Chapter 3: Adpositions and Verbs
One perhaps might not think that adpositions could easily be confused with verbs, but the similarity between these classes has been noted by Roegiest (1977:420), who says, “Le rôle de la préposition est très proche de celui du verbe, qui indique aussi une relation”. Svorou (2007:739) says, “In a number of African and Asian languages, verbs in certain constructions, such as serial-verb constructions and participial con- structions, function as ‘coverbs,’ or ‘verbids,’ that is, as adpositions but with some verbal characteristics”. I will discuss coverbs and verbids later in this chapter. In the previous chapter we saw that some authors use the presence of inflec- tion to argue for nominal rather than adpositional status of some words. Pullum and Huddleston (2002:610), in their section “Prepositions vs. Verbs”, also bring up inflection, but mention a problem with it:1 “For the most part, verbs are clearly distinguishable from prepositions by their ability to occur as head of a main clause and to inflect for tense. There are, however, a number of prepositions that have arisen through the conversion of secondary, non-tensed, forms of verbs”. That is, in English some verb forms are (arguably) not marked for tense, and the criterion of bearing tense marking cannot be applied to them. Among the exam- ples which they then (ibid.) provide are the following: (1a) [Barring accidents], they should be back today. (1b) [Given his age], a shorter prison sentence is appropriate. The lack of an...
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