Usually, relative clause cannot stand alone as a sentence. In contrast to dependent clause, independent or main clause is a clause that can stand alone. Main clause is synonymous to a simple sentence. In essence, clause is the basic unit of meaning in the English language (Stuart-Smith, 2003). Either dependent or independent, a clause conveys a message. This paper, on the other hand, examines the relative clause as a basic unit of a language in relation to functional grammar, especially in the ideational metafunction level. Here, the use of the word clause will refer to dependent clause.
The usage of a clause in the different world languages differs greatly. There are three identified dimensions of these differences: (1) position of the clause with respect to the head noun or the noun being modified; (2) how a clause is marked; (3) the absence or presence of a pronominal reflex (Celce-Murcia & Larsen-Freeman, 1999, p.573). In the English language, a clause follows the head noun. For instance, in the sentence, "San Antonio is a city that has experienced very rapid growth," the head-noun San Antonio precedes the italicized clause. To place the clause before the head noun in a sentence sounds, if not ungrammatical, awkward. Farsi and Arabic languages share similar syntactic pattern in the clause usage compared to most European languages. ...Show more