Delimiting durative events with manner
A comparative study of two verbs of rushing in Mandarin
Durative events by default are atelic. However, temporal targets are typically required for durative verbs with a rushing manner, such as ‘We are catching the 3:30 flight’ and ‘The farmer rushed to harvest before the storm’. Why and how does manner introduce delimiting temporal concepts to durative verbs? This puzzle is addressed by our current study of two near-synonymous Mandarin durative verbs describing events carried out in a rushing manner: 赶 gǎn and 抢 qiǎng. Our event-based account will examine both their compositional meanings and their constructional patterns. We will show that 赶 gǎn and 抢 qiǎng not only coerce eventive readings from their nominal objects, but also require certain delineating temporal targets. The verb 赶 gǎn requires an understood deadline, while the verb 抢 qiǎng requires the presupposition of the limited availability of the object. As neither temporal targets mark the time of the actual activities, these are exceptional cases of aktionsart. We will show that the different ways to delineate event meanings of the constructions [gǎn/qiǎng+ noun] can be predicted from the lexical meaning of the two verbs and can in turn predict the event types represented by the object with the MARVS theory. Based on this lexical semantic representation, we further show that the Generative Lexicon theory predicts the coercions of the rushing meaning from the original activity verb senses, and that the Construction Grammar theory accounts for their sharing of the same syntactic configuration.
Keywords: verbal semantics, event structure, MARVS, generative lexicon, construction grammar
Published online: 08 September 2021
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