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>From: Tim May <[log in to unmask]>
>
>  > > How about this for a suggestion: a language that doesn't clearly
>  > > have the categories "word", "phrase", "sentence". Instead it has
>  > > other levels of grammatical scale and structure,
>  >
>  > I was just reading about this the other day.  I think it was in the
>  > book "Language Typology and Syntactic Description: Volume 2,
>  > Complex Constructions", which I bought a few years ago after it was
>  > (yes) recommended on this list :) Anyway, whichever book it was, I
>  > was reading a section on chaining languages.  They specifically
>  > mentioned that some of these languages seemed to have nothing
>  > corresponding to a sentence; rather, they naturally organized into
>  > simple clauses and paragraph-length chains of clauses.
>  >
>As an example of this kind of thing (I think) here's a little story in
>Classical Tibetan, with interlinear, which I found on Scott DeLancey's
>website.
>
>http://www.uoregon.edu/~delancey/sb/BOYBIRD.HTM

Fascinating. I would categorise this as extreme concatenation, or
co-ordination (as in co-ordinate conjunctions and clauses). It is just about
possible to imagine some of those sentences as one sentence in English, if
you put a few semi-colons in. I wonder however how common this sort of
construction was in Classical Tibetan in ordinary speech. That piece was a
story, and so can be stylised into an unusual syntax perhaps. One barrier to
endless concatenation of clauses is that your memory runs out and your chain
of thought does not connect so well as to be able to continue in that
fashion.

Regarding my original idea... More what I had in mind is breaking down words
into morphemes, and simultaneously expanding words into hyphenated phrases.
Then there would be another level of phrasing which would be something very
specific within a 'clause' if there was such a thing, and clauses would be
very restricted within sentences. One way to make it unusual would be to ban
co-ordinate clauses - you would have to start a new sentence.

Mat


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