Complex Predicates: Cross-linguistic Perspectives on Event Structure

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Complex predicates are multi-predicational, but monoclausal structures. They have proven problematic for linguistic theory, particularly for proposed distinctions between the lexicon, morphology, and syntax. This volume focuses on the mapping from morphosyntactic structures to event structure, and, in particular, the constraints on possible mappings. The volume showcases the 'coverb construction', a complex predicate construction which, though widespread, has received little attention in the literature. The coverb construction contrasts with more familiar serial verb constructions. The coverb construction generally maps only to event structures such as those of monomorphemic verbs, whereas serial verb constructions map to a range of event structures differing from those of monomorphemic verbs. The volume coverage is truly cross-linguistic, including languages from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, East Africa, and North America. The volume establishes a new arena of research in event structure, syntax, and cross-linguistic typology.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521886673
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 5/31/2010
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Mengistu Amberber is a senior lecturer in Linguistics at the University of New South Wales (Sydney, Australia). He is the co-editor (with P. Collins) of Language Universals and Variation (2002), and (with H. de Hoop) Competition and Variation in Natural Languages: The Case for Case (2005), and the editor of The Language of Memory in a Cross-Linguistic Perspective (2007).

Brett Baker is a senior lecturer in Linguistics at the University of New England (Armidale, Australia). He is the author of Word Structure in Ngalakgan (2008), and the co-editor (with Ilana Mushin) of Discourse and Grammar in Australian Languages (2008).

Mark Harvey is a senior lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Newcastle (Australia). His previous publications include Proto Mirndi: A Discontinous Language Family in Northern Australia (2008), A Grammar of Gaagudju, A Language of the Alligator Rivers Region, Northern Territory (2002) and A Grammar of Limilngan: A Language of the Mary River Region, Northern Territory (2001).

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Table of Contents

List of figures and tables

1 Introduction: complex predicates Mengistu Amberber Amberber, Mengistu Brett Baker Baker, Brett Mark Harvey Harvey, Mark 1

2 Complex predicate formation Brett Baker Baker, Brett Mark Harvey Harvey, Mark 13

3 The light verb jungle: still hacking away Miriam Butt Butt, Miriam 48

4 Events and serial verb constructions William A. Foley Foley, William A. 79

5 Cotemporal serial verb constructions in White Hmong Nerida Jarkey Jarkey, Nerida 110

6 Activity incorporates in some Athabaskan languages Keren Rice Rice, Keren 135

7 Warlpiri verbs of change and causation: the thematic core Mary Laughren Laughren, Mary 167

8 Complex predicates in Wambaya: detaching predicate composition from syntactic structure Rachel Nordlinger Nordlinger, Rachel 237

9 Compound verbs and ideophones in Wolaitta revisited Azeb Amha Amha, Azeb 259

10 The structure of the light verb construction in Amharic Mengistu Amberber Amberber, Mengistu 291

Index 319

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