Many languages of the World display the possibility of stacking more than one verb displaying the same inflectional features, in the presence or absence of a linking element homophonous to a coordinative conjunction, as represented in (1):

(1) V1[TAM.Agr]x (and) V2[TAM.Agr]x

What is striking about (1) is the fact that it is not interpreted as a coordination of two events occurring at the same time but as a single complex event, with V1 having scope over V2, an interpretation that is usually realised with a non-finite form of V2.

This construction is also known with other names, such as Asymmetric Conjunction (Ross 1968, Schmerling 1975), Double Verb Construction and Fake Coordination (Carden and Pesetsky 1977), Inflected Construction (Cardinaletti and Giusti 2001), Doubly Inflected Construction (Cruschina 2013), TMA-Copying Construction (Wiklund 2007), but the term Pseudo-Coordination is usually shared more generally.

Among the languages of Europe, Pseudo-Coordination has been reported in Germanic and Romance, in particular in English (cf. also Jaeggli and Hyams 1993), Swedish (cf. Wiklund 1996), Norwegian (cf. Lødrup 2002), Afrikaans (cf. de Vos 2005, Biberauer and Vikner 2015) and Faroese (cf. Heycock and Petersen 2012, Ross 2015) and Southern Italo-Romance varieties, such as Sicilian (also cf. Cardinaletti and Giusti 2003, Di Caro and Giusti 2015) and Apulian (Ledgeway 2015).

Despite the high degree of variation, Pseudo-Coordination is characterized by the following peculiar properties:

i. It is generally not fully productive, being restricted to few moods, tenses and/or persons yielding grammatical results.

ii. It is only possible with a very restricted class of V1, which comprise motion or posture verbs and few other “light” verbs.

iii. It co-varies with a restructured Infinitival Construction (V1[TAM.Agr]x connector V2[-Finite]).

iv. The Pseudo-Coordinator can be optional/obligatory/or missing according to V1 election and or TMA-specifications.

Pseudo-Coordination challenges a number of generally held assumptions:

    • The presence of two full TAM+Subject agreement feature realizations challenges the one-to-one correspondence of Time reference and its morphosyntactic realization, which is generally observed across languages.
    • The possibility for motion verbs as V1 to embed causative verbs (cf. Cardinaletti and Giusti 2001) challenges the cartographic hierarchy of restructuring verbs (Cinque 2006).
    • The restrictions to specific TAM/Agr specifications cast doubt on the assumption that syntax is independent of (inflectional) morphology (Corbett 2016).
    • The coexistence with the Infinitival Construction challenges general assumptions of optimal design and phase theory (Chomsky 2005, Gallego 2010).

In a comparative perspective, differences and similarities with other complex predicate phenomena divide the literature. Some scholars emphasize the differences with either Serial Verb Constructions (cf. Baker 1989, Pollock 1994, Jeaggli and Hyams 1993 for English); and/or the Subjunctive-for-Infinitive (cf. Cardinaletti and Giusti 2001, 2016, for Sicilian vs. Southern Calabrian). Others analyze Pseudo-Coordinations as instances of more general phenomena such as the Subjunctive-for-Infinitive in Balkan languages and Serial Verb Constructions, (cf. Roberts and Roussou 2003, Manzini and Savoia 2005). In this perspective the differences among the different complex verb constructions could be taken to be different steps towards grammaticalization of V1 from fully lexical V to semilexical restructuring V, to functional/aspectual auxiliary (Ledgeway 2015).

The aim of the conference is to bring linguists of any theoretical persuasion and specialization to start a cross-theoretical, cross-disciplinary, cross-areal reflection on some of the following issues (but not limited to them):

    • Is Pseudo-Coordination a general property of language, or is it a signal of instability in the system due to an on-going change and/or triggered by contact?
    • How can it be captured in a general perspective on Serial Verb Constructions (Aikhenvald and Dixon 2006, Haspelmath 2016)?
    • Is the semantics of Pseudo-Coordination compositional? How does it interface with morphosyntax?
    • Can the micro-variation found across cognate languages (e.g. among Sicilian dialects or among Scandinavian dialects) be captured by morphomic patterns? Or is a syntactic account needed?
    • What are the general properties of Complex Verb Constructions with respect to mono- vs. biclausal structures, restructuring and grammaticalization?
    • What is the synchronic status of the pseudo-coordinator?
    • Is it possible to create a set of dependable diagnostics to distinguish Pseudo-Coordination from biclausal subjunctive-for-infinite constructions (e.g. in Salentino, Calabrese 1993) and/or restructured infinitives (Cinque 2006)?
    • What is it that makes Pseudo-Coordination possible in some languages and impossible in others? Can this property be expressed in a parameter theory?
    • How can the restrictions be motivated? Can they be derived by a more general theory of markedness?


Aikhenvald, A. Y.; Dixon, R. M. W. (eds.) (2006). Serial Verb Constructions: A Cross-Linguistic Typology. OUP.

Baker, M. C. (1989). Object Sharing and Projection in Serial Verb Constructions. Linguistic Inquiry 20.4, pp. 513-553.

Biberauer, T.; Vikner, S. (2015). Pseudo-coordination in Danish and Afrikaans. Ms. University of Cambridge.

Calabrese, A. (1993). The Sentential Complementation of Salentino: A Study of a Language without Infinitival Clauses. In: Belletti, A. (ed.), Syntactic Theory and the Dialects of Italy. Turin: Rosenberg & Sellier, pp. 28-98.

Carden, G.; Pesetsky, D. (1977). Double-Verb Constructions, Markedness, and a Fake Coordination. Papers from the Thirteenth Regional Meeting of the Chicago Linguistic Society, pp. 82-92.

Cardinaletti, A.; Giusti, G. (2001). ‘Semi-lexical’ Motion Verbs in Romance and Germanic. In: Corver, N.; Van Riemsdijk, H. (eds.), Semi-lexical categories. Berlin: De Gruyter, pp. 371-414.

Cardinaletti, A.; Giusti, G. (2003). Motion Verbs as Functional Heads. In: Tortora, C. (ed.), The Syntax of Italian Dialects. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 31-49.

Cardinaletti, A.; Giusti, G. (2016). Multiple Agreement in Southern Italian Dialects. ms. Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

Cinque, G. (2006). Restructuring and Functional Heads: The Cartography of Syntactic Structure, 4. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chomsky, A. N. (2005). Three factors in Language design. Linguistic Inquiry 36.1, pp.1-22.

Cruschina, S. (2013). Beyond the Stem and Inflectional Morphology: an Irregular Pattern at the Level of Periphrasis. In: Cruschina, S.; Maiden, M.; Smith, J. C. (eds.), The Boundaries of Pure Morphology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 262-283.

Di Caro, V. N.; Giusti, G. (2015). A protocol for the Inflected Construction in Sicilian dialects. Annali di Ca’ Foscari, serie occidentale, vol. 49, pp. 393-422.

Giusti, G. (2011). Structural Protocols for Linguistic Awareness Enhancing Language Identity [online]. Research project at CRASSH. University of Cambridge, October-December 2011. Available at

Haspelmath, M. (2016). The Serial Verb Construction. Comparative Concepts and Cross-linguistic Generalizations. Language and Linguistics 17.3, pp. 291-319.

Heycock, C; Petersen, H. (2012). Pseudo-coordinations in Faroese. In Braunmüller, K; Gabriel C. (Eds.), Multilingual individuals and multilingual societies, pp. 259-280. Hamburg Studies on Multilingualism, Vol. 13. John Benjamins.

Jaeggli, O.; Hyams, N. (1993). On the Independence and Interdependence of Syntactic and Morphological Properties: English Aspectual Come and Go. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 11, pp. 313-346.

Joseph, B.; Zwicky, A. (eds.) (1990). When Verbs Collide: Papers from the Ohio State Mini-Conference on Serial Verbs. Working papers in Linguistics, 39. Columbus, OH.

Ledgeway, A. (2015). From Coordination to Subordination: the Grammaticalisation of Progressive and Andative Aspect in the Dialects of Salento. In: Cardoso, A.; Martins, A. M.; Pereira, S.; Pinto, C.; Pratas, F. (eds.), Coordination and Subordination. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lødrup, H. (2002). The syntactic structures of Norwegian pseudocoordination. Studia Linguistica, 56, pp. 121-143.

Manzini, M. R.; Savoia, L. M. (2005). I dialetti Italiani e Romanci: Morfosintassi Generativa. Alessandria: Edizioni dell’Orso.

Pollock, JY. (1994). Checking Theory and Bare Verbs. In: Cinque. G.; Köster, J.; Pollock, JY.; L. Rizzi and L. Zanuttini (eds.), Paths toward Universal Grammar: Studies in Honor of Richard S. Kayne. Washingtown D.C.: Georgetown University Press. 293-310.

Rizzi L.; Zanuttini R. (eds.), Paths Towards Universal Grammar. Studies in Honor of Richard S. Kayne, pp. 293-310. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press.

Roberts, I.; Roussou A. (2003). Syntactic Change. A minimalist approach to grammaticalization. CUP.

Ross, D. (2015). What can Faroese pseudocoordination tell us about English inflection? LSO Working Papers in Linguistics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 10.

Ross, J. R. (1968). Constraints on variables in syntax. Bloomington, Ind. Indiana University Linguistic Club.

Schmerling, S.. (1975). Asymmetric conjunction and rules of conversation. In Cole, P. and Morgan, J. (Eds.), Speech Acts, Volume 3 of Syntax and Semantics, pp. 211–231. New York: Academic Press.

de Vos, M. (2005). The syntax of verbal pseudocoordination in English and Afrikaans. LOT Dissertation Series 114. Utrecht: LOT.

Wiklund, AL. (1996). Pseudocoordination is subordination. Working Papers in Scandinavian Syntax, 58, pp. 29-54.

Wiklund, AL. (2007). The Syntax of Tenselessness. Tense/Mood/Aspect-agreeing Infinitivals. Berlin: De Gruyter.

Scientific Board

Giuliana Giusti, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (chair)

Anna Cardinaletti, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Vincenzo Nicolò Di Caro, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Iliana Krapova, Ca' Foscari University of Venice

Adam Ledgeway, University of Cambridge

Silvio Cruschina, University of Vienna

Important Dates:

28 February 2017: Deadline for submission

15 March 2017: Notification of acceptance by the workshop organizers;

2-3 May 2017: Workshop on Pseudo-Coordination and Multiple Agreement Constructions.