Crosslinguistic Studies of Clause Combining: The Multifunctionality of Conjunctions

The study of clause combining has been advanced lately by increasing interest in the study of actual language use in a typologically diverse set of languages. A number of received understandings have been challenged, among these the idea of clause combinations as being divisible into subordination and coordination in a binary fashion. Connected to this idea is the nature of conjunctions, a topic treated in several articles here. Couched within the larger issue of the nature of categoriality in language, several of the papers show that conjunctions are highly polyfunctional items, and that clause combining is only one of the uses to which speakers put them. Other topics treated in the volume are the historical development of conjunctions and the use of formulaic main clause constructions as projective units in conversation. The articles manifest both typological and theoretical breadth. They are based on data from Bulgarian, English, Estonian, Finnish, Indonesian, Japanese, and Spanish. The theoretical approaches include discourse-functional, interactional, historical and generative linguistics.