Uniformity, variability and diversity in the syntax of serial verb constructions
Coordinator: Jakob Maché (Universidade de Lisboa)
As shown by Dimmendaal (2002: 382–387), serial verb constructions (SVCs) are an essential syntactic characteristic a couple of West-African sub-branches in the Volta-Congo branch. Apart from the well studied Kwa and prominent Western Benue-Congo, SVC are also attested in Ijoid (cf. Carstens 2002), Gur (cf. Lord 1993: 128–129 for Kuusal and Dagbani, Hiraiwa and Bodomo 2008 for Dàgáárè) and Senufo (cf. Lord 1993). However, the most recent insights onWest-African SVCs were gained from data from Kwa such as Shluinsky’s (2017) classification into take-SVCs and give-SVCs which account for the majority of SVCs in Kwa, or Putten (2017) findings on expression of manner and path in motion or Beermann and Hellan’s (2018) analysis. The research on SVCs in Western Benue Kwa is to a large extent based on data from Defoid, Apke-Edoid and Igboid (cf. Stahlke 1970, Lord 1993, Déchaine 1993, Ogie 2009, Schaefer and Egbokhare 2010; 2017).
This panel invites contributions that are dedicated to one of the research questions especiallybut not only from Gur, Ijoid, Senufo and lesser studied branches of Benue-Congo such as Delta-Cross (cf. Ikoro 1996 for Kana, Efik). Analyses from any theoretical framework are warmly welcome (CxG, cognitivism, minimalism, constraint based approaches, quantitative corpus linguistics).
- Which syntactic properties of SVCs can be identified which hold across all these language families (eg. unified tense, aspect, mood polarity value, reference to single event, no markers of syntactic dependency, obligatory argument sharing) ? Which properties are inclined to vary crosslinguistically?
- Which syntactic types of SVCs can be distinguished (take-SVCs, give-SVCs, resultative SVCs, comparative SVCs, manner SVCs)? Which syntactic diagnostics are helpful to justify this classification (eg. focus clefting, scope of negation, case of pronouns, question formation, compatible verb classes)?
- Can the recent findings on Kwa SVCs be extended to other languages as well? Does Shluinsky’s (2017) syntactic taxonomy of take-SVCs and give-SVCs also apply to languages outside Kwa?
- Are there any properties which are particular to West-African SVCs and which cannot be found in other language families such as Sino-Tibetean or Austronesian?
- How can SVCs be distinguished from other constructions (cf. ten generalisations by Haspelmath 2016, four parameters by Aikhenvald 2006, single event constructions Durie 1997, Bisang 2009)?
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