Lessons of variability in clause coordination

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This paper analyzes syntactic constructions of semantically coordinated clauses in 23 Daghestanian languages. The abundance of surface coding techniques calls for a principled explanation of basic grammatical and cognitive mechanisms underlying this variability and restricting it to attested patterns. The analysis is based on the hypothesis that there exists a multifactorial mechanism of mapping cognitively adjacent events that occur either sequentially or simultaneously and usually share participants in syntactically subordinating clause chaining exploiting anaphoric dependencies. Two types of factors are claimed to constitute the basis of this multifactorial mechanism: (1) strategies that are local factors determining the formation of a given type of construction, and (2) principles that relate to the basic syntactic options in a language. These determine a wide range of components of linguistic structure, especially the choice of specific strategies for forming various constructions. Instead of traditional taxonomic methods for classifying attested constructions, I propose a multifactorial second-order calculus, which operates on cognitive objects or factors that are responsible for the formation of specific constructions.


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