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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Hypotaxis is the grammatical arrangement of functionally similar but "unequal" constructs (hypo="beneath", taxis="arrangement"), i.e., constructs playing an unequal role in a sentence.

A common example of syntactic expression of hypotaxis is subordination in a complex sentence. Another example is observed in premodification. In the phrase "inexpensive composite materials", "composite" modifies "materials" while "inexpensive" modifies the complex head "composite materials" , rather than "composite" or "materials". In this example the phrase units are hierarchically structured, rather than being on the same level, as compared to the example "Cockroaches love warm, damp, dark places". Notice the syntactic difference; hypotactic modifiers cannot be separated by commas.

A classical example of verbal hypotaxis, unobservable in English, is the Greek phrase Molon labe.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Hypotaxis" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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