This study addresses semantic and syntactic issues concerning the
combination of elements of the category P (adpositions, verbal prefixes and
particles) with verbs of motion and (change of) location in the description
of motion events.
The general proposal is guided by the idea of a division of labour between
spatial PPs and verbal predicates in structuring an event and contributing
to its overall aspectual make-up. It is postulated that there are two main
ways to combine PPs with verbs, namely as predicate modifiers (VP adjuncts)
or as secondary resultative predicates (complements to V). Special
attention is paid to the latter possibility, which is analysed as involving
complex predicate formation and deriving an accomplishment event structure.
Empirical support for this analysis is brought forward by a detailed
investigation of English, Dutch, German, Russian and Czech data.
Furthermore, a broader range of data discussed in the literature, such as
Romance languages and data from language acquisition, is taken into account
to address the more general crosslinguistic variation in the description of
motion events. New constraints on such complex predicate formation are
formulated and direct parallels are drawn to complex predicate formation
with other secondary resultative predicates, in particular adjectives.
This thesis is of relevance to researchers of various linguistic
backgrounds concerned with the interaction between semantics and syntax,
typology, and more specifically to those interested in the area of event
structure, inner aspect, and spatial meanings.