Depictive secondary predicates in crosslinguistic perspective

Eva Schultze-Berndt, Nikolaus P. Himmelmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Little is known about depictive secondary predicates such as raw in She ate the fish raw in languages other than a few European ones. The goal of this paper is to broaden the database for this grammatical construction by reviewing its recurring formal properties, introducing a crosslinguistically applicable definition and delimiting it from other, semantically and/or morphosyntactically similar constructions. In particular, we will show that the distinction between depictives and adverbials is much less clearcut, both in formal and semantic terms, than is often assumed. First, languages may not formally distinguish the two construction types. Second, in languages with genuine depictive constructions distinct from adverbials, expressions that have generally been analysed as adverbials (e.g., expressions of concomitance, manner, location, and even time) may exhibit the formal properties of depictives. As a consequence, we argue that adverbial and depictive constructions are in competition, in the sense that languages may have different cut-off points for the two construction types on an implicational hierarchy ranging from typical depictive content to typical adverbial content. Copyright © 2004 by Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-131
Number of pages72
JournalLinguistic Typology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2004


  • Adjunct
  • Adverbial
  • Agreement
  • Case
  • Complex predicate
  • Control
  • Converb
  • Depictive
  • Predicate complement
  • Resultative
  • Secondary predication
  • Small clause
  • Word class


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