A study of the Lou verb phrase
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The Lou language, spoken on Lou Island in Manus Province, Papua New Guinea, is an SVO Austronesian language classified as part of the South-East Islands Sub-family of the Manus family, which is part of the South-East Admiralty cluster. Lou has thirteen consonants and seven vowels and has nominative-accusative case, which is marke strictly by word order. Nouns have an extensive possessive system, including alienable and inalienable possession. Noun classes are distinguished by the set of numerals that occur with each noun. There are two types of verb phrases in Lou: simple verb phrases and serial verb constructions. The simple verb phrase consists of ten optional pre-verbal particles and the main verb. These pre-verbal particles mark aspect, relative tense, modality, and directionality. The serial verb construction consists of a simple verb phrase followed by a serialized verb. Serial verb constructions in Lou are divided into two types: Nuclear layer serialization and core layer serialization. In nuclear layer serialization, two or more verbs are joined together to form a complex nucleus functioning as a single unit with a common set of nuclear operators. Both verbs share all core and peripheral arguments. In Lou, core layer serialization consists of the main verb followed by a 'prepositional verb'. A 'prepositional verb' has been defined to be a verb that functions as a preposition, but contributes an argument role with oblique status. Only motion verbs and some stative verbs can function as 'prepositional verbs' in Lou. While the first two chapters are mainly descriptive in nature, the chapter on verb serialization has been analyzed within the framework of Role and Reference grammar as outlined by Foley and Van Valin (1984).