03 octobre 2023 – Daniel Krausse

The ComPLETE database of complex predicates : A view from Melanesia

Salle 512bis (Lattice, 1 rue Maurice Arnoux, 92120 Montrouge)

En visio : https://www.gotomeet.me/visio-lattice

Horaire : 10h30-12h.

Intervenant : Daniel Krauße   (Lattice, ANR ComPLETE)

Titre : The ComPLETE database of complex predicates : A view from Melanesia

Résumé : 

Many languages in the world express concepts like bring or kill with two verbs, namely as take+go and hit+die, respectively. Such constructions have been termed “complex predicates”, and are defined as sequences of verb-like elements acting together as a single predicate. Complex predicates pose a challenge for syntactic and semantic theories, because the arguments and semantics of each verb are merged to form an overall “macro-verb” (François 2004) with combined semantics.
Complex predicates come in different shapes, such as serial verbs, converbs, light verbs, verb+adjuncts, verb compounds, and auxiliaries. One of the regions with a very high frequency of serial verbs and verb-adjuncts is Melanesia, an area with over 1000 languages extending from Western Indonesia to Fiji. This region is home to a large number of different language families, all of which feature some form of complex predication.
The ComPLETE French-German project (“Complex Predicates in Languages: Emergence, Typology, Evolution”, 2023-2025) aims to systematically investigate such complex predicates on formal, semantic, and historical grounds across the world’s languages. We build our qualitative and quantitative analysis upon a questionnaire-based database, which will be supplied with published and novel data, from various languages displaying complex verbal structures. Such a database will allow us for a large-scale comparison of these structures across languages, so as to better understand what mechanisms are involved when two predicates merge into a single one.