Quantifying clause chains in Nungon texts
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.
Keywords: clause chain, Nungon, Papuan, narrative, text, quantification, complex sentence, bridging, non-canonical
- 2.Nungon clause chaining
- 4.1Individual text chain patterns
- 4.2Number of clause chains per text
- 4.3Average chain length
- 4.4Final verb to medial verb ratio
- 4.5Bridging linkage
- 4.6Non-canonical clause chains
- 5.1Clause chain distribution and text genre
- 5.2Clause chain length and distribution in narrative texts
Published online: 21 May 2021
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