, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 237-257
Date: 30 Mar 2007

Predicate restriction, discontinuity property and the meaning of the perfective marker Guo in Mandarin Chinese

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This paper argues that the most recent analyses of guo as proposed in Pan and Lee [(2004). The role of pragmatics in interpreting the Chinese perfective markers -Guo and -Le. Journal of Pragmatics, 36, 441–446] and Lin [(2006). Time in a language without tense: The case of Chinese. Journal of Semantics, 23, 1–53] still fail to explain the predicate restriction and the discontinuity property of guo in a satisfying manner. An alternative analysis, which is a more fine-grained version of Lin’s (2006) proposal, is suggested. It is proposed that a sentence with the form guo(P) is true in a world w if and only if the run time of the internal stage of an event described by P is wholly before the speech time, and if the event e has a target state, then there is an inertia world w inr stretching from w such that another event é described also by P but distinct from e true in it at an interval containing the speech time.

An earlier version of this paper was presented at the joint conference of IACL14 & IsCLL10 held on May 25–28 at Academia Sinica in Taipei. I want to thank the audience there for their questions and comments. I am indebted to Paul Portner and an anonymous reviewer for valuable comments which lead to the final form of this paper. Finally, the research for this paper would not have been possible without the support of the government of Taiwan through the MOE ATU Program and a NSC Grant /#95–2411-H-009-009.