This book describes the diversity of serial verb constructions within Oceanic languages. Serial verb constructions are sequences of verbs placed one after another to express meanings which in other languages are typically expressed by means of single verbs. It has long been established that West African, Southeast Asian and Papuan languages are serializing languages, but the construction has only comparatively recently been recognized in Oceanic languages, which belong to a very large sub-group of the Austronesian family. Terry Crowley demonstrates that patterns of serial verbs can exhibit structural diversity even within a single language. He examines how serial verbs originate, investigating issues such as language contact and functional issues in language change. Serial verbs are often subject to reanalysis and this book investigates how they have developed new grammatical functions in different languages. Serial Verbs in Oceanic will interest typologists, those concerned with Austronesian languages in particular, and syntactic change in general, as well as linguists interested in Austronesian, language contact, linguistic typology, and syntactic change.
Terry Crowley was Associate Professor in the Department of General and Applied Linguistics at the University of Waikato. He has researched languages in Vanuatu for 25 years, and has written about the Paamese and Erromangan languages. He has produced a dictionary of Bislama, and a detailed account of its historical development.