S-Space Language Education Institute (언어교육원) Language Research (어학연구) Language Research (어학연구) Volume 48 Number 1/3 (2012)
Derivation of Serial Verb Constructions
- Yang, Yongzhong
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 언어교육원
- 어학연구, Vol.48 No.3, pp. 665-690
- serial verb construction; temporal iconicity; asymmetrical c-command; word order; generative grammar
- Though serial verb constructions have been a hot issue in grammatical research, the problem of the temporal iconicity in serial verb constructions has not been solved, or rather, various types of serial verb constructions have not been accounted for in a unified theoretical framework. Hence this paper attempts to probe into the internal structure of serial verb constructions and its generation in the framework of generative grammar. It is argued that structurally the two basic forms of SVCs are S+V1+O1+V2+O2 and S+O1+V1+O2+V2. VP1 made up of V1O1 governs VP2 made up of V2O2, and VP2 functions as the complement of VP1. Both SVO and SOV serial verb constructions follow the temporal iconicity, which is associated with the asymmetric nature of syntactic structures. V1 or VP1 c-commands V2 or VP2 asymmetrically, which is irrelevant to the types of SVCs and the order of V1 and V2. Based on this argument, an analysis for the derivation of serial verb constructions –Inter-VP Asymmetrical C-command Analysis –is proposed and used to account for the derivation of serial verb constructions in various languages. It is argued that in the serial verb construction there exist a null predicate and a null argument, the occurrence or non-occurrence of which gives rise to different types of serial verb constructions. It is evident that the approach to serial verb constructions can give a unified explanation of SVO and SOV serial verb constructions, including iconicity-predominant serial verb constructions typical of Chinese, abstractness-predominant serial verb constructions typical of the family of Tibeto-Burman languages, objectsharing serial verb constructions and non-object-sharing serial verb constructions as well as SOV serial verb constructions with double objects and solve the problems Baker (1989) and Li (2007) meet with in accounting for these data.