Hindi aspectual complex predicates at the syntax-semantics interface
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The goal of this dissertation is to explore Hindi verbal complex predicates at the syntax/semantics interface using the lexicalist framework of HPSG. The enduring theoretical interest in complex predicates is undoubtedly due to the fact that in some aspects they pattern with prototypical words, whereas in other aspects they pattern with prototypical phrases. Complex predicates exhibit word-like properties in terms of argument structure, and in sometimes having lexicalized meanings. This dissertation focuses on verbal complex predicate constructions in Hindi, which are defined in terms of the combination of multiple verbs' argument structure and result in a single set of grammatical functions. The discussion in this dissertation is focused on the relationship between the syntactic and semantic properties of Hindi complex predicate constructions. This work describes in detail two types of aspectual complex predicate constructions : the standard construction where the main verb precedes the light verb and the reverse construction where the main verb follows the light verb. The aspectual complex predicate construction is then compared with the permissive construction . Empirical data is offered on the the various combinations of auxiliaries with both main verbs and complex predicates as well as on the various possible combinations of aspectual complex predicates. it has been argued that complex predicate formation takes place at the argument structure level and not at the phrase structure level (Butt, 1994). While this view correctly captures complex predicate formation for the standard complex predicate construction, taking phrase structure into account makes it possible to determine whether or not there is complex predicate formation. This is because not all complex predicate formation is equivalent. For example, in the case of the reverse construction, the complex predicate formation does not have the same properties of monoclausality and argument composition that the standard construction displays. Similarly, when the permissive verb selects for a VP-complement instead of a V-complement, it does not form a complex predicate construction. These facts argue for a partial dissociation of phrase structure and argument structure, and are represented here via a formal analysis within HPSG. From a semantic perspective, this work show that the various semantic notions assigned to light verbs are in fact pragmatic inferences. With respect to its aspectual content, light verbs are used in order to convey the notion of boundedness. Additionally, the meaning encoded by the light verbs is affectedness, defined either the result or the consequence of the event denoted by the main verb. By identifying the core semantic characteristics of Hindi light verbs, we see that not all light verbs encode the same semantics.