Severing telicity from result

On two types of resultative compound verb in Dongying Mandarin

A Correction to this article was published on 12 June 2018

This article has been updated

Abstract

This paper investigates the peculiar behaviors of resultative compound verbs in Dongying Mandarin, a previously unstudied variety of Mandarin Chinese. Data from multiple syntactic contexts (e.g. completive, negation, future/irrealis, potential) show that resultative complements in this variety fall in two contrasting categories: atelic and telic. Atelic resultatives have full lexical tones and require a grammaticalized telic marker (liu) in various [+telic] contexts, whereas telic resultatives assume the neutral tone and prohibit liu in the same contexts. The theoretical discussion begins with an evaluation of two neo-constructionist approaches, featuring event decomposition and Inner Aspect, and ends with a middle-way model combining and adapting the two. The main proposal is that in Dongying Mandarin, telicity is not encoded in the resultative complement itself, but in a Low Inner Aspect position between the action and the result verbs, which turns the state denoted by the resultative complement into a telos of the complex event. I derive the surface compound verb via the Defective Goal theory (Roberts in Agreement and head movement: clitics, incorporation, and defective goals. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2010) and analyze the tonal variation as Root allomorphy.

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  • 12 June 2018

    In the online publication of above-mentioned article a few corrections were incorrectly carried out.

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Acknowledgements

Thanks to Ian Roberts, Theresa Biberauer, Erin Pretorius and Cherry Lam for constructive and inspiring discussions, and to the anonymous reviewer for very helpful feedback. The research reported here is partly based on my MPhil thesis (Song 2015) and financially supported by Agricultural Bank of China (2014/15), China Scholarship Council and Cambridge Trust (2015/18). Any errors in the text are my own.

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Correspondence to Chenchen Song.

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The original version of this article was revised: In the online publication of this article a few corrections were incorrectly carried out. See Correction for revised text.

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Song, C. Severing telicity from result. J East Asian Linguist 27, 275–307 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10831-018-9170-8

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Keywords

  • Resultative complement
  • Compound verb
  • Telicity
  • Event decomposition
  • Inner aspect
  • Dongying Mandarin
  • Mandarin Chinese