The rise and fall of Serial Verb Constructions: Preamble

  • Alexander Andrason Faculty of Humanities, University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald Jawun Research Centre, Central Queensland University, Australia
Keywords: Serial verb constructions, diachrony, prototype, dynamization of typology


This is a brief introduction to the special issue of Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus. We present the concept of serial verb constructions (SVCs) conventionally understood as monoclausal sequences of verbs without any overt marker of coordination, subordination, or syntactic dependency. We then focus on the mechanisms at work in the evolution of serial verb constructions, and the investigations of their origin and demise. We introduce the prototype approach to the category of SVCs as the basis of the study of verb serialization throughout the volume and discuss the research strategies applicable to the development of serial verbs in individual languages. The concluding section offers an overview of the volume.