Hindi pseudo-incorporation

Veneeta Dayal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


This paper argues that Hindi incorporation is, in fact, pseudo-incorporation, involving noun phrases rather than nouns. Furthermore, it shows that there is no requirement that the incorporated nominal surface as a morphological or even a syntactic unit with the verb. Such loosely aligned nominals can nevertheless be identified as incorporation on the basis of semantic intuitions having to do with number interpretation, anaphora, and certain properties typically associated with lexical processes. Contrary to standard assumptions, it is argued that the target of pseudo-incorporation is specified for number. Singular incorporated nominals in Hindi are shown to be semantically singular, with number neutrality arising as a consequence of interaction with aspectual operators. Taking aspectual information into account is also shown to have interesting implications for current approaches to the semantics of incorporation, one in which the incorporated nominal introduces a discourse referent, and one in which it functions as a predicate modifier. A closer look at the effect of aspect on anaphora, for example, does not unequivocally support the predicate modification view of pseudo-incorporation. The paper draws on data from Hungarian, and to some extent Danish, to explore the cross-linguistic applicability of the claims made on the basis of Hindi. Most notably, a distinction between Hungarian verbs with respect to incorporation of bare singulars provides striking confirmation of the claim that number morphology is semantically visible in pseudo-incorporation. It also addresses restrictions on the productivity of pseudo-incorporation in light of the proposed analysis of pseudo-incorporation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-167
Number of pages45
JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


  • Agreement
  • Anaphora
  • Aspect
  • Number-neutrality
  • Proto-typicality
  • Pseudo-incorporation


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