I recently wrote an article for Fiat Lingua <http://fiatlingua.org/2018/08/> that discusses this topic from a cross-linguistic perspective. (The relevant section is near the end - the section on 'satellites' - but it references some concepts from earlier in the article.) I never made a complex in English quite that large, though - the largest I made was 'go run take back down', but it incorporates some verb serialisation on the left of the 'main' verb, which might help you make a longer one. Japanese lets you do some rather large structures, though the information isn't always spatio-temporal. Rather than adpositions (which it doesn't have), it uses verbs that are conjoined to the main verb with a couple of different kinds of morphology. Just like in English, though, they may have a somewhat different semantic content than they would as free main verbs. /maze-komi-tsuzuke-te shimai-yagat-ta /mix-put.in-continue-CONJ shimau-yagaru-PAST '[he] inadvertently continued to mix it in in such a way as to aggravate me' Here the main verb is /mazeru/ 'mix', plus /komu/ 'put in such that it stays in', /tsuzukeru/ 'continue', /shimau/ 'do completely / unfortunately / involuntarily', and /yagaru/ 'have the gall to do, do without the social standing required > by doing make the speaker angry'. /kaki-oroshi-te oi-te ki-te kure-ta /write-drop-CONJ place-CONJ come-CONJ give-PAST '[he] was kind enough write it down in advance before he came here' / '[he] was kind enough to go and write it down in advance (and then he came back)' Here the main verb is /kaku/ 'write', plus /orosu /'set down', /oku/ 'place > do in preparation for something', /kuru/ 'come > go and do', and /kureru/ 'give > do for the speaker'. // It seems like there's on the order of ten or more different slots for various components, but it's actually really difficult to make one that's anywhere near that long, because there's all sorts of semantic interdependencies among the various components. For example, you can't say /yaritsuzukete oku/ 'continue doing in preparation', because /-te oku/ expects a telic verb, and /-tsuzukeru/ makes an atelic one. I'm sure with some thought you could come up with strings with rather more than the five verb roots in the above examples, though. On 2018/09/23 13:40, Logan Kearsley wrote: > On Sun, 23 Sep 2018 at 12:09, John Q <[log in to unmask]> wrote: >> So, for whatever reason, I was thinking about English's weird ability to string along multiple prepositions in order to create a "customized" spatio-temporal-motivational quasi-adverbial phrase. A typical example would be "We're coming on down for your birthday", where "on", "down" and "for" are all juxtaposed together. I'm assuming what makes such strings possible is that various common prepositions such as "on", "off", "in", "out", "up", "down", and "through" are actually functioning as spatio-temporal-completive adverbs in these sentences, not prepositions, although it might equally be argued that the string as a whole functions as a complex, multi-part preposition (assuming it's followed by a noun or noun phrase, of course). > I don't think those analyses are necessarily exclusive. "On" and > "down" may well be adverbs that happen to be nested inside a larger > preposition phrase (i.e., a phrase that constitutes a preposition, as > distinct from a prepositional phrase). I don't think that's what's > actually happening in this specific case, though; "on" and "down" feel > like part of a single complex preposition. Rather, they feel like > independent particles attached to the verb separately from the > prepositional phrase "for your birthday", which merely happen to be > juxtaposed with it on the surface. > >> I'd be curious to see if others can come up with similarly long, or even longer strings that make semantic sense. I'm also curious as to the extent to which other Germanic languages allow such strings (...and even more curious as to whether non-Germanic, even non-IE languages, have equivalent ways of creating customized spatio-temporal descriptive phrases like this without resorting to paraphrase). > Especially given your later example of "Come on down inside up along > through to the back.", I am reminded of ideophones. They're clearly > not exactly the same phenomenon, but there seems to be some similarity > in structure and function insofar as both are used to describe aspects > of motion, with a relatively high degree of grammatical independence, > with the ordering of words reflecting the order of event components. > > -l.