Verb adjacency in Sajolang (Miji)ː Clausal complementation and serial verb constructions

Chris Weedall

Event details

PhD Seminar

Date & time

Friday 21 July 2017


Engma Room, Coombs Building, Australian National University, Canberra


Christopher Weedall


Christopher Weedall

Adjacent verbs in Sajolang (Sino-Tibetan, NE India) commonly occur where a deeper analysis of the surface structure indicates at least four underlying types. Due to Sajolang having an SOV word word, embedded clauses may result in the overall constructions containing adjacent verbs. In this seminar, I present the phenomenon of adjacent verbs and illustrate how these surface structures mask differences between clausal complementation and one of several types of serial verb constructions (SVCs).

Clausal complementation in Sajolang occurs when syntactic object (O) argument of a transitive or ditransitive clause is a clausal, rather than a nominal argument. I show how clausal complements can appear similar to SVCs but also have more flexibility than SVCs by allowing certain tense/aspect/mood (TAM) markers between the embedded and matrix verbs.

The second part of the talk looks into serial verb constructions (SVCs) which involve two or more adjacent verbs. I show how SVCs behave largely as described by most typological accounts but also have some differences compared to those accounts. Stress patterns of adjacent verbs are also helpful in identifying the headedness, primary/secondary stress patterns, and types of compounds in the language. Three types of SVCs are identified, including their differences and similarities. This comparison illuminates the importance of connections between different layers of a language's grammar.

The data presented sheds light on an under-studied region of the Himalayas and NE India. Analyses presented here also help suggest previous studies on SVCs can be tweaked to better incorporated cross-linguistics observations.

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