Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Thu Jul 22 06:20:24 EDT 1999

At 9:43 PM +1200 7/22/99, N & RJ Hanscamp wrote:
>Can someone explain to me what paratactic (parataxis?) is. Moulton/Turner
>Syntax (vol 3) uses the word but does not explain it, and BDF ain't much
>more help.

PARATAXIS (the noun; PARATACTIC is the corresponding adjective) is defined
normally as antithetical to HYPOTAXIS (adj. HYPOTACTIC) as descriptive of
the arrangement of clauses in a sentence in a coordinated series, whereas
Hypotaxis is the arrangement of clauses in a sentence in a pattern of
subordination. In fact, "subordination"--the more normal term used in
English--is a latinized form of the Greek hUPOTAXIS. Here the prefix PARA-
has the sense "along side of" and hUPO- has the sense of "subordinated."

A simple example: Caesar's classical description of his warfare, VENI,
VIDI, VICI ("I came, I saw, I conquered") is PARATACTIC--coordinated; this
could be done in Greek the same way: HLQON, EIDON, ENIKHSA; but the more
standard way of doing this sequence in Greek is to subordinate the
chronologically prior actions in the narrative formulation to the
definitive final action, generally as participles modifying the subject of

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at
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