Verb-Object Compounds and Idioms in Chinese

  • Adams Bodomo
  • So-sum Yu
  • Dewei CheEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10596)


This paper addresses central issues about the nature of a construction in the Chinese language that is referred to as Verb-Object Compounds (VOCs). It has long been noted that the relationship between the two or more morphemes of VOCs is partly morphological and partly syntactic in the sense that, on the one hand, they do combine to form a ‘word-like unit’, but on the other hand, some degree of separation is possible between the two parts [4, 8, 9, 10, 12, 16, 17, 22, among others]. The VOC has triggered intense interest and rigorous research on the issue of wordhood in Chinese due to its disharmonious behaviour shown in the two separate modules of syntax and morphology. However, these previous discussions mainly focus on the criteria that can identify a word in Chinese. This paper, rather than belabouring the issue of refining these criteria or proposing new ones, centres on the fact that this type of compound exhibits properties in syntax, as well as lexical features in morphology and semantics. The description and analysis of the syntactic and morphological characteristics of VOCs then provide a foundation for a generalized account of the representation of VOCs and Verb-Object (VO) idioms within the grammatical framework of Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG).


VOCs Lexis Constituency Semantics Correspondence LFG 



The authors thank Prof. John Rennison for native-English speaking proof-editing of our paper in accordance with the requirements of the editors of this volume in which our paper appears. Research, writing, and conference presentation of the paper are funded by the University of Vienna, GADS Research Platform.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Hong KongChina

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