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Argument Realisation in Complex Predicates and Complex Events

Verb-verb constructions at the syntax-semantic interface

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This book offers a comprehensive investigative study of argument realisation in complex predicates and complex events at the syntax-semantic interface across a wide variety of the world’s languages, ranging over languages such as German, Irish, Sicilian and Italian, Lithuanian, Estonian and other Finno-Ugric languages, Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara and Ngaanyatjarra from Australia’s Western Desert region, Japanese, Tepehua (Totonacan, Mexico), Cheyenne, Mexican Spanish, Boharic Coptic, and Persian. This volume examines the syntactic variation of complex events, complex predicates and multi-verb constructions within a single clause where the clause is view as representing a single event, studying their semantics and syntax within functional, cognitive and constructional frameworks, to arrive at a better understanding of their cross linguistic behaviour and how they resonate in syntax. These constructions manifest considerable variability in cross-linguistic comparisons of complex predicate formation. In European languages, for example, typically one of the verbs in a verb-verb construction highlights a phase of an underspecified event while the matrix verb specifies the actual event. In contrast, serial verbs require each verb to provide a sub-event dimension within a complex event that is viewed holistically as unitary in syntax. This book contributes to an understanding of complex events, complex predicates and multi-verb constructions across languages, their syntactic constructional patterns and argument realisation.

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