95 Complementizer with verbs of speaking

This feature is described more fully in chapter 95.


This feature deals with complementizers (like English that) used with verbs of speaking such as ‘say’, ‘tell’, ‘ask’, ‘shout’, ‘whisper’, in a reported speech construction such as She told me that she knew it. In general, the constructions that interest us are indirect-speech constructions (with person shift), but when a language does not have a special indirect-speech construction, we also consider direct-speech constructions.

Complementizers are defined here as elements that do not belong either to the verb of speaking or to the text of the reported speech and link the reported speech to the verb of speaking, normally marking what follows (or precedes) as a complement of the verb of speaking.

In quite a few languages, a form of the verb 'say' is used as a complementizer with verbs of speaking. If the 'say' form is a bare stem, the pattern is often considered as a kind of serial verb construction.

In this feature, we investigate asserted reported speech sentences like 'She said that the boy did not feel well', not sentences with directive modality like 'She told the boy to stay in bed', because these latter constructions often yield different syntactic structures.

Languages often show several different complementizer constructions.


Susanne Maria Michaelis and the APiCS Consortium


Complementizer identical to bare ‘say’52429
Complementizer consists of ‘say’ plus some other marker145
Complementizer not synchronically related to ‘say’53843
No complementizer144761

Language Value Lexifier Details Source
Id Primary text Analyzed text Gloss Translation Type Language Audio Details