Volume 39, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Clause chaining in Papuan languages is a keystone of the literature on switch-reference (Haiman & Munro 1983, Stirling 1993). Canonically, a clause chain is considered to comprise one or more ‘medial’ clauses, followed by a single ‘final’ clause. In Nungon and other Papuan languages, canonical clause chains coexist with non-canonical clause chains, which either feature medial clauses postposed after the final clause, or lack a final clause altogether. I examine the functions of non-canonical medial clauses in Nungon and other Papuan languages in a first attempt at a typology of these uses, given scanty data. Non-canonical medial clauses are argued to represent canny use of the features of clause chains and switch-reference systems to convey meaning efficiently. The exposition also solves an outstanding puzzle of the Amele switch-reference system (Roberts 1988, Stirling 1993).


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): clause chains; desubordination; insubordination; medial verbs; Papuan languages
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