1932

Abstract

In a serial verb construction (SVC), two or more verbs combine in a single clause without any morphosyntactic marking of linking or subordination. However, the way in which different linguists interpret and diagnose this description is a continual source of controversy. There are different assumptions about the nature of verbhood and clausehood as well as disagreements over how to interpret morphosyntactic marking in particular languages. Despite the fuzzy nature of the category, SVCs are often found to have similar functions in many languages—for example, to express closely linked sequences of events; to indicate directional and prior motion; to show concurrent aspects of a single event, such as posture, alongside another activity; and to express particular semantic roles or aspectual meaning. The morphosyntactic complexity and diversity found in SVCs continue to challenge conceptions of the clause that are assumed in both generative and comparative approaches to syntax.

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2021-01-04
2024-06-18
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