Vol. 32:2 (2008) ► pp.279–335
Complex predicates and bipartite stems in Skou
I examine a range of complex predicates, searching for ones that might be called ‘bipartite stems’ in Skou, a language of New Guinea. First I draw a tentative distinction between serial verb constructions and N+V predicates on the one hand, and ‘true’ bipartite stems on the other, while pointing out some complications involved in making this division. Following this I examine the range of stems that can possibly be called ‘bipartite stems’, and those that certainly can be, concluding that the label is not a useful one in describing Skou, which shows more complexities than a simple ‘±bipartite’ dichotomy can capture. A survey of ‘bipartite’ phenomena in related and geographically close languages follows, with the conclusion that prosodic factors at least as much as morphological ones, and the possibility of an infixal analysis, rob the label ‘bipartite’ of much of its useful content when applied outside the domain for which it was originally devised.
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