Connection and emotion: Extensive clause combining in contemporary Japanese fiction

Satoko Suzuki

Abstract

This paper looks at the phenomenon of extensive clause combining in written Japanese discourse. Extensive clause combining, in which multiple clauses are combined to make an extremely long sentence, is usually associated with spoken discourse. However, some contemporary writers use it in their writing along with other features of spoken language. By examining novels targeting young adult readers, I observe that writers are using sentences with extensively combined clauses to describe a lengthy process in which each step is closely connected to another. Interconnectedness is expressed iconically with chained clauses. Writers may also use sentences with extensively combined clauses to convey heightened emotion. Successive chaining of clauses is appropriate for presenting continuous thoughts/emotions appearing in an unorganized manner.

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