Stephen Wilson

Coverbs and complex predicates in Wagiman

Wagiman is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken by about ten
people in the Top End of the Northern Territory.  Like many of its
neighbours, Wagiman possesses an unusual open class of words which I
call "coverbs".  Coverbs are responsible for conveying a large variety
of mostly verbal and adjectival meanings.  Most frequently, they are
paired with inflecting verbs to create "complex predicates": the
coverb and inflecting verb jointly determine the semantics and
argument structure of what is nevertheless a single predicate, heading
a single clause.  My paper will discuss some of the ways in which
"predicate fusion" can take place, including a look at the viability
of using formal representations of semantic structures to help make
some sense of what is involved.


Date created: 30 March 1998
Last modified: 30 March 1998
 1998 Stephen Wilson
Maintained by: David Nash

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