The Event Panorama: Linking SVCs in White Hmong

Serial verb constructions (SVCs) are well known to function in many languages to increase the detail and complexity of the clause. Typical SVC functions include adding arguments, providing aspectual and deictic information, and conveying resultative and causative meanings. In addition to extending the clause in ways such as these, SVCs in White Hmong (Hmong-Mien) are often used in narrative texts to provide a multi-focal construal of the events described. In this way, they facilitate a panoramic view of an event, which allows focus on both an action and its outcome within a single clause. This paper investigates the mechanism used to achieve this type of construal: the ‘interweaving’ or ‘linking’ of SVCs. This strategy works alongside others in White Hmong, such as the use of elaborate expressions, sound symbolism, reduplication, and repetition, to enhance the vividness of the portrayal events in a narrative text and to give a strong sense of immediacy and involvement.