Invitation - USYD Department of Linguistics Research Seminar

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Sebastian Fedden

May 30, 2016, 8:46:24 PM5/30/16
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Dear colleagues,


Our USYD Department of Linguistics Research Seminar comcludes with a presentation by:


Dr Nerida Jarkey, The University of Sydney


Linked SVCs and the panoramic portrayal of events in White Hmong


Fri, 3 June 2016, 12.30-2.00pm

Rogers Room, John Woolley Bldg A20, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006


You’re welcome to bring your lunch to the talk. After the talk we’ll have our Linguistics Afternoon Tea.


You will find the abstract below.







The term serial verb construction (SVC) has been applied to constructions in many languages, including those in Africa, Southeast Asia, Oceania, South America, and Australia. These constructions involve two or more verbs occurring within a single clause with no overt linkage between them and with neither verb predicating the other one (Haspelmath 2016).


Scholars have claimed that a key feature of ‘archetypal’ or ‘prototypical’ verbs in series is that of acting together ‘like a single verb’ (Durie 1997, p. 289-290) and presenting a ‘cohesive and tightly knit representation’ of a single event (Aikhenvald 2006, p. 3). SVCs in White Hmong (Hmong-Mien), however, are often used in narrative texts to provide highly detailed and elaborate portrayal of events—what we might characterise as a very loosely knit representation.


In this presentation I will discuss one such usage in this language. It involves a strategy for linking multiple SVC types, allowing the perspective of the narrator to pan from the effective, transitive action of the A argument to a vivid depiction of the outcome of that action in relation to the O argument, all within a single clause.



Aikhenvald, Alexandra, Y. 2006. Serial verb constructions in typological perspective, in Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and R.M.W. Dixon (eds.), Serial verb constructions: A cross-linguistic typology, pp. 160-177. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Durie, Mark. 1997. Grammatical structures in verb serialization, in Alex Alsina, Joan Bresnan, and Peter Sells (eds.), Complex predicates, pp. 289-354. Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.

Haspelmath, Martin. 2016. The Serial Verb Construction: Comparative Concept and Cross-linguistic Generalizations, Language and Linguistics 17(3) 291–319.


Dr Sebastian Fedden | Lecturer in Linguistics

School of Letters, Art and Media | Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences


N367, John Woolley Bld A20 | The University of Sydney | NSW | 2006

T +61 2 9351 7518  | F +61 2 9351 2434


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