Feb 22, 2012
Tridha Chaterjee presented a paper at the Berkeley Linguistics Society's 38th Annual Meeting on February 11th. The paper is titled "Bilingual Compound Verbs: So what's new about them?"
New code-switching (CS) data from Bengali-English bilinguals show bilingual compound verb (BCV) constructions that are slightly different from the structure of BCVs that have been reported so far. BCV constructions are characterized by two verbs occurring contiguously, the first verb being an embedded language lexical verb and the second verb a matrix language helping verb such as ‘do’ or ‘make’ (Muysken 2000, Backus 1996, Edwards and Gardner-Chloros 2007). For example, educate kora ‘to do educate’ is a regular BCV in Bengali-English bilingual speech where the first verb is in English, or the embedded language, and the second verb is a helping verb in Bengali, the matrix language. However, some BCVs in Bengali-English CS speech have three verbs occurring adjacent to each other, where each verb performs a specific function. For example, organize kore dieche ‘has organized’ has three verbs; the English verb gives meaning, the Bengali verb kore is a helping verb and the third verb dieche expresses aspectual as well as semantic information. This paper shows how the three-verb compounds differ from their two-verb counterparts and how knowledge of two Bengali structures, conjunct and compound verbs influences the formation of these compounds in bilingual speech.