Multi Verb Constructions: Semantic, Syntactic and Typological Perspectives (MVC2017)

Organisator(en) Artemis Alexiadou, Jens Hopperdietzel & Tonjes Veenstra
Institution(en) ZAS Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Veranstaltungsbeginn 07.12.2017, 09.00 Uhr
Veranstaltungsende 08.12.2017, 18.00 Uhr
Ort Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Unter den Linden 6, Room 2249a
Workshop website

The workshop Multi-Verb Constructions: Semantic, Syntactic and Typological Perspectives (MVC2017) is organized by the Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft and the Research Unit on experimental syntax and heritage languages (HU Berlin) to be held on December 7-8 2017 at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.

The theme of the workshop is multi-verb constructions, also known as verb serialization (cf. Aikhenvald & Dixon 2006, Aikhenvald & Muysken 2011). The most basic question these constructions pose for any grammatical theory is how multiple predication structures are put together. We therefore invite informed presentations that address some of the topics mentioned below from a (formal) semantic, syntactic and typological perspective, or a combination thereof.

We want to address the following questions: (i) how to combine multiple verbs or verbal roots into one clause? (ii) What are reliable tests for clausehood? (iii) How much functional structure does each verb have in the series (Veenstra & Muysken 2017)? (iv) What is the relation, if any, between serial verbs and light verbs (Hagemeijer 2001, Aboh 2009)? (v) how to analyze event argument serialization, in which the first predication seems to count as the external argument of the second predication?

Another important issue concerns argument sharing and the interpretation of overt NPs in the series. The question is whether the (semantic or syntactic) sharing of arguments is obligatory (Baker 1989). Is argument sharing a defining feature of the construction, or are the cross-linguistic patterns we observe due to language-specific restrictions on how verbs in the different languages combine?

Furthermore, what kind of semantic and syntactic functions can these verbs express or develop into, such as prepositions, complementizers, and the like (including grammaticalization paths of these categories).

Invited Speakers:

Diane Massam (Toronto)
Pieter Muysken (Nijmegen)
Kilu von Prince (HU Berlin)
Malte Zimmermann (Potsdam)
Anne Zribi-Hertz (Paris)


Thursday (07.12.2017)




Kilu von Prince – Invited speaker

(U Saarbrücken) 

The typology of multi-verb constructions: Is there a continuum?


Tonjes Veenstra 

(L-ZAS Berlin)

The anatomy of verb series 


Rainer Osswald & Robert Van Valin, Jr. 

(U Düsseldorf)

Dependency and argument sharing in transitive multi-verb constructions: A case study on Lakhota (Siouan)




Diane Massam – Invited speaker

(U Toronto)

Complex predicates in Niuean 


Jens Hopperdietzel 

(HU Berlin)

The syntactic structure of resultative SVCs in Saliba (Oceanic)




Pieter Muysken & Sophie Villerius – Invited speakers

(U/MPI Nijmegen) 

The Javanese-Sranan-Dutch triangle: Multi-verb constructions in Surinamese Javanese

Conference Dinner

Friday (08.12.2017)


Anne Zribi-Hertz & Loïc Jean-Louis – Invited speakers

(Université Paris-Lumières/Université Paris-8/SFL, CNRS)

"Serial verb constructions" in Martinican Creole


Carolyn Jane Anderson 

(UMass Amherst)

The andative and venitive construction in San Lucas Quiaviní Zapotec


Bettina Zeissler 

(U Tübingen)

Multi-verb constructions in Tibetan and Ladakhi




Malte Zimmermann – Invited speaker

(U Potsdam)

Making Sense of Serial Verbs: The semantics of complex event descriptions


Marian Klamer 

(U Leiden)

Serial verb grammaticalization in two language families of Eastern Indonesia





Artemis Alexiadou (HU Berlin & ZAS Berlin)
Jens Hopperdietzel (HU Berlin)
Tonjes Veenstra (ZAS Berlin)