Piloting a multivariate approach to complex verbal constructions

Kera’a (Idu) SVCs and other multi-verbal expressions


In this talk, I explore a multivariate approach to visualising the distribution of complex verbal constructions in Kera’a (Idu), a Trans-Himalayan language spoken in Arunachal Pradesh, India. New data from a grammatically-annotated corpus of Kera’a with ~600 clauses contains examples of serial verb constructions, converb constructions, and clause chains. These three different complex verbal constructions show a certain degree of functional overlap, despite their different grammatical encoding (cf. DeLancey 1991, Bisang 1995, Shibatani 2009). To investigate the interaction between these construction types, I looked at how instantiations of these constructions in the corpus reflect commonly posited parameters for monoclausal predicates using a multivariate analysis. I find that embedded biclausal constructions (blue) are clearly distinguishable from complex verbal constructions, and that the independence or dependence of grammatical and phonological wordhood of elements within in the construction (red vs yellow), as well as the presence of dependency marking within the construction (grey; mostly converb constructions), are the largest factors determining the distribution of complex verbal constructions in Kera’a.

Southeast Asian Linguistics Society XXX
Naomi Peck
Naomi Peck
PhD Student; Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin

PhD linguist who is interested in how units are formed, wherever they are found in language.