The tapestry of Dolakha Newar: Chaining, embedding, and the complexity of sentences

Carol Genetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In Dolakha Newar the boundaries of syntactic sentences are clearly demarcated. However, each tightly-bounded sentence has the potential for infinite expansion and structural complexity. This results from the recursive interaction of two basic combinatorial structures: chaining and embedding. While these structures are basic to many of the world's languages, in Dolakha Newar speakers combine them freely and frequently to spontaneously create sentences of remarkable intricacy. Additional structural nuance is provided by the chaining of constituents at levels below the clause and the sharing of core arguments. The result is a syntactic fabric of depth and complexity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-24
Number of pages20
JournalLinguistic Typology
Volume15
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2011

Keywords

  • clause chaining
  • clause combining
  • converb
  • discourse structure
  • Newar
  • recursion
  • speech reporting
  • syntactic complexity
  • syntax
  • Tibeto-Burman

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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