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Additional info for Event Representation in Language and Cognition (Language Culture and Cognition (No. 11))
But what criteria can one appeal to in deciding whether, in the mind of the speaker, the events in a sequence are so closely associated as to form parts of a single larger conceptual event? I suggest that the formulaic character (or otherwise) of event reports is a particularly significant clue to their cognitive standing. If people use much the same form of words over and over to report a certain sequence of events, there can be little doubt that they are drawing on a conceptual schema that is, in some sense, stored as a single unit.
G. English resultatives such as Jane threw the cat out and John wiped the table clean, and causatives such as Sally caused her sister to cry and That made me so angry. But where does one draw the line between constructions that describe a single complex event and constructions that don’t? What about The plumber came and cleared the blocked drain this morning, or I’ve just washed and hung out the clothes, or I spent this morning washing, drying and ironing all of Bill’s shirts? Clearly in each case there is a sequence of events that together make up an episode, well-defined in terms of cultural norms.
In terms of intonation, narrative SVCs with continuous Event representation in serial verb constructions 35 verb series, even those containing eight to ten verb roots, behave like single clauses, being almost invariably spoken under a single intonation contour. However, pauses do sometimes occur when the verb series is discontinuous, specifically, after a stage 1 VP that is followed by a heavy locative and/or heavy object phrase. In such cases, the likely reason for the pause is that there is new information in the non-verbal constituents and the encoder has to pay close attention to these.