[Colloquium] Pseudocoordination in Modern Greek: GO and V, COME and V, SIT and V

Event Date: 

Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm

Event Location: 

  • South Hall 3605
Pseudocoordination is a syntactic construction type in which two inflected verbs are conjoined with a coordinate conjunction but are interpreted as a single complex event. The recent attention to this phenomenon (see PseCoMAC conferences) brings forth questions of its cross--linguistic variation, how it relates to verb serialization, whether it is grammaticalized, what the resulting semantics is, and the role of discourse context in the interpretation of the construction. Initial descriptions of this phenomenon started with Scandinavian languages but it also occurs in other European languages (Romance, Slavic) and elsewhere among world languages, but more sparingly. In Modern Greek, it occurs with motion and posture verbs as the first verb in the V1 and V2 structure.
In this talk, first I will describe the phenomenon with Modern Greek examples and attempt to distinguish cases of V1 and V2 that instantiate conjunctive coordination from cases of pseudocoordination. Then, focusing on pseudocoordination, I will present arguments for a monoclausal structure by considering operators shared by the conjoined verbs such as negation, deontic modality, tense and adverbial modifiers, and the behavior of the structure as a unit in fronting of the second argument of V2. Next, I will discuss the semantics of the construction and the resulting single complex event. I will argue for the conceptual integration of the motion or posture verb in the construction that results in “stripping” the motion or posture away from such verbs:
            • GO and V2 is interpreted as “V2 as a result of a determined action by the agent” or “V2 as a deviation from expected course of events in which the undergoer retains responsibility”,
            • COME and V2 is interpreted as “V2 as a culmination of a process affecting the undergoer”, and
            • SIT and V2 is interpreted in two ways depending on the aspectual markings, as “V2 for an extended period of time” with imperfective aspect or “V2 in a deliberate manner” with perfective                      aspect.
A metaphorical account may be offered, for example for the surprise or mirative effect of GO and V2 in examples such as “She went and got pregnant” by analyzing it as a deviation from a fictive course of motion/action. However, a closer look shows that a number of factors may be reinforcing reasons for the mirative effects of the construction: a) the type of V2, and b) a number of discourse factors including the modification of the arguments by evaluative adjectives (“the poor woman”), the presence of the construction within rhetorical questions or exclamatory statements, and modification by contrastive adverbial clauses and constructions (‘but’, ‘while’, ‘instead’). These types of discourse context also appear with the SIT and V2 construction with similar evaluative effects. I will conclude with a sketch of the construction in Modern Greek and questions for further inquiry.