Multiple Objects, Serial Verbs and the Question of Argument-Sharing

Michael Etuge Apuge


This paper explores syntactic operations that obtain in multiple object and serial verb constructions in Akoose, a Bantu language spoken in Cameroon. Focus is placed on the structure and types of multi-verb constructions (MVCs), the structure of (MVCs), as well as multiple object constructions (MOCs). The paper also examines argument-sharing in both (MVCs) and (MOCs). The analysis is done following insights from Chomsky (1981, 1995; Miyagawa, 2010). While (MOCs) display predicates with two structural patterns, namely [VP, [NP IO [NP DO]]] and [VP, [NP DO [NP IO]]], serial verb constructions (SVCs) constitute a maximum of three different VP structures, namely a) [V1 [XP [V2]], b) [XP [V1 [V2]], and c) [V1[V2 [XP [V3]]]. It is found that notwithstanding the normal SVO word order in the language, complex serial verbs impose an S-V1-V2-(V3)-O word order, which further derives S-V1-V2-O-V3 and S-V1-O-V2-V3 surface variants. The analysis further reveals that irrespective of the complex nature of structures examined and the various transformational operations they undergo, there is no argument sharing in MOCs and SVCs in Akoose.

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