Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Linguistic Theory and Typology (MALTT)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Arts and Sciences


Linguistic Theory & Typology

First Advisor

Dr. Gregory T. Stump


Among Urdu’s many verb+verb constructions, this thesis focuses on those constructions, which combine the stem of a main content verb with another inflected verb which is used in a semantically bleached sense. Prior work on these constructions has been focused on their structural make-up and syntactic behavior in various environments. While there is consensus among scholars (Butt 1995, Hook 1977, Carnikova 1989, Porizka 2000 et al.) that these stem+verb constructions encode aspectual information, to date no clear theory has been put forward to explain the nature of their aspectual contribution. In short, we do not have a clear idea why these constructions are used instead of simple verbs. This work is an attempt to understand the precise function of these constructions. I propose that simple verbs (henceforth SV) in Urdu deal only with the action of the verb whereas (regardless of the semantic information contributed by the second inflected verb,1) the stem+verb constructions essentially deal with the action of the verb as well as the state of affairs resulting from this action. The event represented by these constructions is essentially a telic event as defined by Comrie (1976), whose resultant state is highlighted from the use of these constructions. The attention of the listener is then shifted to the result of this telic event, whose salience in the discourse is responsible for various interpretations of the event; hence my term ‘resultive construction’ (henceforth RC). When these constructions are made using the four special verbs (rah ‘stay’, sak ‘can’, paa ‘manage’ and cuk ‘finish’), the product is not resultive. Each of these verbs behaves differently and is somewhere between a resultive and an auxiliary verb construction.

This work can be extended to other verb-verb construction in Urdu and other related and non-related languages as well. The analysis of the precise function of the RCs can also help in developing a model for them in various functional grammars. The proposed properties of RCs can be utilized in the semantic analysis of the Urdu quantifiers. This work should aid in identification and explanation of constructions in other languages, particularly those that are non-negatable under normal contexts.

[1] All second inflected verbs with the exception of four special verbs rah ‘stay’, sak ‘can’, paa ‘manage’ and cuk ‘finish’. These four special verbs are either auxiliaries or modals as identified in prior literature.