Serialization in Complex Predicates in MalakMalak

Dorothea Hoffmann


While complex verbs are well attested in Australian languages and elsewhere, in MalakMalak two systems of multi-verb constructions combine in a typologically rare setup: First, complex predicates consist of an uninflecting open-classed coverb and an inflecting verb (IV) of a closed class of six. Second, coverbs combine in serial constructions as part of a complex predicate with up to four coverbs encoding multiple or single events. This overlap provides a unique opportunity to examine shared and distinctive features. I argue for an analysis of MalakMalak’s complex predicates’ argument structure in terms of argument unification (Bowern 2010) of coverb and IV. 

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