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Rise and be surprised: Aspectual profiling and mirativity in Odia light verb constructions

Maarten Lemmens ORCID logo and Kalyanamalini Sahoo ORCID logo
From the journal Cognitive Linguistics

Abstract

In this paper, we present our Construction Grammar account of light verb constructions in the Indo-Aryan language Odia (earlier known as Oriya). These light verb constructions are asymmetric complex verb predicates that combine a main verb (MV) with a light verb (LV). While the LVs are form-identical with a lexical verb, they are “light” because they have lost their lexical content as well as their argument structure. We argue that LV constructions present a coherent system: (i) they all modulate the interpretation of the event encoded by the main verb by adding a particular aspectual (phasal) profile on the event (i.e. profiling the ONSET, DURATION or COMPLETION of the event) and (ii) some of these light verbs further add a mirative interpretation. The present paper focuses on this subset of “aspectuo-mirative LVs” which can be characterised as non-parasitic expressions of mirativity; in particular, it presents new work on the light verb -uʈh ‘-rise’ that combines a profile on ONSET with mirativity. The constructional view that we present here offers an account of light verbs that is both descriptively and theoretically innovative. Its descriptive value resides in its systematic and fine-grained corpus-based analysis of the formal and semantic features of LVs beyond what is found in the existing literature. The theoretical contribution of our paper not only resides in offering a better understanding of the status of LVs in the grammar, but by situating the semantic value of some of these in the complex category of mirativity, it offers a more unified answer of quite disparate observations in the literature. Finally, we also address the question of whether this mirative value of the aspectuo-mirative LVs is semantic or pragmatic. As we will show, such a strict dichotomy cannot be maintained, which gives further support for a constructional approach.

Abbreviations used in glosses

acc

accusative

art

article

aux

auxiliary

caus

causative marker

clf

classifier

def

definite

emph

emphatic particle

fut

future

gen

genitive

hon

honorific

imp

imperative

indef

indefinite

ins

instrumental

loc

locative

lnk

linker

neg

negative marker

nmlz

nominalizer

nom

nominative

perf

perfective

pl

plural

pp

postposition

pres

present

prog

progressive

pst

past

sg

singular

tel-aff

telic affirmative

Acknowledgements

The authors thank the anonymous reviewers for their thorough comments on the first version of this paper. We also thank Nicole Delbecque, Ad Foolen, and Peter Harder for their thoughtful comments on parts of our analysis presented at the Seventh International conference of the French Cognitive Linguistics Association (AFLiCo 7, University of Liège, May 31June 3, 2017).

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Received: 2017-05-01
Revised: 2018-08-13
Accepted: 2018-08-14
Published Online: 2018-12-22
Published in Print: 2019-02-25

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