I am reading a paper "Aspectual Categories in Navajo" and the author refers to something called a "verb constellation:"

Verb constellations are associated with the situation types of a language. Since certain temporal semantic features are intrinsic to a given situation concept, they are expressed by the verb constellation. In the discussion, I use brackets for verb constellations [...]

The term is not defined in the paper, and I was unable to find a definition by Googling. Based on the context, I think the term may be specific to generative grammar.

For additional reference, the author refers to "[Mary walk by the river]" as an example of a verb constellation. To me, this just looks like a sentence with the verbal morphology removed, but I assume something more interesting is being done.


There is in the paper...'The verb and its arguments, or verb constellation...', this is your definition.

If I right understand this, author uses this specially for the description of the Navajo, because there a lot of sentences, where the most of statements are codified instantly in the used words (see the close phenomena: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Verb_framing ). So [ni.....łnąą] is more contrastive to show aspectual or another features. As far as I understood it.

[Mary walk by the river] is 'verb and its arguments', and they convey the meaning {Mary walk by the river}. It will be more clearly if we do that: [Mary...walk ...by...the river] and {Mary-walk-by-the-river}. Or even, hypothetical language verb constellation [Mry..wlk-by..thrvr] that conveys the meaning {Mary walk by the river} and can be parsed as Mary walked by the river.


Maybe here:

http://whamit.mit.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/KeineBhatt2016InterpretingVerbClusters.pdf https://homepage.univie.ac.at/susanne.wurmbrand/Susi/ewExternalFiles/SynCom1.pdf https://userpages.uni-koblenz.de/~harbusch/KempenHarbuschVerbClusters.pdf

Seems to be the reanalyzed term 'verb clusters'~'verb constellations'.

  • No, I don't think that's it. In the paper I referenced, the author talks about verb constellations in clauses with only one verb, while the papers you cite seem to use the term verb cluster to refer to an auxiliary and its matrix verb together.
    – Andrew Ray
    Apr 25 '21 at 3:05
  • If you put that into the answer, I can go ahead and accept.
    – Andrew Ray
    Apr 25 '21 at 19:59

It turns out the author did define the term very briefly and somehow I misread the sentence. It is defined as "the verb and its arguments."

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