Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 179–216

The status of the nominal in Persian complex predicates



The nature of preverbal nominals and their relation to the verb have been the focus of much debate in languages with a productive complex predication process. For Persian, certain analyses have argued that the bare nominals in complex predicate constructions are distinct from bare objects, while others have treated the two types of bare nominals uniformly. This paper argues that the two categories of preverbal nouns cannot receive the same analysis since they display distinct syntactic and semantic behavior: the preverbal nominals, unlike the bare object nouns, cannot be questioned, are modified differently, have different interpretations, give rise to distinct case-assignment contexts, and can co-occur with a non-specific object. The distinct properties of the two nominal categories are captured by positing distinct structural positions for these nouns. Non-specific bare nouns are internal arguments of the thematic verb, while the nominal element of the complex predicate construction is part of the verbal domain with which it combines through a process of conflation, as defined in Hale and Keyser (2002), to form a single predicate.


Complex predicates Bare nouns Internal arguments Light verbs Persian 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The MITRE CorporationMcLeanUSA

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