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SIL Electronic Working Papers 2010-001

Exploring clause chaining

Author  Dooley, Robert A.

Certain languages make extensive use of clause chaining, which is here characterized by the possibility of long sequences of foreground clauses with operator dependence. Foreground clauses have certain predictable features, including free assertion and properties which comprise "quasi-coordination". Background clauses generally have different properties: they are restricted to short sequences and are commonly either clause-internal modification (within the scope of the independent clause's illocutionary force and negation) or clause-external modification (outside that scope). The foreground-background distinction is a key dimension in the analysis and interpretation of chaining. It is signalled at times by clause-internal morphosyntax but often by other means, such as external distribution, intonation, and the distinction between assertion and presupposition. The semantic relation between chained clauses tends not to be signalled specifically, but is commonly inferred in temporal and causal senses. Clause chaining can give rise to difficulties in translation.

  Exploring clause chaining
Published  2010
Subjects  Role and Reference Grammar
Subordination (grammatical)
Switch reference
Keywords  clause chaining; foreground-background; operator dependence; subordination; quasi-coordination; event grouping; switch reference; Role and Reference Grammar; Switch reference; Subordination (grammatical)