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Research Article

Atypical Compound Verb Constructions in Hindi/Urdu

The Case of Transitive Polar Verbs with Intransitive Vector Verbs

Andrea Drocco    Università Ca' Foscari    

Neha Tiwari    Independent Scholar    



While a lot of research has already been done on defining compound verb constructions and understanding their semantic and pragmatic usages, there is still a gap when it comes to our understanding of atypical compound verb constructions where transitive polar verbs are paired with intransitive vector verbs and vice versa. In this paper we focus on atypical constructions with two intransitive vector verbs: jānā and baiṭhnā. We collate and review the different meanings that scholars have ascribed to these constructions and present our own analysis. We conclude that the main reason behind using an intransitive vector verb with a transitive polar verb is to reduce the transitivity of the action by implying reduced agency on the part of the Agent-like argument of the sentence. In addition to that, the use of an intransitive vector verb with a transitive polar verb also tells us which argument in the sentence is affected by the action from the point of view of the speaker. However, sometimes atypical constructions are also used by the speaker to express his/her shock or astonishment over a particular event, thus imposing his/her own ideas about agency, volitionality, and affectedness on the action being observed.

Keywords: Hindi. Urdu. Transitivity. Involuntary agent.

Language: en

Submitted: Feb. 11, 2020   Accepted: June 1, 2020   Published: June 30, 2020  

permalink: http://doi.org/10.30687/AnnOr/2385-3042/2020/56/012

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License