Edited by Lars Hellan--Lars Hellan 10:52, 24 March 2010 (UTC)
This page is an attempt at classifying cross-linguistically a variety of types falling under the categories 'multiverb constructions' (MVC) and 'complex predicates' (CP).
NB: The page is very much under construction, and multiple references to other pages will be added soon, from some of which many of the TC examples below are taken.
Multi-event serial constructions
(1) from Bangla (Bengali):
আমি বাড়ি গিয়ে ভাত খেয়ে ঘুমাবো
“I will go home, eat rice and sleep”
(2) from Akan:
Ama tɔɔ adanko dwaree no yεnn no
“Ama bought a rabbit, bathed it (and) reared it”
(3) from Kistaninya (Kistane):
kas:a təkətəmay;ən aləfəm ləb:aš wajjəm ət’t’aw.
“Kassa went to the town, bought cloth and come back”
| ||town|| |
They have in common the expression of temporally successive events, patterns of argument and tense/aspect sharing, and lack of coordinating items, which is held as typical of 'serial verb' constructions. But they also differ in some respects:
In Bangla and Kistaninya, the last verb in the series has a different form than the preceding verbs, whereas in Akan they all have the same form. Although Bangla and Kistaninya have in common being 'verb last' languages, so that the last verb may be counted as being head of the constructions in question, and in Akan it is perhaps V1 which is head, that factor does not explain the difference in form between head and non-heads. Thus, we have to recognize the distinguishing factor I.1 below.
On the other hand, in Bangla only the last verb has a finite form, while the others are in an aspectually completive form. In contrast, in Kistaninya, all the verbs are finite; in this respect they are like in Akan, except for the special added suffix in all the non-final verbs. This has to be counted as a distinguishing factor I.2:
I.1. In the Akan example all verbs are in the same morphological form, whereas in the Bangla and Kistaninya examples, the non-final verbs share a formative absent in the last verb.
I.2. In the Akan and Kistaninya examples, all verbs are finite, whereas in the Bangla example, only the last verb is finite.
Single-event serial constructions
A different group of serial constructions is the one where the verbs - typically just two - describe different aspects of one and the same situation: typically a 'main' verb, and then a VP which, in the total setting, expresses an instrument, or a beneficiary, or a few other options. An example of this type from Bangla, with an instrumental, is given in (4), and from Akan, with a beneficiary, in (5):
আমি ছুরি দিয়ে আপেল কাটবো
“I will cut the apple with a knife”
Ama tɔɔ nhoma maa ne nua
“Ama bought a cloth for her sibling”
As is clear, the formal patterns in these examples are like those observed in (1) and (2).
Thus, irrespective of whether temporally consecutive vs. not, a significant portion of the MVCs in the languages considered pattern according to the distinctions entered as I.1 and I.2.
Pole and Vector verbs - VVconstructions
Shifting to a possibly different type, consider (6):
আমি পড়ে গেলাম
“I fell down”
One traditionally calls the first verb here the POLE verb and the other verb the VECTOR verb, where the pole verb can be any transitive or intransitive verb, and the vector verb is one from a set of 15-20 verbs, in this connection determining aspect or orientation. Thus, also these constructions determine a single event, like the type instantiated in (4), and the 'role'-indicating function of the first verbs in (4) and (5) is not too unlike the 'vector' verb in function. The formal pattern in (6) conforms to the pattern already seen above for Bangla MVCs, the first verb being in a completive form, the second being finite. What still sets this type apart from the type in (4) is the restricted set of last verbs, and perhaps the circumstance that the 'vector'-like verbs in (4) and (5) come before the 'main' verb, whereas in (6), the vector verb is last. For short, we will refer to constructions like the one in (6) as VV-constructions, those in (4) and (5) as single-event serial constructions - SE-SV - and those in (1)-(3) as multi-event serial constructions - ME-SV. Cross-cutting this classification are the factors mentioned in I.1 and I.2.
Verbid constructions, Extended verb complexes
With this as a point of departure, we now look into further types of MVCs. Two types are found in Ga: verbid constructions and extended verb complexes, exemplified in (7) and (8) below, in turn.
(7) Ga 'verbid' construction:
Etale tsuɔ tamɔ la
“Her dress is as red as blood”
The second verb is here the so-called 'verbid'. Unlike serial constructions, in this type of construction the verbs need not agree in tense/aspect , and the verbid has logically the whole event expressed by the previous verb as its subject; hence there also is no argument sharing in this construction, and the VPs do not express consecutive events.
(8) Ga 'extended verb complex':
ò -̀kɛ́ - ká -bà -hã́
2SG -MOVE.SBJV -PROHIB.SBJV -INGR -give
`you should not come give (it)'
This example is by phonological criteria one word, and is commonly written as one word as indicated; however, apart from the 'main' verb hã́, the items kɛ, ká and bà are distinguishable as individual words, partly able to occur alone, and so the complex can be analyzed as having a syntactic structure. This structure very much resembles that of an SVC, with argument and aspect sharing, however the array of verbs that can precede the main verb is limited to 4, in a strict order, and the construction in this respect has a similarity to the VV construction.
Whether the examples now adduced are representative as 'cardinal' construction types in the domain MVCs, or, on a further look, will be partly marginal examples, remains to see. On a separate pagePAGE1, we will develop various subtypes of the types now identified (including directional SVCs under SE-SV), and on another pagePAGE2, discuss construction types here not classified as MVCs, such as 'covert coordination' on the one hand, and 'auxiliary', 'equi-' and 'raising-' and some other apparent 'V V ...' constructions on the other.
Complex Predicate constructions
We now turn to so-called Complex Predicate constructions (CPs). Some of the constructions already mentioned might be classified as such (like the VV and EVC-constructions), but here we focus first on single-verb CPs. One main type of these involve a main verb and a secondary predicate, with a meaning of causation or communication or perception. Causative constructions divide into those where the main verb is one of explicit causation, like in (9) below, and those where the causation is expressed without any lexical causative, as in (10) below:
(9) Norwegian; secondary predicate with explicit causative:
hun gjør meg i god form
“she makes me in good shape”
(10) Norwegian; secondary predicate without lexical causative:
han sang rommet tomt
“he sang the room empty”
The non-causative version is exemplified in (11), in (a) with an adjectival predicate and in (b) with a verbal predicate (in the latter case producing a multiple verb construction, whose possible MVC membership will be commented on on the other pagePAGE2 mentioned:
gutten virker syk
“the boy seems sick”
jeg ser ham ligge
“I see him lying”
These secondary predicate types are widely used across languages, with a variety of subtypes, laid out on PAGE3.
An even more frequent CP constellation is that of V + N. There are at least three clearly distinct cases:
A. 'Light verb' + N, like in do work: here the N is typically a deverbal noun, and the verb a verb indicating committing or doing of an event. (12) is an example:
(12) Bangla; 'light verb' + deverbal noun:
আমি তোমার জন্য অপেক্ষা করব
“I will wait for you”
B. A combination of verb and noun with a fixed or idiomatic meaning, so that the whole sequence should be logically represented as a unary predicate. (13) is an example:
(13) Bangla; fixed/idiomatic combination:
আমার মাথা ধরেছে
“I have a headache”
C. A verb with a somewhat underspecified meaning, combined with a noun which in a systematic way induces a specification (called 'inherent complement verb'). (14) is an example:
(14) Ga; verb + 'unifying' object: