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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2021

3 Serial verb constructions and motion semantics

From the book Associated Motion

  • Joseph Lovestrand and Daniel Ross


This chapter investigates the expression of associated motion and directional motion in the form of serial verb constructions (SVCs). In a sample of 125 languages with SVCs, 101 have motion SVCs. The most common types are directional SVCs, in which a path-of-motion verb combines with another motion verb, and prior associated motion SVCs expressing motion prior to the activity or state predicated by the other verb in the construction. Concurrent motion and subsequent motion are much less common. In a prior motion SVC, the motion verb nearly always precedes the other verb, and the figure on the path of motion is the subject. In a directional SVC, the path-of-motion verb nearly always follows the other verb, and the grammatical function of the figure on the path of motion can vary according to the semantics of the main verb in the construction.

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