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Serial Verbs$
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Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198791263

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198791263.001.0001

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The rise and fall of serial verbs

The rise and fall of serial verbs

(p.196) 8 The rise and fall of serial verbs
Serial Verbs

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

Oxford University Press

We have identified three scenarios for the emergence of serial verb constructions: clause fusion scenario, whereby serial verbs emerge out of sequences of clauses; the verbal modification scenario, and the concurrent grammaticalization scenario. The development of serial verbs may correlate with the expansion of analytic structures and the loss of inflectional morphology. Serial verbs in some language families are of fair antiquity. In many instances their emergence can be accounted for by language contact. Serial verbs in Creole languages often reflect the substratum influence of the languages which contributed to their formation. In the course of language history, serial verbs can lose their status as such. Minor components in asymmetrical serial verb constructions become grammatical markers—auxiliaries, or bound morphemes. Symmetrical serial verbs become lexicalized units no longer separable. Serial verbs tend to be acquired by children at an early age.

Keywords:   development of serial verbs, child language acquisition, clause fusion, grammaticalization, loss of morphology, analytic profile, substratum, Creole languages, language contact, linguistic area

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