Persian perception verbs


  • Ash Asudeh University of Rochester/Carleton University
  • Siavash Rafiee Rad Leiden University


complex predicates, perception verbs, Persian, argument structure, compositionality, syntax-semantics interface, Glue Semantics, LFG+Glue


The syntax and semantics of verbs related to sensory perception has been a continuing subject of investigation in the field of linguistics. In terms of syntax, defining what types of grammatical arguments these verbs take and how and why the types of these arguments vary among perception verbs have been the main topics of discussion. In terms of semantics, the focus has primarily been on determining the thematic roles of the arguments of perception verbs and, relatedly, on determining what relationship they have to the event that they predicate of. This paper makes three main contributions. First, we present a novel analysis of perception verbs in Persian, a significant number of which feature complex predicates. In doing so, we encounter two main challenges: 1. The requirement for a general syntax/semantics for complex predicates that works in both perceptual and non-perceptual contexts; and 2. A generalized analysis that accounts for semantic entailments (which we here discuss only in the context of perception verbs). Second, in meeting challenge 1, we provide a novel account of Persian complex predicates using Glue Semantics. Third, we discuss how the makeup of Persian complex predicates provides significant insights into the overall conceptual/argument structure of perception constructions more generally, especially with regards to languages, like English, where this is hidden by fuller lexicalization.