Article published in:Syntactic Complexity: Diachrony, acquisition, neuro-cognition, evolution
Edited by T. Givón and Masayoshi Shibatani
[Typological Studies in Language 85] 2009
► pp. 81–118
Multiple routes to clause union
The diachrony of complex verb phrases
This paper investigates the diachronic pathways that lead to the rise of complex predications. It suggests that the great variety of complex predicate constructions can be traced back to two major pathways. Both pathways begin their life as paratactic verb-complement constructions (complex VPs) under separate intonation contours. Both then condense into syntactic V-complement construction under a single intonation contour. In the first type, the complement clause begins as chained (conjoined) to the main clause, and the chain then condensed into a serial verb construction. In the second type, a finite main clause and a non-finite (nominalized) object clause undergo a similar condensation. Both types can then go on to create morphologically complex lexical verbs. Both thus share the general diachronic trend of parataxis-to-syntaxis to lexis, albeit with somewhat different synchronic properties of both the syntactic and lexical product.
Published online: 22 April 2009
Cited by other publications
Anderson, Gregory D. S.
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