Cumuleme in writing is regularly expressed by a paragraph, but the two units are not wholly identical.

In the first place, the paragraph is a stretch of written or typed literary text delimited by a new (indented) line at the beginning and an incomplete line at the close. As different from this, the cumuleme, as we have just seen, is essentially a feature of all the varieties of speech, both oral and written, both literary and colloquial.

In the second place, the paragraph is a polyfunctional unit of written speech and as such is used not only for the written representation of a cumuleme, but also for the introduction of utterances of a dialogue (dividing an occurseme into parts), as well as for the introduction of separate points in various enumerations.

In the third place, the paragraph in a monologue speech can contain more than one cumuleme. For instance, the following paragraph is divided into three parts, the first formed by a separate sentence, the second and third ones presenting cumulemes. For the sake of clarity, we mark the borders between the parts by double slash:

When he had left the house Victorina stood quite still, with hands pressed against her chest. // She had slept less than he. Still as a mouse, she had turned the thought: “Did I take him in? Did I?” And if not — what? // She took out the notes which had bought — or sold — their happiness, and counted them once more. And the sense of injustice burned within her (J. Galsworthy).

The shown division is sustained by the succession of the forms of the verbs, namely, the past indefinite and past perfect, precisely marking out the events described.

In the fourth place, the paragraph in a monologue speech can contain only one sentence. The regular function of the one-sentence paragraph is expressive emphasis. E.g.:

The fascists may spread over the land, blasting their way with weight of metal brought from other countries. They may advance aided by traitors and by cowards. They may destroy cities and villages and try to hold the people in slavery. But you cannot hold any people in slavery.

The Spanish people will rise again as they have always risen before against tyranny (E. Hemingway).

In the cited passage the sentence-paragraph marks a transition from the general to the particular, and by its very isolation in the text expressively stresses the author’s belief in the invincible will of the Spanish people who are certain to smash their fascist oppressors in the long run.

On the other hand, the cumuleme cannot be prolonged beyond the limits of the paragraph, since the paragraphal border-marks are the same as those of the cumuleme, i.e. a characteristic finalising tone, a pause of two and a half moras. Besides, we must bear in mind that both multicumuleme paragraphs and one-sentence paragraphs are more or less occasional features of the monologue text. Thus, we return to our initial thesis that the paragraph, although it is a literary-compositional, not a purely syntactic unit of the text, still as a rule presents a cumuleme; the two units, if not identical, are closely correlative.

The introduction of the notion of cumuleme in linguistics helps specify and explain the two peculiar and rather important border-line phenomena between the sentence and the sentential sequence.

The first of these is known under the heading of “parcellation”. The parcellated construction (“parcellatum”) presents two or more collocations (“parcellas”) separated by a sentence-tone but related to one another as parts of one and the same sentence. In writing the parts, i.e., respectively, the “leading parcella” and “sequential parcella”, are delimited by a full stop (finality mark). E.g.:

There was a sort of community pride attached to it now. Or shame at its unavoidability (E.Stephens). Why be so insistent, Jim? If he doesn’t want to tell you (J. O’Hara). …I realized I didn’t feel one way or another about him. Then. I do now (J. O’Hara).

Having recourse to the idea of transposition, we see that the parcellated construction is produced as a result of transposing a sentence into a cumuleme. This kind of transposition adds topical significance to the sequential parcella. The emphasising function of parcellation is well exposed by the transformation of de-transposition. This transformation clearly deprives the sequential parcella of its position of topical significance, changing it into an ordinary sentence-part. Cf.:

… → There was a sort of community pride attached to it now or shame at its unavoidability. ...→ Why be so insistent, Jim, if he doesn’t want to tell you? … → I didn’t feel one way or another about him then.

With some authors parcellation as the transposition of a sentence into a cumuleme can take the form of forced paragraph division, i.e. the change of a sentence into a supra-cumuleme. E.g.:

… It was she who seemed adolescent and overly concerned, while he sat there smiling fondly at her, quite self-possessed, even self-assured, and adult.

And naked. His nakedness became more intrusive by the second, until she half arose and said with urgency, “You have to go and right now, young man” (E. Stephens).

The second of the border-line phenomena in question is the opposite of parcellation, it consists in forcing two different sentences into one, i.e. in transposing a cumuleme into a sentence. The cumuleme-sentence construction is characteristic of uncareful and familiar speech; in a literary text it is used for the sake of giving a vivid verbal characteristic to a personage. E.g.:

I’m not going to disturb her and that’s flat, miss (A. Christie). The air-hostess came down the aisle then to warn passengers they were about to land and please would everyone fasten their safety belts (B. Hedworth).

The transposition of a cumuleme into a sentence occurs also in literary passages dealing with reasoning and mental perceptions. E.g.:

If there were moments when Soames felt cordial, they were such as these. He had nothing against the young man; indeed, he rather liked the look of him; but to see the last of almost anybody was in a sense a relief; besides, there was this question of what he had overheard, and to have him about the place without knowing would be a continual temptation to compromise with one’s dignity and ask him what it was (J. Galsworthy).

As is seen from the example, one of the means of transposing a cumuleme into a sentence in literary speech is the use of half-finality punctuation marks (here, a semicolon).

Text formation

Neither cumulemes, nor paragraphs form the upper limit of textual units of speech. Paragraphs are connected within the framework of larger elements of texts making up different paragraph groupings. Thus, above the process of cumulation as syntactic connection of separate sentences, supra-cumulation should be discriminated as connection of cumulemes and paragraphs into larger textual unities of the correspondingly higher subtopical status. Cf.:

… That first slip with my surname was just like him; and afterwards, particularly when he was annoyed, apprehensive, or guilty because of me, he frequently called me Ellis.

So, in the smell of Getliffe’s tobacco, I listened to him as he produced case after case, sometimes incomprehensibly, because of his allusive slang, often inaccurately. He loved the law (C. P. Snow).

In the given example, the sentence beginning the second paragraph is cumulated (i.e. supra-cumulated) to the previous paragraph, thus making the two of them into a paragraph grouping.

Moreover, even larger stretches of text than primary paragraph groupings can be supra-cumulated to one another in the syntactic sense, such as chapters and other compositional divisions. For instance, compare the end of Chapter XXIII and the beginning of Chapter XXIV of J. Galsworthy’s “Over the River”:

… She went back to Condaford with her father by the morning train, repeating to her Aunt the formula: “I’m not going to be ill.”

But she was ill, and for a month in her conventional room at Condaford often wished she were dead and done with. She might, indeed, quite easily have died…

Can, however, these phenomena signify that the sentence is simply a sub-unit in language system, and that “real” informative-syntactic elements of this system are not sentences, but various types of cumulemes or supra-cumulemes? — In no wise.


The grammar of a language is an analysis of the various functions performed by the words of the language, as they are used by native speakers and writers.

There are many different ways of analyzing a language. In such an analysis, words can be given various names, depending on the function which they perform. For instance, words which perform the function of naming things are commonly referred to as nouns, and words which perform the function of expressing states or actions are commonly referred to as verbs.

Supra-sentential connections cannot be demonstrative of the would-be “secondary”, “sub-level” role of the sentence as an element of syntax by the mere fact that all the cumulative and occursive relations in speech, as we have seen from the above analysis, are effected by no other unit than the sentence, and by no other structure than the inner structure of the sentence; the sentence remains the central structural-syntactic element in all the formations of topical significance. Thus, even in the course of a detailed study of various types of supra-sentential constructions, the linguist comes to the confirmation of the classical truth that the two basic units of language are the word and the sentence: the word as a unit of nomination, the sentence as a unit of predication. And it is through combining different sentence-predications that topical reflections of reality are achieved in all the numerous forms of lingual intercourse.

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