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Abstract

Abstract

Clause chains are sequences of clauses with under-specified verbal predicates, plus a single clause with a fully-specified verbal predicate. Clause chains represent the morpho-syntactic demarcation of a speech unit greater than a single clause, but the precise length of this unit is rarely assessed. Clause chain length, distribution, bridging linkage, and non-canonical forms are evaluated in a sample of 64 texts, containing over 1742 clause chains, in the Papuan language Nungon. In the 49 narrative texts, unlike in other genres, total clause chains per text increases as text duration increases. The average clause chain in the sample is 3–4 clauses long; the longest has 22 clauses. Average clause chain length decreases as text length increases. The longest narrative texts have similar average clause chain length, proportion of bridging clauses, and proportion of non-canonical clause chains, and feature a leisurely rhythm: half of their clause chains are minimal, two-clause chains.

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2021-05-21
2021-12-03
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: Nungon ; text ; quantification ; non-canonical ; Papuan ; bridging ; complex sentence ; clause chain ; narrative
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