Apposition Apos, <afun>_Ap


After a specification of the function of apposition in the part Specification of apposition, we present an account of how apposition is formally treated in our scenario (part Representation of apposition). This part also contains a list of possible expressions that may introduce apposition. In the part Distinguishing apposition from other relations we attempt to differentiate apposition from other sentence relations with which it might be mistakenly interchanged (dependency, coordination or parenthesis).

Specification of apposition


Apposition is a relation that makes it possible to render the same 'idea' in several different ways. The members standing in apposition are the same sentence part, they usually are in the same case and they can be interchanged:

  1. se   žádostí   se   obrátili   na   O.   Koktana,   správce   vepřína  
    with   request   Refl   they-turned   to   O.   Koktan,   manager   of-pigsties  

The condition requiring the same form (case) need not be met if the members in the apposition relation are adverbials, because the repertoire of the means for the expression of adverbials is very large:

  1. usmrtili   ho   tajně,   např.   vyšší   dávkou   morfia  
    they-killed   him   secretely   e.g.   by-higher   dosis   of-morphine  

We differ from Šmilauer's understanding in that our specification of apposition is narrower: we do not regard as apposition the types of "specializing" attribute (as e.g. rozinky sultánky raisins sultans, slečna sousedka miss neighbour, my Češi we Czechs, see Agreeing attribute expressed by a noun) and also adverbials as dole pod podlahou down below the floor, letos v únoru this year in February, nahoru na kopeček up to the hill (see Problematic cases of temporal modifications and Problems of local adverbial).

Similarly, we do not regard as apposition the case when seemingly apposited members have no place to be suspended on (the member for the assignment of afun Apos is missing, see below): nodes for such elements are suspended side by side, without apposition.

However, we do regard as apposition items in a questionnaire or list divided by a colon or by some other graphic symbol (see ex. (6) in the following part).

Representation of apposition


The following expressions are typical for introducing an apposition:

aneb, a sice, a tedy, a to, čili, jako, jako je, jako např., jako například, např., například, neboli, tak třeba, tedy, tj., to jest, to znamená, tzn.

The list is not (even cannot be) complete, i.e. apposition may be introduced by other expressions as well and the decision is up to the annotator. At the same time, an inclusion of an expression in this list does not necessarily mean that a presence of such an expression in a sentence always indicates that a relation of apposition is present.

In addition, apposition may be introduced by mere graphic symbols, such as comma, dash, colon, brackets.

According to the current conventions, apposition is represented in the tree structure in the same way as coordination, i.e. the respective means of expression are assigned the afun Apos and the members that stand in an apposition relation are suspended on this governing node; their afuns are composed from the label denoting their function (Sb, Obj, Atr, ...) and from the suffix _Ap.

When deciding which node is assigned afun Apos, the following rules hold:

  • If the connecting expression is a single node, then the situation is clear (see exx. (1), (6), (7)).

  • If the connecting expression is a word (or an abbreviation) preceded by a comma, the afun Apos is assigned to this word and the comma is suspended under it (exx. (2), (4)).

  • If the abbreviation is followed by (its) fullstop, the fullstop is suspended under the abbreviation (according to the rules of punctuation, see Punctuation marks after an abbreviation (fullstop), here ex. (2)).

  • If the means for apposition consists of a string of words, the last word in the string is the governor of the whole expression, other elements of the string being its dependents and getting the afun AuxY (see the rules given in paret Multi-word apposition expressions, and ex. (4) below).

  • If the second member of the apposition is separated by brackets (or by dashes etc.), the first of these symbols is assigned afun Apos and the second is suspended on the first (with afun AuxG; see the rules in part Bracketing AuxG and ex. (3) below).

As ex. (7) shows, apposition allows also for some unusual attributes.

  1. image

    Odpoví   běžným   řešením:   devalvací  
    it-will-respond   by-current   solution   devalvation  
  2. image

    legalizovala   euthenasii,   tj.   usmrcení  
    she-legalised   euthanasia,   ie.   killing  
  3. image

    zabývali   se   postavením   UK   (Univerzity   Karlovy)  
    they-dealt   Refl   with-position   of-UK   (University   of-Charles)  
  4. image

    stanovil   symboly,   a   to   znak   a   prapor  
    he-determined   symbols   and   this(is)   emblem   and   banner  
  5. image

    bojují   dvě   síly:   Láska   čili   Harmonie   a   Nenávist   neboli   Svár  
    fight   two   powers   Love   or   Harmony   and   Hatred   or   Conflict  
  6. image

    pohlaví:   ženské  
    sex   female  
  7. image

    Mirek,   v   Klánovicích   barman,   nyní   mistr  
    Mirek   in   Klánovice   barman,   now   foreman  
    Mirek, a barman in Klánovice, now a foreman.

Distinguishing apposition from other relations


Apposition has some points of contact with other sentence relations: dependency, coordination and parenthesis.

If an assignment of an attributive (adjunct) function is possible, then it has priority over the appositional specification. Compare the close attributive relation in

případ   úředníka   předúnorového   ministerstva   vnitra   JUDr.   Zdeňka   Tomana  
case   of-clerk   of-pre-February   Ministry   of-Interior   JUDr   Zdenek   Toman  
with a (loose, free) appositional relation in
říká   Ivan   Medek,   vedoucí   odboru   vnitřní   politiky   presidentské   kanceláře  
says   Ivan   Medek,   head   of-section   of-interior   affairs   of-presidential   office  
The criterion for distinguishing these two relations - an attributive and an appositional one - is supplied by the fact that with the appositional relation, the two "ideas" are separated by some formal (graphic) symbol (in our example, it is the comma).

In contrast to coordination, the two (or more) members standing in an appositional relation express the same content (or its specification, as the case may be).

The difference between apposition and parenthesis is discussed in more detail in part The borderline between parenthesis and apposition.

The appositional relation must be also distinguished from the so-called free adjunction (see Freely adjoined sentence parts), even though the means of expression of these two relations are sometimes the same. Cf. the example of apposition: pochází z Čech, a to ze Žižkova (he comes from Czechia, and that from Žižkov) as compared to a freely adjoined sentence part in přidělili peníze, a to brněnským lékařům (they have allocated money, and that to the Brno physicians).