Tajik Persian Complex Predicates

Persian complex predicates are of particular interest because their semantics are often idiosyncratic and their structure frequently deviates from general rules of Persian syntax. In spite of these peculiarities, Persian complex predicates are not a marginal part of the language. They form an open, productive class, and are more common than simple verbs. 

One puzzling theoretical question about Persian complex predicates is how they are represented in the mental lexicon. Since the meaning of a complex predicate is not entirely predictable based on the individual semantics of the preverb, or non-verbal element (NV) and the verb (V), it is hypothesized that NV and V must be stored in the mental lexicon as a single construct with a single meaning. But this hypothesis is complicated by the fact that in some clauses, the NV and V can be separated by other morphemes.

In this paper, I will present a hypothesis based on Construction Grammar that will: (a) account for the productivity of the Persian complex predicate constructs; (b) describe the way instances of this construction are stored in the mental lexicon; and (c) explain how they are unified with other constructions in a clause-including clauses in which the NV and V become separated.

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