One of the most disputed issues in Iranian linguistics involves the analysis of light verb constructions (LVC). In Persian, a large number of different actions are expressed through a small set of basic action verbs used as light verbs (LV) combined with a semantically restricted but open class of preverbal elements. The current analysis addresses the problem of compositional meaning in Persian LVCs. In the present study, semantic properties of these constructions are explored in order to shed some light on the organization of the system and thus to better understand how Persian speakers interpret and create new verbs. By mapping islands in the semantic space of Persian verbs, patterns of productivity along with their semantic restrictions will be uncovered. These constructional patterns are based on semantic and pragmatic features of the constituent elements of LVCs. The Persian verbal system involves structures that occur between the lexicon and the grammar, and the semantics of these structures emerges from constructional structure and not directly from individual lexemes.
© Mouton de Gruyter – Societas Linguistica Europaea