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Cognitive Linguistics

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Volume 30, Issue 1


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

Maarten LemmensORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4549-5564 / Kalyanamalini SahooORCID iD: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3853-3067
Published Online: 2018-12-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2017-0053


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.

Keywords: aspectual modulation; light verbs; mirativity; Odia; semantics/pragmatics interface


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About the article

Received: 2017-05-01

Accepted: 2018-08-14

Revised: 2018-08-13

Published Online: 2018-12-22

Published in Print: 2019-02-25

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, Volume 30, Issue 1, Pages 123–164, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cog-2017-0053.

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