LINGUIST List 11.2416

Wed Nov 8 2000

Sum: Non-English Secondary Predication

Editor for this issue: Marie Klopfenstein <>


  1. Jose-Luis Mendivil, Sum: Non English Secondary Predication

Message 1: Sum: Non English Secondary Predication

Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2000 20:03:37 +0100
From: Jose-Luis Mendivil <>
Subject: Sum: Non English Secondary Predication

Dear Linguist listers:

About two weeks ago I posted a query asking for examples of 
constructions such as 'Sarah ran her shoes threadbare' and the like 
from other languages than English.

First, I must show my gratitude to the persons who responded to my 
request for information.

Those kind people were (in no particular order):

Georgia M. Green
Leena S. Kolehmainen
Helge Lodrup
Madalena Cruz-Ferreira
Geert Craps
Stefan Mueller
Larry (sorry, no second name in his message)
Karen Steffen Chung
Katrin Hiietam
Hans C. Boas

(Please, accept my apologies if I have not included your name).

Some respondents gave references to their own work, usually with 
insightful discussion, others even offered to send me a copy of their 
work on the topic (unpublished or not), and almost all of them gave 
me quite clear examples from several languages (including discussion 
and answers to my questions).

The main references are the following:

Green G.M. (1975) "Tracing the source of a lexical gap" In Diachronic 
Studies in Romance Linguistics, ed. M. Saltarelli and D. Wanner. The 
Hague: Mouton.

H. Lodrup (2000) "Underspecification in Lexical Mapping Theory: The 
Case of Norwegian Existentials and Resultatives". In Argument 
Realization. eds. M. Butt and T. Holloway King. Stanford: CSLI 

S. Mueller (in press?) Complex Predicates: Verbal Complexes, 
Resultative Constructions and Particle Verbs in German. A book draft 
available as PDF or PS documents at:

(Hans C. Boas let me know about his dissertation on resultative 
constructions in English and German, and he's kindly sending me a 
hard copy, but by now I ignore both title and University).

Here are the examples I got:

1) Leena Kolehmainen on Finnish:

Leena offered transations of my English examples:

Peter watered the roses	flat
Pekka kasteli ruusut lyttyyn.
Peter water.PRET.3SG rose.PL.ACC flat.ILL

Mary kicked the door open
Mari potkaisi oven auki.
Mary kick.PRET.3SG door.SG.ACC open.

Sarah ran his shoes threadbare
Saara juoksi kenk=E4ns=E4 puhki.
Sarah ran.PRET.3SG shoe.PL.ACC.POSSSUFF threadbare.

And she added other similar constructions:

a) with a "transitive" verb
Pekka pesi vaatteet pilalle.
Peter wash.PRET.3SG clothe.PL.ACC damaged.
'Peter spoiled the clothes in the wash'.

b) with an "intransitive" verb
Saara ui itsens=E4 uuvuksiin.
Sarah swimm.PRET.3SG herself tired.
'Sarah swamm herself tired'

=46ollowing Leena, the transitive use of "conventionally intransitive" 
verbs does not limit in Finnish to cases where there is a resultative 
expression. There are "intransitive" verbs that can productively be 
used in transitive sentences:

Pekka ui maailmanmestaruuden.
Peter swimm.PRET.3SG world-championship.ACC
'Peter reached/wan the world championship at swimming.'

2) Helge Lodrup on Norwegian:

Han feide gulvet rent
'He swept the-floor clean'

Han loep asfalten tynn
'He ran the-asphalt thin'

Han loep seg svett
'He ran REFLEXIVE sweaty'

Kjoettet har hengt seg moert
'The-meat has hung REFLEXIVE tender'

According to Helge only atelic unaccusatives take adjectival 
resultatives in Norwegian. So there are no parallels to English 
sentences like _The bottle broke open_ in Norwegian. In this language 
unaccusatives take a reflexive object with adjectival resultatives, 
as in her last example.

3) Madalena Cruz-Ferreira on Portuguese and Swedish:


(Depois de falar com tanta viol=EAncia), ele deixou o p=FAblico assustado.
(After he spoke with such violence), he-leave+past t.-the-audience-frightene=

Ele cortou a relva rente.
He-cut+past t.-the-grass-bare.
Ele fez-me infeliz. (link verb, probably not what you want?)
He-make+past t.- clitic me-unhappy.

As Madalena pointed out to me, these examples do not match my query 
as there is a really 'causative' verb.

Swedish (a selection from the long list given by Madalena):

Han skrattade ihj=E4l sig. ("skratta" is Vi)
He-laugh+past t.-to+death-himself
(He died laughing)

Han =E5t sig m=E4tt
He-eat+past t.-himself-satisfied
(He ate his fill)

Han trampade ihj=E4l spindeln.
He-crush+past t.-to+death-spider+the
(He crushed the spider to death, the verb means "crush with the feet")

Han pratade s=F6nder barnen
He-talk+past t.-broken-children+the
(Madalena writes: 'difficult to translate in one short sentence. 
Something like: He talked so much and so often to the children that 
they stopped paying any attention to whatever he says')

Han drack sig medvetsl=F6s.
He-drink+past t.-himself-unconscious
(He drank himself unconscious)

Han sparkade d=F6rren =F6ppen.
He-kick+past t.-door+the-open
(He kicked the door open)

4) Geert Craps on Dutch (again a selection of the most interesting 
cases from a complete list):

Hilda wreef mijn voeten warm
Hilda rubbed my feet warm

De boom groeit krom
The tree grows crooked

De courgettes koken gaar
The zucchini cook tender

De buis vriest kapot
The tube freezes broken

Het gras regende plat
The grass rained flat

Jan loopt zijn schoenen kapot
John walks his shoes broke/to shreds

Ze zingt zich schor
She sings herself hoarse

Moeder stampte de bessen tot moes
Mother mashed the berries to puree

Geert remarks that his examples are taken from W. Haeseryn et al. 
"Algemene Nederlandse Spraakkunst"; Groningen/Deurne, Martinus 
Nijhoff/Wolters-Plantyn, p. 1128 ff.)

5) Larry on German:

Er lief sich die Schuhsohlen durch.
* He walked holes in the soles of his shoes.

Er pruegelte den Hund zu Tode.
He beat the dog (until it was) dead.

Sie rieb sich wund.
* She rubbed herself (until the skin area subjected to rubbing was) sore.

Wir malten den Zaun schwarz an.
We painted the fence black.

(Please, note that the quoted works by S. Mueller and H. Boas deal 
with German, too)

6) Karen Steffen Chung on Mandarin Chinese:

1. ba3 yan3 lei4 ca1 gan1
take eye tear wipe dry
'dry your tears'

2. Zhang1 san1 ba3 xie2zi chuan1 po4 le
Zhangsan take shoe wear torn/broken asp. particle
'Zhangsan wore his shoes out'

7) Katrin Hiietam on Estonian:

Peeter kastis roosid m=E4rjaks.
P.NOM watered.3.SG roses.NOM wet.TRANSL.SG
'Peter watered the roses wet.'

Nevertheless, Katrin remarks that there is a restriction regarding 
the English example with 'flat' and not 'wet'.

Mari l=F5i ukse lahti.
M.NOM kicked.3.SG door.GEN open
'Mary kicked the door open.'

Mari jooksis oma kingad tallatuks.
M.NOM ran.3.SG own.GEN shoes.NOM soleless.TRANSL
(Katrin says that altough the idiomatic English translation would be: 
'Sarah ran her shoes threadbare' what you get is 'Mari ran her shoes 
without soles' (i.e. 'soleless' so to say).

Again, thank you very much to all.

Best Regards,
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