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Verbs with [V + PP] structure and light verb constructions [V + NP]. Properties and test.

Anna Pompei


This paper aims at verifying the possibility to assimilate complex verbs having the pattern [V + PP ] – such as Italian dare in consegna - to light verb constructions with the pattern [V + NP] – such as Italian fare una consegna. Both constructions are analytical predicates, i.e. they involve two or more predicational elements which predicate as a single unit. The equivalence between these two patterns is usually set for German, on the basis of syntactic evidence, but not for Romance languages. In this paper Italian [V + NP] and [V+PP] structures are analyzed, having both semantically light verbs such as avere, essere, fare, dare, prendere, so that the predication is mostly or completely codified by the NP or the PP. To support the proposal, a set of tests usually employed for [V + NP] pattern are applied to [V + PP] pattern, in order to verify the lightness of the verb, the predicativeness of the noun and of the governing preposition, and the degree of cohesion of the entire construction. The results seem to confirm the proposal, showing that both patterns allow to analytically codify the polysemy of synthetic predicates, to realize different argument structures and to lexically express aspect, diathesis and modality values thanks to the verb paradigmatic variation.


complex verbs; light verb constructions; predicativeness; analytical vs. synthetical predicates

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