Asymmetries in two types ofde-related verb-copying constructionsin Mandarin Chinese
This article studies Chinese V-de sentences from the perspective of verb-copying constructions (VCC) and presents some more evidence in favor of the distinction between descriptive V-de constructions and resultative V-de constructions. VCC with descriptive V-de sentences (VCCD) and VCC with resultative V-de sentences (VCCR) are linearly described as [NP1+ V1+ NP2 + V2 + de +XP]. Five asymmetries, though not very sharp, have been observed between VCCD and VCCR: (a) the movement asymmetry of [V1+NP2], (b) the questioning asymmetry between weishenme ‘why’ and shenme ‘what’, (c) the definiteness asymmetry of NP2, (d) the repetition asymmetry of V1, and (e) the asymmetry of subject-oriented adverb guyi ‘intentionally’. To explain these differences, we assume that [V1+NP2] in VCCD is a constituent, acting as an internal topic. While similar analysis cannot be extended to VCCR. We propose instead that [NP1+V1+NP2] is a constituent in VCCR, projecting further into a complex NP and acting as a sentential subject. These structural differences can well explain the five asymmetries from the island effects, and the semantic and pragmatic constraints (on internal topics and subject-oriented adverbs). Meanwhile, based on the restriction of manner adverbial modification, the V2 in VCCD and VCCR is assumed to be externally merged at the morphological level via External Morphological Merger to satisfy the affixal properties of de. The copying of V1 as V2 is not driven syntactically, but morphologically. This morphosyntactic approach to VCCD and VCCR provides a new perspective to explore V-de sentences and VCC, which may shed light on the morphosyntactic studies of Mandarin Chinese from a crosslinguistic perspective.
Keywords: verb-copying, de , root, external morphological merger