Historical Change in Serial Verb Constructions by Carol Lord

By Carol Lord

This paintings examines either ancient and comparative proof in documenting the sweep of diachronic switch within the context of serial verb structures. utilizing quite a lot of facts from languages of West Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, it demonstrates how shifts in that means and utilization lead to syntactic, morphological and lexical switch. the method during which verbs lose lexical semantic content material and enhance case-marking features is defined; it truly is argued that the swap is directional, from verb to preposition (or postposition) to hitch, alongside a grammaticalization continuum. This related grammaticalization procedure is proven to bring about the improvement of complementizers, adverbial subordinators, conjunctions, adverbs and auxiliaries from verbs. robust parallels throughout languages are present in the meanings of the verbs that develop into “defective” and within the features they arrive to mark. The alterations are documented intimately, with examples from a few languages illustrating the influence of the alterations on typology and observe order, implications for the encoding of definiteness and point, and the relevance of notions akin to discourse subject, foreground and transitivity. With admire to theoretical assumptions and terminology, the writer has taken a comparatively nonpartisan technique, and the dialogue is available to scholars of language in addition to of curiosity to theoreticians.

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Ts,fa) is in the subjunctive, as is the case in regular verb sequences in imperatives. (d) When a third person singular inanimate object of ke is pronominalized, it is realized as zero, as is the usual pattern with verbs. Trutenau (1973) argues for an analysis of kέ as a verb, and Zimmermann (1858) and Dakubu (1970) call it an auxiliary verb. But kέ has distributional and morpho-phonological properties that distinguish it from regular verbs: (a) ke does not occur without another verb in the sentence.

Fi, and mu, the instrumental verb fi, or the locative verb si. For example, (38) can be paraphrased as (48) (Awobuluyi 1978:119). ' SERIAL VERBS 24 Based on these paraphrase possibilities, he proposes a synchronic derivation of ni sentences in which the ni is introduced by transformation. ) From a historical perspective, the ní in (43)-(47) looks like a fossil. If it occurred historically as a verb in serial sequences with "bitransitive" verbs like those in (44), one wonders what its lexical signification could have been.

The pronoun higher in the hierarchy, the more topical one, is more likely to occur earlier in the utterance, in subject position. If the conjunction is a fossilized verb, its former subject would be expected to occupy first position within the conjoined structure-which it does. These restrictions on case form and person for pronouns in conjoined structures are consistent with the hypothesis that the conjunction has descended from a verb ancestor. The verb source hypothesis provides a historical explanation for grammar requirements which otherwise appear peculiar and arbitrary.

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