ComPLETE — Complex predicates in languages


21—24 August 2024

~ Workshop of the ComPLETE project at SLE 2024 ~


The ComPLETE project will hold an international workshop as part of the 57th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea, to be held in Helsinki in August 2024.

The workshop “Exploring the Limits of Complex Predicates”, is organised by Daniel Krausse (ComPLETE postdoc), Katya Aplonova and Patryk Czerwinski (ComPLETE PhD students).

→ see the description of the workshop.

The workshop will provide linguists — both participants of the ComPLETE project and outsiders — with an occasion to discuss the concept of complex predicates, and observe its different limits. The final list of talks will be published soon on this page.


3 October 2023

~ Seminar talk by Daniel Krauße ~

Lattice - CNRS

As part of its monthly seminar, the Paris-based department Lattice is inviting Daniel Krauße, postdoctoral researcher at Lattice (June 2023 - June 2025), to present his research. The session will take place Tuesday 3 October 2023, 10:30 - 12:00 Paris time.
The session will have dual format: either in person in Montrouge (near Paris - see below); or online, with the link


The ComPLETE database of complex predicates: A view from Melanesia

by Daniel Krauße (Lattice, ANR-DFG)

Many languages in the world express concepts like bring or kill with two verbs, namely as take+go and hit+die, respectively. Such constructions have been termed “complex predicates”, and are defined as sequences of verb-like elements acting together as a single predicate. Complex predicates pose a challenge for syntactic and semantic theories, because the arguments and semantics of each verb are merged to form an overall “macro-verb” (François 2004) with combined semantics.
      Complex predicates come in different shapes, such as serial verbs, converbs, light verbs, verb+adjuncts, verb compounds, and auxiliaries. One of the regions with a very high frequency of serial verbs and verb-adjuncts is Melanesia, an area with over 1000 languages extending from Eastern Indonesia to Fiji. This region is home to a large number of different language families, all of which feature some form of complex predication.
      The ComPLETE French-German project (“Complex Predicates in Languages: Emergence, Typology, Evolution”, 2023-2025) aims to systematically investigate such complex predicates on formal, semantic, and historical grounds across the world’s languages. We build our qualitative and quantitative analysis upon a questionnaire-based database, which will be supplied with published and novel data, from various languages displaying complex verbal structures. Such a database will allow us for a large-scale comparison of these structures across languages, so as to better understand what mechanisms are involved when two predicates merge into a single one.

→ see the online announcement on the Lattice homepage.


10 January 2023 (call closed)

Two-year postdoc position (2023–2025)
~ Complex predicates in Melanesia ~


The ComPLETE project seeks applications for a 2-year postdoctoral position in typological linguistics, to conduct an areal typology of complex predicates in languages of Melanesia, including Papuan and Austronesian.

  • Deadline for applying: 1st February 2023
  • Start of contract: 3 April 2023
  • End of contract: 2 April 2025

  • By combining first-hand data with data from the scientific literature, conduct a typological study of complex predicates (verb compounds, verb series, auxiliaries, constructions with co-verbs or light verbs, clause-chaining, etc.) in a representative sample of the languages of Melanesia, both Austronesian and Papuan
  • Conduct additional field research in Melanesia if necessary
  • Define and implement a typological approach in analysing the data, both in qualitative terms (typological analysis) and quantitative (statistics)
  • Participate in meetings and gatherings of the ComPLETE project
At the date of applying, the candidate must have had less than 2 years of experience in academia since their PhD. They must have acquired the following skills:
  • have carried out fieldwork in linguistics to describe an under-documented language, ideally in the Pacific zone
  • have completed a doctoral thesis in the field of grammatical description or linguistic typology
  • have demonstrated solid knowledge of grammatical typology, and published in this field
  • be fluent in speaking, reading, writing, in English
  • be able to work independently
  • be able to work in a team
Other valuable but not mandatory skills:
  • have experience and/or knowledge in the languages of the Pacific zone (Austronesian or Papuan)
  • have experience and/or knowledge in the domain of complex predicates (serial verbs, auxiliaries, light verb constructions, etc.)
  • have a strong knowledge of statistics
  • be able to understand, speak and read French.

The position will be attached to the LATTICE dept. of CNRS. Located in Montrouge near Paris, LATTICE specializes in language evolution (lexical change, grammaticalization), corpus analysis, and natural language processing.

This postdoc position is part of the “ComPLETE” project (“Complex Predicates in Languages: Emergence, Typology, Evolution”), a French-German project jointly funded by French ANR and German DFG for 3 years (2022–25), around the typology of Verb-based Complex Predicates (e.g. serial verb constructions; auxiliaries; converbs; light verb constructions). [You can know more on this page.]

If you wish to apply

→ follow the official link for candidates.


14—16 November 2022

~ International workshop of the ComPLETE project ~

Universität Mainz

The ComPLETE project will hold its first international workshop from 14 to 16 November 2022, in the University of Mainz (Germany).

These three days of collaborative work will feature 25 presentations by the members of the project. Among them will be keynote addresses by our three guest speakers:

  • Miriam Butt — “Complex Predicates: Insights from South Asia”
  • Robert Van Valin — “Complex predicates and the Interclausal Relations Hierarchy”
  • Martin Haspelmath — “Complex-predicates and related comparative concepts: (Retro-)definitions vs. analyses”

→ see the full program of the conference.

Organized by Walter Bisang, Andrej Malchukov, Alex François and Martine Vanhove, the workshop will provide the ComPLETE participants with the opportunity to discuss our typological questionnaire — to be later used as a platform in the development of our future database.


16 January 2022 (call closed)

~ PhD position in linguistic description and typology, African linguistics ~


Applications are sought for a 3-year PhD position in linguistic description and typology, with a focus on complex predicates in Kru and/or Kwa languages, particularly in Côte d'Ivoire.

This PhD position is part of the “ComPLETE” project (“Complex Predicates in Languages: Emergence, Typology, Evolution”), a French-German project jointly funded by French ANR and German DFG for 3 years (2022–25), around the typology of Verb-based Complex Predicates (e.g. serial verb constructions; auxiliaries; converbs; light verb constructions).

The PhD position will be based at CNRS–LLACAN, a world-leading department in the study of African languages.

Deadline for applications: 31 January 2022.
Starting date of contract: 15 April 2022.

Research topic:

Verbal complex predicates in Kwa and/or Kru languages
in a typological perspective

As a PhD researcher in the ComPLETE project, you will explore verbal complex predicates in Kwa and/or Kru languages. In parallel, you will participate in the elaboration of the project’s typological questionnaire and database, in close cooperation with the ComPLETE team members. The PhD will include fieldwork in southern Côte d’Ivoire (or with the diaspora in France in case the pandemic lasts), as well as information mining from available grammars and dictionaries. The fieldwork component will give priority to the languages where information on verbal complex predicates is lacking, or needs to be complemented on the basis of the questionnaire.

For more information on this PhD position (“contrat doctoral”), you may consult this detailed description of the position.


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