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I had to argue with a non-native (though well educated) English speaker as to why this sentence was just wrong.

The sentence is:

"The mountains having surrounded and protected Andong (a city name), many ancient arts and customs have been preserved here, including the Hahoe masks."

The sentence was based off these grammar structure samples:

"The weather being fine, we decided to start for our picnic." "Generally speaking, it is not easy to learn a foreign language."

Help please?

Thank you.
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Comments  (Page 3) 
Since the first part of the sentence says "having" it implies it is finished before the second part takes place. This means that the surrounding is finished, and it must therefore be surrounding in the active sense, otherwise the mountains would still be surrounding the town. Unless you are talking about magic mountains, who can walk about and surround towns, the sentence is therefore ill-formed.

(edited to remove personal comment.)
Having is used as part of a causal clause equivalent in the sentence and the perfect tense could be used instead of the equivalent. In such sentences the perfect tense indeed often implies that the first action is finished before the second takes place:

Because I have seen that film, I don't wish to see it again. Or:
Having seen that film, I don't wish to see it again.

Not always, though. Here's another pair of sentences:
Because Tim has known Sally for years, he wants to send her a Christmas card.
Having known Sally for years, Tim wants to send her a Christmas card.


I know that to you the knowing "is finished" but for countless native speakers Tim still knows Sally. And in the original sentence the mountains still surround the town because mountains are not magic things that can walk away. (Of course they may crumble eventually...)

CB

(edited to remove personal comment).
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Actually I'm being very cheeky and I decided I'm missing something (which I could have noticed through reading other posts more attentively), so I accept the edited insult, whatever it was!

The choice of tenses is not necessarily 100% "wrong" but it feeds into a distortion of topic/comment. The sentence is about the town, not the mountains, so to make THE mountains the subject in the way the writer has also conjures up those magical mountains. The sentence is therefore at the very least an example of poor style, and on a forum like this we ought to get to the bottom of that, rather than say "it is OK by me".

I think the subject matter affects whether the somewhat unusual grammar is acceptable, so those people who are (a la Chomsky) discussing the grammatical aspects without reference to the meaning will inevitably miss the point.
Hello,

Being a simple minded person, I might not be able to add much into this conversation. However, I've just realized my opening sentence has only one actor, I! The issue that we are dealing with here has to do with a construct in which 2 actors involved, 'the mountains' and 'many ancient arts and customs'.

The original post shows two examples:
Sentence #1: "The weather being fine, we decided to start for our picnic."
Sentence #2: "Generally speaking, it is not easy to learn a foreign language."

Here again is the sentence in question for us to compare:
Sentence #3: "The mountains having surrounded and protected Andong (a city name), many ancient arts and customs have been preserved here, including the Hahoe masks."

Analysis:

Step #1: Let’s make a change in sentence #3 to match the structure of sentence #1 as follows (sentence #4):

"The mountains surrounding Andong being X, we have been able to preserve many ancient arts and customs here, including the Hahoe masks," where X can be any adjective that is best suited. Now, does it still sound odd to us? NO: go to step #2, YES: go to step #5.

Step #2: Let’s flip back the second part of sentence #4 to its original passive mode (sentence #5):

The mountains surrounding Andong being X, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved here, including the Hahoe masks." How does it sound now? OK: go to step #3, ODD: go to step #5 .

Step #3: Examine the difference between being fine and having surrounded and protected Andong. If we cannot find any difference, we must conclude that the sentence #3 is structurally sound. It is our ears that are not used to it. STOP. Have a beer and go on with our life.

Step #4: The difference between fine and surrounded and protected Andong is the culprit. Present our finding .STOP. Have a beer and go on with our life.

Step #5: The problem is the passive voice of the main clause. STOP. Have a beer and go on with our life.

If the answer lies in Step #3, could being fine which is passive / static while having surrounded and protected Andong is dynamic / active be the problem? I find in the same sentence, two active actors are confusing to my ears and my brain.

I hope I haven’t muddled the issue; and if I did I know you all can easily ignore me.

Best Regards,
Hoa Thai
I think we can disregard the other examples really. They are perfectly OK, and the problem in the slightly sick sentence does not relate to issues found in the other examples.

Ahem, well, on second thoughts though, maybe the previous post is on to something. In general, the subject in the dependent clause of a sentence like this will be the same as in the main clause. I can't think of a sentence with an active subject in the dependent clause that makes me happy. "Dogs having bitten Fred, he was covered with blood"

"Having been bitten by dogs, Fred was covered with blood"

That is a definite improvement. It may be "hypercorrection" to raise these issues, if that is what the new thread is getting at (!), but to me "wrong" is a fuzzy concept. We have to explore all levels of wrongness.
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Jon SaltI think we can disregard the other examples really. They are perfectly OK, and the problem in the slightly sick sentence does not relate to issues found in the other examples.

Ahem, well, on second thoughts though, maybe the previous post is on to something. In general, the subject in the dependent clause of a sentence like this will be the same as in the main clause. I can't think of a sentence with an active subject in the dependent clause that makes me happy. "Dogs having bitten Fred, he was covered with blood"

"Having been bitten by dogs, Fred was covered with blood"

That is a definite improvement. It may be "hypercorrection" to raise these issues, if that is what the new thread is getting at (!), but to me "wrong" is a fuzzy concept. We have to explore all levels of wrongness.
Hi Jon,

That is exactly what I was trying to pin down. Two clauses in one sentence cannot fight to get readers' attention. We must soften a clause that we chose to play the supporting role. For example, "Dogs having bitten Fred, he covered with blood" would sound more natural if we soften 'Dogs having bitten Fred' by adding Because in front of Dogs - or doing what you've just suggested by switching it to passive voice to weaken its role.

Best Regards,
Hoa Thai
Well said, sir. Does it clear up the original dog's breakfast of a sentence though...?

Originally - "The mountains having surrounded and protected Andong (a city name), many ancient arts and customs have been preserved here, including the Hahoe masks."

A "softened" example from Hoa Thai (since we can't use the same subject in both clauses) - "Because the mountains have surrounded and protected Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved here, including the Hahoe masks".

It's better, but I dunno. I still mistrust the mountains. They demand a more stable tense. Let's try and make a fantastic sentence. You need isolation rather than protection to preserve mask making, and Hahoe is actually quite a way from Andong, and making masks rather than masks per se is an art, so it's not easy.

"Since Andong is surrounded and isolated by mountains, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved in the city, including the Hahoe maks".

I don't think the Andong people would like to think of themselves as isolated these days, so chucking the surrounding and the protecting together in the first place was probably a bad move. One is over, the other isn't. However, you have a perfect tense in the second clause, so what's a guy to do to create some past tense action? Maybe....

Since Andong was isolated by the surrounding mountains through most of its history, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved here, including the famous Hahoe masks.

O.K, I like it. Give me a job with with the Korean tourist board please.
The sentence is certainly very awkward. It reads like a schoolboy translation from a language like Latin. I suspect that I may have passed over it without paying much attention to it if I had come across it in continuous text. However, when you think about it, it does give the impression that Andong existed and then the mountains surrounded and protected it.
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Jon Salt"Because the mountains have surrounded and protected Andong, many ancient arts and customs have been preserved here, including the Hahoe masks".

It's better, but I dunno. I still mistrust the mountains. They demand a more stable tense.

Let's forget mountains for now. What do you think of this unvarnished sentence, even with the main clause in passive voice?

"Because the weather have chased the clouds away and embraced with sunshine, cars have been washed and clothes have been aired."

Hoa Thai

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