Serial verbs

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2018) Serial verbs. Oxford Bibliographies.

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Abstract

Serial verb constructions, or serial verbs, are sequences of verbs without any overt marker of coordination, subordination, or syntactic dependency of any sort. Serial verbs are monoclausal constructions describing what is conceptualized as a single event. They share prosodic properties with monoverbal constructions. A serial verb has one tense, aspect, mood, modality, and evidentiality value, that is, for example, one component cannot refer to past and another to present. Its components cannot be negated or questioned separately from the whole construction. Each component must be able to occur on its own, as the main verb of a clause. Prototypical serial verb constructions tend to share the subject and other core arguments. Serial verbs are a powerful means for a detailed portrayal of various facets of one single event. They often express grammatical meanings, including aspect and directionality, especially in languages where little inflection is available. A serial verb cannot be felicitously rephrased with a sequence of clauses. In terms of their composition, serial verbs divide into symmetrical and asymmetrical types. Symmetrical serial verb constructions consist of two or more verbs chosen from semantically and grammatically unrestricted verb classes. Their semantics covers sequences of sub-actions or concomitant actions related to each other; the order of components tends to be iconic. Symmetrical serial verbs tend to become lexicalized. Asymmetrical constructions include a "major" verb from an unrestricted class and a "minor" verb from a restricted verb class. They may express various grammatical categories, such as direction, orientation, aspect, change of state, adding an argument, and increasing valency. The order of components does not have to be iconic. The minor component tends to grammaticalize into an exponent of aspect or modality, directionality, etc. Then the erstwhile serial verb will lose its status as such. Grammatical categories of person-number, aspect, tense, modality, evidentiality, etc., may be marked just once per serial construction (single marking). Alternatively, they can be marked on each component (concordant marking). Further parameters for the classification of serial verbs include contiguity of components and wordhood of the construction. The components of some types of serial verbs may have to be strictly contiguous. Alternatively, other constituents may intervene between them. Some serial verbs may form one grammatical word, others will consist of several grammatical words. Verb compounding differs from single-word serialization: verbal compounds are nonproductive one-word verb-verb combinations whose meaning is only partly predictable, while serial verbs are a productive device with an array of meanings.

Item ID: 55972
Item Type: Article (Scholarly Work)
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.
Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2019 01:12
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 100%
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