Edited by Tsuyoshi Ono, Ritva Laury and Ryoko Suzuki
[Studies in Language 43:2] 2019
► pp. 402–443
Descriptions of Indonesian usually take the clause as the starting point for analysing grammatical structure and rely on the notion of ellipsis to account for the way speakers actually use language in everyday conversational interaction. This study challenges the status of “clause” by investigating the structures actually used by Indonesian speakers in informal conversation and it demonstrates that the predicate, rather than the clause, plays a central role in the grammar of Indonesian conversation. The preponderance of predicates in the data that do not have explicit arguments suggests that this format is best viewed as the default. When a predicate is produced without overt arguments, reconstructing what arguments may have been elided is often ambiguous or indeterminate and seems to be irrelevant to speakers. An examination of turn-taking, overlap and incrementing in conversation also shows that predicates, rather than full clauses, are the grammatical format participants regularly orient to.
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