Complex Predicates in the Verbal System of Kumzari Language

Said Al-Jahdhami


Complex predicates, composites made of more than one grammatical element, are attested in an ample number of verbal systems cross-linguistically whereby syntactically independent elements combine together to form semantically joined units. Syntactic elements that belong to an array of forms and lexical categories chain with verbs to make verbal structures whose building and meaning are equally dependent on both parts of the structure. Each element exhibits certain patterns and behaviors, and makes its own semantic contribution to the composite predicate, resulting in a collective meaning that is not necessarily a precise reflection of the overall meanings signified by both elements. Drawing on data from Kumzari language, this paper attempts to give a better understanding of its verbal system, and to situate its complex predicates within the complex predicates spectrum. It argues that complex predicates in Kumzari belong to the ‘light verb constructions’ [LVCs] realm since both elements exhibit similar features attested in light verb constructions of other languages, including Indo-Iranian languages, such as syntactic and semantic compatibility, morphosyntactic behaviors, and joint predication of argument structures.

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