The Interlanguage of Persian Learners of Italian: a Focus on Complex Predicates

Document Type : Research Paper


1 ILC-CNR, Pisa, Italy

2 Université IV-Sorbonne, France


This paper aims at investigating the acquisition of Italian complex predicates by native speakers of Persian. Complex predication is not as pervasive a phenomenon in Italian as it is in Persian. Yet Italian native speakers use complex predicates productively; spontaneous data show that Persian learners of Italian seem to be perfectly aware of Italian complex predicates and use this familiar feature as a bridge between their native language (NL) and the target language (TL). Elicitation of complex predicates in guided context seems to indicate that the Persian group learners’ group is strikingly uniform to the Native Speakers’ group and quite homogeneous with the control group of learners with NL other than Persian. This research shows that the use of complex predicates in Italian Interlanguage (IL) cannot be considered a simple effect of transfer, but could be also analyzed as a more general IL strategy. 


Alba-Salas, J. (2004). “Fare light verb constructions and Italian causatives: Understanding the differences”, Rivista di Linguistica 16(2), pp. 283-323.
Alsina, A., Bresnan, J., and Sells, P., (eds.) (1997). Complex Predicates, Stanford: CSLI Publications.
Dabir-Moghaddam, M. (1997). “Compound Verbs in Persian”, Studies in the Linguistic Sciences 27(2), pp. 25–59.
 Folli, R., Harley, H. and Karimi, S. (2005). “Determinants of event type in Persian complex predicates”, Lingua 115, pp.1365-1401.
Iacobini, C., and Masini, F. (2007). “Verb-particle constructions and prefixed verbs in Italian: typology, diachrony and semantics”, in B. Geert, B. Fradin, A. Ralli and S. Scalise (eds.), On-line Proceedings of the Fifth Mediterranean Morphology Meeting (MMM5) (Fréjus, 15-18 sep. 2005), Università degli Studi di Bologna, pp. 157-184.
Jezek, E. (2004). “Types et degrés de verbes supports en italien”,     Linguisticae Investigationes 27(2), pp.185-201.
Karimi-Doostan, Gh. (1997). Light Verb Constructions in Persian, Ph.D. dissertation, University of Essex.
Lambton, Ann K. S. (1953). Persian Grammar,Cambridge:CambridgeUniversity Press.
Lazard, G. (1957). Grammaire du persan contemporain,Paris: Klincksieck.
Mahootian, Sh. (1997). Persian,London: Routledge.
Masini, F. (2005). “Multi-word Expressions between Syntax and the Lexicon: the Case of Italian Verb-particle Constructions”, SKY Journal of Linguistics 18, pp. 145-173.
Mastrofini, R. (2004). “Classi di costruzioni a verbo supporto in italiano: implicazioni semantico-sintattiche nel paradigma V+N”, Studi Italiani di Linguistica Teorica e Applicata 23(3), pp. 371-398.
Mastrofini, R. (2005). Dai verbi pesanti ai verbi leggeri: gradi di   “verbalità” in italiano L1 e L2. Ph.D. dissertation, Università di Roma Tre.
Megerdoomian, K. (2001). “Event Structure and Complex Predicates in Persian”, Canadian Journal of Linguistics 46, 1-2: pp. 97-125.
Megerdoomian, K. (2002a). Beyond words and phrases: a unified theory of predicate composition, Ph.D. dissertation,Universityof Southern California.
Megerdoomian, K. (2002b). “Aspect in complex predicates”, ms presented at the Workshop on Complex Predicates, Particles and Sub-Events,KonstanzUniversity, October 2, 2002.
 Megerdoomian, K. (2008). “Preverbal Nominals and Telicity in Persian Complex Predicates”, ms presented in Complex Predicates in Iranian Languages,Paris, 5-6 July 2008.