Journal of East Asian Linguistics

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 1–37 | Cite as

Verb doubling in Mandarin Chinese

  • Lisa Lai-Shen Cheng
  • Luis Vicente
Open Access


This article examines two so-far-understudied verb doubling constructions in Mandarin Chinese, viz., verb doubling clefts and verb doubling lian…dou. We show that these constructions have the same internal syntax as regular clefts and lian…dou sentences, the doubling effect being epiphenomenal; therefore, we classify them as subtypes of the general cleft and lian…dou constructions, respectively, rather than as independent constructions. Additionally, we also show that, as in many other languages with comparable constructions, the two instances of the verb are part of a single movement chain, which has the peculiarity of allowing Spell-Out of more than one link.


Mandarin Chinese Verb doubling Verb movement Cleft lian…dou 



Different versions of this paper has been previously presented at various venues. For their comments and suggestions, we want to thank the audience at the Symposium of Chinese syntax and semantics in City University of Hong Kong, the Linguistics Colloquium series at the University of California, Santa Cruz, IACL 17, and Summer School in Linguistics at Beijing University for comments and discussions. We would also like to thank Yiya Chen, Chin-hui Lin, Dylan Tsai, Luther Liu, and Jo-Wang Lin for their help with native speaker judgments.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsLeiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department LinguistikUniversität PotsdamGolmGermany

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