The Excessive Construction in Mandarin Chinese

Posted on November 4, 2014 by

On Tue 11th Nov, LEL PhD student Ying Fan will be giving a talk with the title Excessive Construction: A Quasi-Resultative Construction in Mandarin Chinese. The talk will be at 1pm in Samuel Alexander A214. Here’s the abstract:

This paper identifies a distinct monoclausal serial verb construction in Mandarin Chinese. This construction exhibits formal similarity to the resultative serial verb construction since both of them involve adjacent unmarked verbs. Despite these similarities, the former construction differs from the latter most evidently in that it conveys an excessive meaning rather than a resultative meaning. This paper therefore is devoted to analyzing the semantic and syntactic differences in these two constructions in detail and proposes that the Excessive construction is a serialization formed at core level with a shared argument, which is S[vpV1 [vp V2-le]] in contrast to the nuclear level serialization in the Mandarin Resultative construction, which is structurally S[vp V1 V2] le. Also, this paper endeavours to provide an account for the rigid constituent order of OSVVle (if there is a shared object argument between the verbs) in the Excessive serial verb construction in comparison to the flexibility in the constituent orders (OSVVle and SVVleO) in the Resultative serial verb construction, as it is argued to be constrained by pragmatic principles. This study thus contributes to representing the interaction between the semantic properties (in particular the interpretations of le in the two constructions) and the syntactic properties.