What is a complex predicate? There is currently no widely accepted answer to this question, no agreed set of criteria which allow an analyst to classify Construction A as a ‘complex predicate’, and Construction B as ‘not a complex predicate’. This volume does not pretend to offer the final definitive answer to this basic question, but it does aim to further delimit the range of possible answers. The volume does this in two ways. First, it provides detailed data on constructions usually classified as ‘complex predicates’ in a range of languages from Australia, East Africa, Papua, South and Southeast Asia, and North America. In particular, it provides detailed data on a hitherto little described construction - the coverb construction. Coverb constructions are common among Australian, East African, Iranian, and Oceanic languages. The construction involves two constituents: a coverb and a verb. Coverbs must be analysed as a distinct part of- speech class. They share some characteristics with verbs - they are inherently predicational and they are not derived from any other part of speech. However, they differ from verbs in being inherently non-finite. The volume also aims to delimit the range of possible answers by providing a detailed examination of the mapping between complex predicates of various types and event structure, in the sense of Rappaport Hovav and Levin. This is a central focus for all of the papers in the volume. This mapping has not previously been as prominent a focus of research.
Complex Predicates: Cross-linguistic Perspectives on Event Structure p. 1-12