Complex Motion Verb Constructions in San Lucas Quiaviní Zapotec
Carolyn Anderson
March 2019

Certain constructions in natural language allow two event descriptions to combine into one. Across languages,these multi-verb constructions often involve deictic motion verbs. One such construction is the andative and venitive construction in San Lucas Quiaviní Zapotec, in which an andative or venitive marker on a verb expresses a motion event preceding the event of the second verb. These complex motion verb constructions are of interest not just because they are cross-linguistically common, but because the verbs combine at a low enough level that the event arguments are still available. The semantic mechanisms available for combining event descriptions from different verbs are not well-understood. Are the two events components of a larger event that is built up during semantic composition? What relation do the arguments of each verb have to each other, if any, and to the larger event, if there is one? This paper seeks to answer these questions by exploring the semantics of three complex motion verb constructions: two types of pseudo-coordination in English, the ‘go get’ construction and the ‘went and died’ construction; and the andative and venitive construction in San Lucas Quiaviní Zapotec. By examining micro-variation in the meaning of three such constructions, I show that natural language requires multiple strategies for event description combination.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005668
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: UMass Amherst
keywords: zapotec; motion verbs; complex verb constructions; deictic motion, semantics
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