Limitations of Subordination and Nested Clauses

I’m an English teacher who often has to grapple with explaining to students the complexity of clause structure in English, and after reading an article about various ‘longest sentences’ in fiction, I got to wondering if anyone has ever done any research into the cognitive limitations or constraints on the amount of nesting an average reader can understand.
That’s the basic question: is there any research on what our nested clause comprehension limits are?

But there are loads of related questions that might be relevant here, too, like:
How many embedded clauses can you insert in a main clause before the latter element ceases to make sense?
Is there a fixed limit on the amount of nesting we can follow?
How different are English speakers in their ability to track meaning across clauses?


Susumu Kuno has reported on this in a number of works. Here are a few references in McCawley’s excellent text on the linguistic analysis of English.

Source : Link , Question Author : tardy pigeon , Answer Author : Greg Lee

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