Building complex events

The case of Sicilian Doubly Inflected Construction
  • Fabio Del PreteEmail author
  • Giuseppina Todaro


We examine the Doubly Inflected Construction of Sicilian (DIC; Cardinaletti and Giusti 2001, 2003; Cruschina 2013), in which a motion verb V1 from a restricted set is followed by an event verb V2 and both verbs are inflected for the same person and tense features. The interpretation of DIC involves a complex event which behaves as a single, integrated event by linguistic tests. Based on data drawn from different sources, we argue that DIC is an asymmetrical serial verb construction (Aikhenvald 2006). We propose an analysis of DIC in which V1 and V2 enter the semantic composition as lexical verbs, with V1 contributing a motion event and projecting a theme and a goal argument which are identified, respectively, with an agent and a location argument projected by V2. A morphosyntactic mechanism of feature-spread requires that the person and tense features be realized both on V1 and on V2, while, semantically, these features are interpreted only once, in a position from which they take scope over the complex predicate resulting from the combination of V1 and V2. The semantic analysis is based on an operation of event concatenation, defined over spatio-temporally contiguous events which share specific participants, and is implemented in a neo-Davidsonian framework (Parsons 1990).


Doubly Inflected Construction Serial verb constructions Motion verbs Inflectional features Thematic structure Event semantics 



We would like to thank five anonymous NLLT reviewers for their helpful comments and the participants in CIDSM11 (Cambridge Italian Dialect Syntax-Morphology Meeting) in Vienna, in the workshop The profile of event delimitation at the 2016 SLE conference in Naples, and in an Institut Jean Nicod language seminar in Paris for invaluable feedback on previous versions of this work. We are grateful to Marta Abrusan, Patrícia Amaral, Valentina Aristodemo, Michel Aurnague, John Beavers, Basilio Calderone, Laura Caponetto, Vincenzo di Caro, Lucas Champollion, Silvio Cruschina, Carlo Geraci, Giuliana Giusti, Tatiana Nikitina, Philippe Schlenker, Jesse Tseng and Sandro Zucchi for discussion of specific aspects of our analysis and/or assessment of the empirical data.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CNRS laboratory CLLE-ERSSToulouseFrance

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