The syntax of intonation units in Sasak
In this paper I examine the syntactic nature of intonation units in Sasak, and compare the distribution of syntactic types with previously published work on other languages, in particular Mandarin, and to a lesser extent, Japanese. Sasak and Mandarin prove to have very similar frequencies of clausal IUs, but Sasak has far more complete clauses than Mandarin, which prefers elliptical clauses. Nominal IUs in the Sasak data are far more likely to be independent than in Japanese or Mandarin conversational data, and fulfill very different functions than those found in studies of Mandarin. I argue that cross-linguistic differences in the relative frequencies of different types of syntactic constituents are best explained partly in terms of the syntactic resources available in a given language, and partly in terms of cultural variation in conversational practice. Differences in the relative frequencies of various functions of nominal IUs, however, may relate more to genre than to language, but the limited corpora used in studies to date make this difficult to determine.
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