Ghana Journal of Linguistics

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Serialising languages: Satellite-framed, verb-framed or neither

FK Ameka, J Essegbey


The diversity in the coding of the core schema of motion, i.e., Path, has led to a traditional typology of languages into verb-framed and satellite-framed languages. In the former Path is encoded in verbs and in the latter it is encoded in non-verb elements that function as sisters to co-event expressing verbs such as manner verbs. Verb serializing languages pose a challenge to this typology as they express Path as well as the Co-event of manner in finite verbs that together function as a single predicate in translational motion clause. We argue that these languages do not fit in the typology and constitute a type of their own. We draw on data from Akan and Frog story narrations in Ewe, a Kwa language, and Sranan, a Caribbean Creole with Gbe substrate, to show that in terms of discourse properties verb serializing languages behave like Verb-framed with respect to some properties and like Satellite-framed languages in terms of others. This study fed into the revision of the typology and such languages are now said to be equipollently-framed languages.

Keywords: serial verb constructions, translational motion, verb-framed, satellite-framed, equipollently-framed.

AJOL African Journals Online