Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Journal of South Asian Languages and Linguistics

Editor-in-Chief: Kulikov, Leonid

See all formats and pricing
More options …

Complex predicates in Betta Kurumba

Gail Coelho
Published Online: 2018-10-23 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jsall-2018-0007


This paper discusses various types of complex predicates found in Betta Kurumba, a South Dravidian language spoken in southern India. The constructions discussed include causativising and valency-modifying affixes, phrasal compound verbs, and compound verb stems. Compound verb stems are unusual for the language area, as they combine verb roots word-internally rather than as independent words, and have undergone varying degrees of grammaticalization. The origin of the compound verb stem construction is investigated, with the paper demonstrating that this construction was also originally a phrasal structure containing separate verb words. In addition, the history of valency modification and compound verb stem formation is shown to have contributed to the structure of simplex verb words in this language.

Keywords: complex predicates; compound verbs; light verbs; Dravidian; historical linguistics; valency


  • Agesthialingom, S. & G. Srinivasa Varma (eds.). 1980. Auxiliaries in Dravidian (Seminar papers). Annamalainagar: Annamalai University.Google Scholar

  • Amberber, Mengistu, Brett Baker & Mark Harvey. 2010. Introduction. In Mengistu Amberber, B. Baker & M. Harvey (eds.), Complex predicates: Cross-linguistic perspectives on event structure, 1–12. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Annamalai, E. 1979. Aspects of aspect in Tamil. International Journal of Dravidian Languages 11(1). 260–267.Google Scholar

  • Annamalai, E. 1982. Dynamics of verbal extension in Tamil. International Journal of Dravidian Languages 8(2). 22–176.Google Scholar

  • Annamalai, E. 2016. Expanded verbs in Dravidian. In Hans Henrich Hock & Elena Bashir (eds.), 2016. Language and linguistics of South Asia: A comprehensive guide (The World of Linguistics 7), 550–559. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Burrow, Thomas & Murray B. Emeneau. 1984. A Dravidian etymological dictionary, 2nd revised edn. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar

  • Butt, Miriam. 1995. The structure of complex predicates in Urdu. Stanford: CSLI Publications.Google Scholar

  • Butt, Miriam. 2010. The light verb jungle: Still hacking away. In Meningistu Amberber, B. Baker & M. Harvey (eds.), Complex predicates: Cross-linguistic perspectives on event structure, 48–78. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Butt, Miriam & Aditi Lahiri. 2013. Diachronic pertinacity of light verbs. Lingua 135. 7–29.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Cardona, George & Dhanesh Jain. 2003. The Indo-Aryan languages. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Coelho, Gail. 2003. A grammar of Betta Kurumba. Austin, TX: University of Texas at Austin doctoral dissertation.Google Scholar

  • Coelho, Gail. 2012. The re-emergence of finite serial verbs in South Dravidian. In Rajendra Singh & S. Bhattacharja (eds.), Annual review of South Asian languages and linguistics, 45–78. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Coelho, Gail. Forthcoming–a. Annotated texts in Betta Kurumba. Leiden: Brill. [Expected publication: 2019].Google Scholar

  • Coelho, Gail. Forthcoming–b. Betta Kurumba. In Sanford Steever (ed.), The Dravidian languages, 2nd revised edn. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Emeneau, Murray B. 1956. India as a linguistic area. Language 32(1). 3–16.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Harris, Alice C. & Lyle Campbell. 1995. Historical syntax in cross-linguistic perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Hock, Hans Henrich. 2016. Complex verbs: Introduction. In Hans Henrich Hock & Elena Bashir (eds.), Language and linguistics of South Asia: A comprehensive guide (The World of Linguistics 7), 549–550. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Hook, Peter. 1974. The compound verb in Hindi. Ann Arbor: Center for South and South-East Asian Studies, University of Michigan.Google Scholar

  • Hook, Peter. 1991. The emergence of perfective aspect in Indo-Aryan languages. In Elizabeth Closs Traugott & B. Heine (eds.), Approaches to grammatialization, Volume II: Focus on types of grammatical markers, 59–89. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar

  • Hook, Peter. 1993. Aspectogenesis and the compound verb in Indo-Aryan. In Manindra K. Verma (ed.), Complex predicates in South Asian languages, 97–113. New Delhi: Manohar.Google Scholar

  • Hook, Peter. 2001. Where do compound verbs come from? (And where are they going). In Peri Bhaskararao & K. V. Subbarao (eds.), The yearbook of South Asian languages and linguistics, 102–130. New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar

  • Hopper, Paul J. & Sandra A. Thompson. 1980. Transitivity in grammar and discourse. Language 56(2). 251–299.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • Hopper, Paul J. & Elizabeth Closs Traugott. 1993. Grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Joseph, Brian D. & Richard D. Janda. 1988. The how and why of dichronic morphologization and demorphologization. In Michael Hammond & M. Noonan (eds.), Theoretical morphology: Approaches in modern linguistics, 193–213. San Diego: Academic Press.Google Scholar

  • Krishnamurti, Bhadriraju. 2003. The Dravidian languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Lehmann, Thomas. 1989. A grammar of Modern Tamil. Pondicherry: Pondicherry Institute of Linguistics and Culture.Google Scholar

  • Masica, Colin. 1976. Defining a linguistic area: South Asia. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar

  • Masica, Colin. 1991. The Indo-Aryan languages. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Meenakshisundaram, T. P. 1965. A historical grammar of Tamil. Poona: Deccan College.Google Scholar

  • Paramasivam, K. 1979. Effectivity and causativity in Tamil. Trivandrum: Dravidian Linguistics Association.Google Scholar

  • Raina, Achla M. 2011. The co-eventual verb in Hindi. In Omkar N. Koul (ed.), Indo-Aryan linguistics, 135–152. Mysore: Central Institute of Indian Languages.Google Scholar

  • Slade, Benjamin. 2013. The diachrony of light and auxiliary verbs in Indo-Aryan. Diachronica 30(4). 531–578.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • Slade, Benjamin. 2016. Compound verbs in Indo-Aryan. In Hans Henrich Hock & Elena Bashir (eds.), Language and linguistics of South Asia: A comprehensive guide (The World of Linguistics 7), 559–567. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar

  • Steever, Sanford B. 1993. Analysis to synthesis: The development of complex verb morphology in the Dravidian languages. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

  • Steever, Sanford B. (ed.) 1998. The Dravidian languages. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Steever, Sanford B. 2005. The Tamil auxiliary verb system. London: Routledge.Google Scholar

  • Subbārāo, Kārumūri V. 2012. South Asian languages: A syntactic typology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar

  • Subrahmanyam, P. S. 1971. Dravidian verb morphology: A comparative study. Annamalainagar: Annamalai University.Google Scholar

  • Traugott, Elizabeth Closs & Bernd Heine (eds.). 1991. Approaches to grammaticalization. (Typological studies in language 19). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar

About the article

Published Online: 2018-10-23

Published in Print: 2018-10-25

Citation Information: Journal of South Asian Languages and Linguistics, Volume 5, Issue 1, Pages 23–77, ISSN (Online) 2196-078X, ISSN (Print) 2196-0771, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jsall-2018-0007.

Export Citation

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in