause", which is not subordinate and has several special properties, but it can be embedded after a verb of quotation, and it can also be coordinated with another clause of the same category.
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Oct 6, 2015 at 22:41
  • Could you cite the relevant article? Is there a link to it? Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 0:44
  • I think it can be found in Emonds' dissertation, which I've found here: ai.mit.edu/projects/dm/theses/emonds70.pdf. I didn't want to re-read the whole thing, but the core idea that I've referred to is introduced on page 7.
    – Greg Lee
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 0:58

1 Answer 1


What Lehmann is talking about is Hale's famous 1976 paper about the adjoined relative clause in Australia. It discusses (subordinate) relative clauses not being embedded, which spawned the opinion that there is no subordination in Australian languages (because for most 'subordination' and 'embedding' are synonimous indeed). In fact, Hale meant something like not embedded linearly in the sentence, i.e., not having other material on both sides of them. Nordlinger does an excellent job of clarifying the issue in her 2006 paper.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.