Verb serialization and lexical reanalysis the case of compound verbs in Edo


  • Rebecca N. Agheyisi


compound verbs, serial verb constructions, SVCs, Chinese, Yoruba, grammaticalization


This paper examines a category of compound verbs which features a particular kind of affix morpheme, with a view to determining the nature of the relation between this affix and other homophonous forms in the language which synchronically belong to different grammatical categories. In line with findings from similar studies of serial verb constructions in languages such as Mandarin Chinese and Yoruba, we have shown through our Edo data not only that certain verbs undergo grammaticalization and lexical re-analysis historically in the context of serial constructions to become prepositional case markers and adverbs synchronically, but also that some of these grammaticalized forms do undergo further lexical reanalysis and semantic depletion and ultimately become incorporated as affixal morphemes in compound verbs.