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.
Acedo-Matellán, Víctor. 2016. The Morphosyntax of Transitions. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Alexiadou, Artemis. 2014. Roots Don’t Take Complements. Theoretical Linguistics 40 (3/4): 287–297.
Baker, Mark. 2008. The Syntax of Agreement and Concord. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Berwick, Robert C., and Noam Chomsky. 2011. Biolinguistics: The Current State of its Evolution and Development. In The Biolinguistic Enterprise: New Perspectives on the Evolution and Nature of the Human Language Faculty, ed. Anna Maria Di Sciullo, and Cedric Boeckx, 19–41. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Biberauer, Theresa. 2016. Going beyond the input: 3 factors and syntactic innovation. Presentation at LAGB Annual Meeting, 6–9 September 2016, York.
Bohnemeyer, Jürgen, and Mary Swift. 2004. Event Realization and Default Aspect. Linguistics and Philosophy 27 (3): 263–296.
Borer, Hagit. 2005. Structuring Sense. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chao, Yuen Ren. 1968. A Grammar of Spoken Chinese. California: University of California Press.
Chomsky, Noam. 2000. Minimalist Inquiries: The Framework. In Step By Step: Essays on Minimalist Syntax in Honor of Howard Lasnik, ed. Roger Martin, 89–155. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Chomsky, Noam. 2001. Derivation by Phase. In Ken Hale: A Life in Language, ed. Michael Kenstowicz, 1–52. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Chomsky, Noam. 2008. On Phases. In Foundational Issues in Linguistic Theory: Essays in Honor of Jean-Roger Vergnaud, ed. Robert Freidin, Carlos Peregrín Otero, and Maria Luisa Zubizarreta, 133–166. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Chomsky, Noam. 2013. Problems of Projection. Lingua 130: 33–49.
Citko, Barbara. 2014. Phase Theory: An Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Cuervo, María Cristina. 2003. Datives at Large. Ph.D. thesis, MIT.
Dowty, David R. 1979. Word Meaning and Montague Grammar. Kufstein: Reidel.
Feng, Shengli. 2010. On Mechanisms of Register System and its Grammatical Property. Studies of the Chinese Language 5: 400–412.
Feng, S. 2012. Yuti yufa: xingshi-gongneng duiyinglü de yuyan tansuo [Register Grammar: A Linguistic Exploration of Form-Function Mapping]. Contemporary Rhetoric 6: 3–12.
Hale, Ken, and Samuel Jay Keyser. 1993. On Argument Structure and the Lexical Expression of Syntactic Relations. In The View from Building 20: Essays in Linguistics in Honor of Sylvain Bromberger, ed. Ken Hale, and Samuel Jay Keyser, 53–109. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Halle, Morris, and Alec Marantz. 1993. Distributed Morphology and the Pieces of Inflection. In The View from Building 20, ed. Ken Hale, and Samuel Jay Keyser, 111–176. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Halle, Morris, and Alec Marantz. 1994. Some Key Features of Distributed Morphology. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 21: 275–288.
Harley, Harley. 1995. Subjects, Events and Licensing. Ph.D. thesis, MIT.
Hopper, Paul J., and Elizabeth Closs Traugott. 2003. Grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hu, Xuhui. 2015. A Comparative Study of Chinese and English Resultatives. PhD thesis, University of Cambridge.
Huang, C.-T. James. 2015. On Syntactic Analyticity and Parametric Theory. In Chinese Syntax in a Cross-Linguistic Perspective, 1–48. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Kan, Zhehua. 2007. Causative Verb and Causative Constructions at the Syntax-Semantics Interface. Ph.D. thesis, Shanghai Jiaotong University.
Kayne, Richard. 1994. The Antisymmetry of Syntax. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Kiss, Katalin É. 2002. The Syntax of Hungarian. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kratzer, Angelika. 1996. Severing the External Argument from its Verb. In Phrase Structure and the Lexicon, ed. Johan Rooryck, and Laurie Zaring, 109–137. Berlin: Springer.
Lamarre, Christine. 1995. Beifang guanhua li biaoshi keneng de dongci ciwei le [The Verb Ending le Expressing Potentiality in Northern Mandarin]. Zhongguo Yuwen [Studies of the Chinese Language] 4: 267–278.
Li, Charles N., and Sandra A. Thompson. 1981. Mandarin Chinese. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Lin, Jimmy. 2004. Event Structure and the Encoding of Arguments: The Syntax of the Mandarin and English Verb Phrase. PhD thesis, MIT.
Lin, Jo-Wang. 2003. Aspectual Selection and Negation in Mandarin Chinese. Linguistics 41 (3): 425–460.
Liu, Xunning. 1985. Xiandai hanyu juwei le de laiyuan [The Origin of Modern Chinese Sentence-Final le]. Dialect 2: 128–133.
Marantz, Alec. 1997. No Escape from Syntax: Don’t Try Morphological Analysis in the Privacy of Your Own Lexicon. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 4: 201–225.
Marantz, Alec. 2007. Phases and Words. In Phases in the Theory of Grammar, ed. Sooh-Hee Choe, 191–222. Seoul: Dong In.
Marantz, Alec. 2013. Verbal Argument Structure: Events and Participants. Lingua 130: 152–168.
Mei, Tsu-Lin. 1994. Tangdai songdai gongtongyu de yufa he xiandai fangyan de yufa [The Grammar of Tang-Song Common Language and the Grammars of Modern Dialects]. Zhongguo jingnei yuyan ji yuyanxue [Languages and Linguistics within China] 2: 61–97.
Ramchand, Gillian. 2008. Verb Meaning and the Lexicon: A First Phase Syntax. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
Roberts, Ian G. 2010. Agreement and Head Movement: Clitics, Incorporation, and Defective Goals. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Roberts, Ian G., and Roussou Anna. 2003. Syntactic Change: A Minimalist Approach to Grammaticalization. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Shi, Yuzhi. 2003. The Establishment of Modern Chinese Grammar: The Formation of Resultative Construction and its Effects. Beijing: Beijing Language and Culture University Press.
Shi, Ziqiang. 1990. Decomposition of Perfectivity and Inchoativity and the Meaning of the Particle le in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Chinese Linguistics 18 (1): 95–124.
Siddiqi, Daniel. 2009. Syntax Within the Word: Economy, Allomorphy, and Argument Selection in Distributed Morphology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Smith, Carlota S. 1991. The Parameter of Aspect. Dordrecht: Kluwer.
Smith, Carlota S. 1994. Aspectual Viewpoint and Situation Type in Mandaran Chinese. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 3 (2): 107–146.
Soh, Hooi Ling. 2008. The Syntax and Semantics of Change/Transition: Evidence from Mandarin Chinese. In Theoretical and Cross-Linguistic Approaches to the Semantics of Aspect, ed. Susan Rothstein, 387–419. Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Soh, Hooi Ling. 2009. Speaker Presupposition and Mandarin Chinese Sentence-Final-le: A Unified Analysis of the “Change of State” and the “Contrary to Expectation” Reading. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 27 (3): 623–657.
Soh, Hooi Ling. 2014. Aspect. In The Handbook of Chinese Linguistics, ed. C.-T. James Huang, Y.-H. Audrey Li, and Andrew Simpson, 126–156. London: Blackwell.
Soh, Hooi Ling., and Meijia, Gao. 2006. Perfective Aspect and Transition in Mandarin Chinese: An Analysis of Double-le Sentences. In Proceedings of 2004 Texas Linguistics Society conference: Issues at the semantics-pragmatics interface, 107– 122.
Song, Chenchen. 2015. Structural Variation in Chinese Compound Verbs: A Comparative Study of Standard Mandarin and Dongying Dialect. MPhil thesis, University of Cambridge.
Song, Chenchen. 2016. Revisiting Chinese Potential Constructions: Cross-Dialectal Variation. Presentation at 11th Newcastle Postgraduate Conference, March 2016.
Su, Yu-Ying Julia. 2012. The Syntax of Functional Projections in the vP periphery. PhD thesis, University of Toronto.
Sybesma, Rint. 1997. Why Chinese Verb le is a Resultative Predicate. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 3 (6): 215–261.
Tai, James H.-Y. 1984. Verbs and Times in Chinese: Vendler’s Four Categories. In Papers from the Parasession on Lexical Semantics, ed. Venna Mishra David Testen, and Joseph Drogo, 289–296. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society.
Tham, Shiao-Wei, and Hooi Ling Soh. 2006. Discourse Effects of Lexical Specification: The Case of the Mandarin Aspectual Particle le. In Proceedings of KONVENS 2006, ed. Butt Miriam, 181–188. Konstanz: Universität Konstanz.
Travis, Lisa. 2010. Inner Aspect: The Articulation of VP. Berlin: Springer.
Vendler, Zeno. 1957. Verbs and Times. The Philosophical Review 66 (2): 143–160.
Wang, William S.-Y. 1965. Two Aspect Markers in Mandarin. Language 41 (3): 457–470.
Woo, I-Hao. 2013. The Syntax of the Aspectual Particles in Mandarin Chinese. PhD thesis, San Diego State University.
Wu, Jiun-Shiung. 2005. The Semantics of the Perfective le and its Context-Dependency: An SDRT Approach. Journal of East Asian Linguistics 14 (4): 299–336.
Zhang, Niina Ning. 2017. Unifying Two General Licensors of Completive Adverbials in Syntax. Linguistics 55 (2): 371–411.
Zhang, Qing. 1997. The Semantics of the Verbal Suffix le and Sentence Final le. Stanford: Stanford University.
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.
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.
About this article
Cite this article
Song, C. Severing telicity from result. J East Asian Linguist 27, 275–307 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10831-018-9170-8
- Resultative complement
- Compound verb
- Event decomposition
- Inner aspect
- Dongying Mandarin
- Mandarin Chinese