LINGUIST List 9.1812

Sat Dec 19 1998

Sum: GO+and+VERB Constructions

Editor for this issue: Jody Huellmantel <>


  1. Anatol Stefanowitsch, GO+and+VERB constructions (Epilog)

Message 1: GO+and+VERB constructions (Epilog)

Date: Fri, 18 Dec 1998 17:13:45 -0600
From: Anatol Stefanowitsch <>
Subject: GO+and+VERB constructions (Epilog)

A few months ago I posted a summary dealing with the go+and+verb
construction and similar constructions in English and other languages
(LINGUIST 9-1298). The summary triggered more replies than my original
query, so an update seems to be in order. The replies dealt with the
following topics: (i) more on the go+and+verb construction and related
constructions in English, especially the up+and+verb construction;
(ii) more on V+and+V constructions in Scandinavian languages; (iii)
coordinated verb constructions in Finnish; (iv) V+and+V constructions
in Romance languages; (v) German infinitival complementation and (vi)
coordinated verb constructions in Japanese. I have simply summarized
the replies under the headings of each respective language (this
message should be read as an epilog to the original summary).

1 English

1.1 The up+and+VERB construction

Daniel Curry Hall <>, Karl Reinhard
<>, Kate McCreight Young <>,
Jean-Charles Khalifa <>, and Nick Quaintmere
<> all discussed the
up+and+VERB construction in English.

Daniel and Jean-Charles both supplied examples from the OED, and noted
that they "carry connotations of simplicity, spontaneity, and
sometimes audacity," (Daniel) and have "inchoative values" (Jean-Ch.),
which makes the construction very similar to the Polish take+and+VERB
construction mentioned in the first summary:

(1) The Italian up and told him all

(2) Suddenly the division up and marches to Aldershot

Daniel and Karl both pointed out that the 'up' can also be inflected
for tense ('He upped and left her'), which means that it must be a
verb (in fact the OED lists the construction twice, once with 'up' as
a preposition, once with 'up' as a verb).

Kate pointed out the possible semantic connections of the up+and+VERB
construction to other uses of 'up': "Perhaps the 'up' here is
directional, as in 'get up and go' or perhaps it has to do with
aspect/completion, as in 'eat up your dinner'." Daniel notes that,
although 'up' is "no longer commonly used as a verb in the sense of
'rise,' it can still mean 'raise' as in 'They've upped the ante.'

1.2 Intonation and the go+and+VERB construction

Suzette Haden Elgin <> called attention to the fact that
intonation plays a crucial role in the interpretation of go+and+VERB
constructions, "especially with regard to whether they are neutral or
pejorative," which she takes to be "the essential distinction". She
gives the following examples:

(3) a. Why did you go and pick up pizza?
 b. WHY did you go and pick up pizza?
 c. Oh, go and pick up PIZza, for heaven's sake!

Suzette points out that example (3a) is likely to be interpreted as a
neutral request for information, and the 'go' will be interpreted
literally. Example (3b) will receive quite a different interpretation,
although it differs from (3a) only in intonation and the rhythm of the
go+and+verb construction (i.e., the 'and' is reduced). Because of the
heavy stress on the WHY, the utterance is likely to be interpreted as
an accusation, and hence the go+and+VERB sequence will be taken to
express that the speaker thinks it was stupid to get pizza (one of the
non-literal meanings mentioned in the dictionary definitions I quoted
in the original summary. Example (3c) also encourages a pejorative
reading, but not in the same way as in (3b): according to Suzette,
"the most probable reading of (3c) is that someone has been going on
and on and on about not knowing what to fix for dinner, or not knowing
how to help with preparation for a party, or some such thing, and has
exhausted the patience of his or her spouse -- who then says, 'Oh, go
and get PIZZA, for heaven's sakes!'." It seems to me that both (3b)
and (3c) are examples of how intonational cues not directly related to
the go+and+verb construction can influence its interpretation. For
example, the heavy stress on WHY in (3b) would turn any interrogative
sentence into an accusation, and the go+and+VERB sequence simply picks
up on this negative reading. The role of intonation is certainly an
interesting issue, since it seems to be one of the factors which help
to disambiguate a given example of the go+and+VERB construction. In
addition to intonation there seem to be other subtle contextual,
lexical, and even morphological factors, which I have only just
started to work out--for example, a pejorative interpretation seems to
be much more likely if the expression is in the past perfect.

2 Scandinavian languages

2.1 Swedish

Jan Lindstrom <>, who supplied the Swedish
data discussed in the last summary, noted that the 'unexpectedness'
reading mentioned in connection with the English go+and+verb
construction seems to be the "common denominator" for the different
uses of the Swedish construction as well.

He also noted that because the V+and+V constructions are typical of
colloquial Swedish,"some uses have in fact been regarded as bad
language," and names Wellander (1965) as an example. Finally, he
mentioned Hulden (1961), which deals with "a wide variety of
coordinated expressions in the language of the Swedish national poet
Carl Michael Bellmann."

Kim Blewett <> also noted an interesting fact:
"Minnesotan English, heavily influenced by Swedish and Norwegian, is
full of such expressions."

Gunlog Josefsson <> drew my attention
to her paper 'Pseudocoordination - a VP + VP coordination' (Josefsson
1991), which contains a detailed description of the Scandinavian
construction and also briefly discusses V+and+V constructions (or
their absence) in Icelandic, German, English, and French. She also
noted a mistake on my part in the reference to Wiklund (1996), which
appears in its correct form in the references section of this summary.

2.2 Danish

Soren Harder <> noted that Danish has
construction which is equivalent to non-aspectual uses of the Swedish
construction (examples (15-17) in the original summary):

(4) Lad os gaa hen og danse i aften
 Let us go over and dance tonight

(5) Han var gaaet hen og havde gifted sig
 He had gone over and had married REFL

(6) At drengen skulle gaa hen og do saa tidligt
 That the boy should go over and die so young

Thus, in addition to the gaa+og+VERB construction which expresses
Danish uses the construction gaa-hen+og+VERB to express either literal
movement (4), or an 'unexpectedness/undesirability' meaning (5 and
6). In the former, but not in the latter, the expressions
gaa+ned+og+VERB (go down and...) or gaa+op+og+VERB (go up and...) can
also be used.

3 Finnish

Jan Lindstrom <> also mentioned a
construction in Finnish, which also seems to carry connotations of
undesirability or unexpectedness:

(7) Mita" sina" olet mennyt tekema"a"n?!
 'What have you gone to-do(ing)'

(8) Olet mennyt nolaaman itesi!
 'You have gone and made a fool of yourself'

Jan notes that this is "in principle a construction like 'gone and
done/made,' but Finnish does not usually use coordination here but a
combination of an active verb (OLET MENNYT 'have gone') and an
infinitive in an appropriate locative case form." It would be
interesting to know whether this construction developed independently
in Finnish and the Scandinavian languages, or whether it spread
through areal contact.

4 Romance languages

4.1 The go+and+VERB construction in Spanish

Ignasi Adiego <> and Jose Camacho
<> both noted that the go+and+VERB
construction can also be found in Spanish:

(9) a. El chico va y se cae
 The boy goes and REFL falls
 b. *Pedro no va y se cae
 Pedro not goes and REFL falls
 c. Pedro va y no se cae
 Pedro goes and not REFL falls

Ignasi characterized the meaning of (9a) as "just/precisely then...,"
pointing out that the construction is in this respect similar to
Polish take+and+VERB and certain uses of English go+and+VERB. Jose
drew attention to certain syntactic restrictions on the construction
which indicate "that the coordination involves projections above the
sentential level; in particular, the GO part cannot be negated," as
examples (9b, c) show. He notes that "if the conjunction involves a
projection above negation (or at the level of negation), these facts
can be explained." Jose has a forthcoming paper on the Spanish
construction (Arnaiz and Camacho, to appear).

4.2 Verb+Infinitive in Spanish

John Ramsay <> pointed out that a number of
Spanish verbs take the bare infinitive, and suggests that a
comparative study of Spanish and English might be interesting (cf. in
this context German infinitival complementation in Section 5 below).

4.3 VERB+and+VERB constructions in Italian

Andrea Sanso <> supplied examples of two
VERB+and+VERB constructions from southern Italian dialects (and gives
Rohlfs 1954 as a reference).

First, the construction stare+a+VERB ('stay+and+VERB') is used in the
present tense or the imperfect to express "something close to (but not
coincident with) the English progressive":

(10) a. Ce ston a 'ffachene (Ceglie Messapico, LE)
 What stay.3pl and do.3pl
 'What are they doing'
 b. Sto ffazo (Ostuni, BR)
 Stay.1sg do
 'I'm doing...'
 c. Sta mmangia'ne (Neviano, LE)
 Stay.3sg ate.3pl

Andrea notes that there is a cline of grammaticalization in these
examples: in (10b) "the only trace of 'a' is the redoublement of the
first syllable of the second verb," and in (10c) the first verb always
appears in the 3rd person singular.

Second, the take+and+VERB construction discussed in the first summary
can be found with an inchoative meaning in the dialects of Soverato,
Lecce, Sicily, and Ragusa. In the dialect of Ragusa, 'take' does not
have a full inflectional paradigm in such constructions, but is always
used in the 3rd person singular.

5 German

Philippa Cook <> brought to my attention
invinitival compementation construction in German which despite some
fundamental differences is certainly similar to some of the other
constructions discussed in the summary. She is interested in comments
on this construction, so I'll quote the relevant part of her message
in full:

 Did anyone supply any comments about bare infinitival complementation
 (so no 'and' present) in German with verbs such as 'sitzen/liegen/
 hngen + bleiben' = 'sit/lie/hang + stay 'or with motion verbs e.g.
 'schwimmen + gehen/fahren', 'besuchen + kommen' and similar ? Or in
 fact any data on Modern German ? It's the use of verbs bleiben
 (stay), gehen (go), fahren (go), finden (find), machen (make) with
 a following bare infinitive which interest me in particular.

6 Japanese

Finally, I asked for refereces concerning the Japanese coordinated
verb construction. Megumi Eddison <> supplied
me with the complete list of references from her recent MA thesis on
this subject (Eddison 1997). I have only included the two most recent
English publications here (Hamada 1989, Hasegawa 1993).


ARNAIZ, Alfredo, CAMACHO, Jose. To appear. 'A topic auxiliary in
Spanish.' In F. Martinez-Gil and J Gutierrez-Reixach (eds.), Advances
in Hispanic Linguistics. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.

EDDISON, Megumi. 1997. The use of IKU ('go') and KURU ('come') as
auxiliaries in Japanese. MA sub-thesis. Asian Studies, Australian
National University, Canberra.

HAMADA, M. 1989. 'Iku/kuru and -te-iku/-te-kuru in Japanese.' Sophia
Linguistica 27, 47-56.

HASEGAWA, Y. 1993. 'Prototype semantics: A case study of TE
K-/IK-constructions in Japanese.' Language & Communication 13.1:

HULDEN, Lars. 1961. 'Om samordning hos Bellman.' Studier i Nordisk
Filologi 51. Helsingfors: Svenska Litteratursallskapet, pp. 7-149.

JOSEFSSON, Gunlog. 1991. 'Pseudocoordination - a VP + VP
coordination.' Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax 47. Dept. of
Scandinavian Languages, University of Lund, 130-156.

ROHLFS, G. 1954. Historische Grammatik der Italienischen Sprache und
ihrer Mundarten [A historical grammar of the Italian language and its
dialects]. Bern: Francke.

WELLANDER, Erik Ludvig. 1965. Riktig svenska: en handledning i svenska
sprakets vard. Third edition. Stockholm: Norstedt.

WIKLUND, Anna-Lena. 1996. 'Pseudocoordination is subordination.'
Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax 58. Dept. of Scandinavian
Languages, University of Lund, 29-53.

Thanks to all of you mentioned above, who--again--replied in so much
detail! Thanks also to those whose suggestions I have not yet
followed up.

Author's address:

Anatol Stefanowitsch
Rice University
Dept. of Linguistics - MS 23
6100 Main Street
Houston, Texas 77005-1892
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