When verbs ‘stay (and) go’ together: Pseudo-coordination in Juǀ’hoan and ǃXun

  • Lee J. Pratchett CIBIO-InBIO, Universidade do Porto, Portugal | Institute for Asian and African Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany https://orcid.org/
Keywords: Juǀ’hoan, ǃXun, Khoisan, multi-verb constructions, pseudo-coordination, serial verb construction, grammaticalization, posture verbs


Multi-verb constructions are an areal feature of Kalahari Basin Area languages (“Khoisan”), a Sprachbund comprising the Kx’a, Tuu, and Khoe-Kwadi families. Presently, these languages are characterised by two distinct multi-verb constructions with specific distributions: strictly contiguous serial verb constructions in Kx’a and Tuu correspond to multi-verb constructions involving a morphophonological linker, or “juncture”, in Khoe-Kwadi. This paper describes an additional multi-verb construction, namely pseudo-coordination. Drawing on a corpus of spontaneous discourse data, this paper demonstrates the rise of pseudo-coordination from a biclausal construction in Juǀ’hoan and ǃXun (Ju, Kx’a). The comparative analysis highlights the verbs that typically arise the context of pseudo-coordination and the resulting functions. This paper describes the polygrammaticalisation resulting from pseudo-coordination, including other multi-verb constructions.
Part 3: Dynamization of synchrony – A typological perspective