Linguistics: Quantifying clause chains: Genreconnected syntax in Nungon
Quantifying clause chains: Genre-connected syntax in Nungon
Hannah Sarvasy, Western Sydney University
One of the ways that clause chains differ from English sentences is their potential number of coordinated clauses: over 100 clauses in a single chain are attested. But there has been no systematic study of clause chain length in a small corpus for any clause chaining language. While clause chaining has been claimed to relate to discourse genre in some Papuan languages, this has never been quantified. Chain lengths and genre-based distributions are evaluated here in a sample of 64 texts, containing over 1742 clause chains, in the Papuan language Nungon. Bridging linkage between chains and non-canonical chains, which lack a finite final clause, were also counted. In Nungon, average chains are short, with even the longest chain in the sample reaching only 22 clauses. Distribution of clause chains in non-narrative genres differs from that in narratives. Differences between longer and shorter narratives also point to self-paced storytelling.
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