The macro-event property and the layered structure of the clause
We ask whether there is a “macro-event phrase,” a uniform level of syntax at which complex scenarios may be
described as single events under the Macro-Event Property (MEP). The MEP is a form-meaning mapping property that constrains the
compatibility of event descriptions with time-positional modifiers. An examination of English infinitival complements, Ewe serial verb
constructions, and Japanese converb constructions suggests that the putative crosslinguistic “macro-event phrase” is the verbal core of the
Layered Structure of the Clause theory of Role and Reference Grammar. Across languages, simple cores necessarily have the MEP, whereas
complex cores have it if and only if they are integrated by ‘cosubordinate’ nexus, defined as a symmetric union of two cores that together
behave like a single core. We furthermore argue that this connection between core cosubordinations and the MEP may help explain why
cosubordinate cores seem to always share an argument through control.
Keywords: event representation, macro-event property, verbal core, layered structure of the clause, role and reference grammar, control, juncture, nexus, cosubordination, Ewe, Japanese, English, converb constructions, serial verb constructions, infinitival complements
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