Chapter published in:New Explorations in Chinese Theoretical Syntax: Studies in honor of Yen-Hui Audrey Li
Edited by Andrew Simpson
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 272] 2022
► pp. 111–132
“Descriptive complements” are manner adverbials
The Mandarin “descriptive complement” construction (e.g. Ta pao-de kuai “S/he runs fast”) is often analyzed as a verb plus a syntactic complement, but I argue that the postverbal de-phrase is in fact a manner adverbial. Several facts about the construction, including morphological and cooccurrence restrictions, do not help decide the issue. Rather, two strong arguments support its adjunct status. First, taking these phrases as complements would require all Mandarin verbs to optionally select for a manner expression, a dubious proposition. Second, doing so would violate a widely-assumed universal restriction on argument structure (to at most three arguments). Finally, several putative arguments for complement status are shown to be either invalid (such as the possibility of extraction) or weak (postverbal position).
- 1.1The descriptive construction
- 1.2Two types of choice for an analysis
- 2.Equivocal evidence
- 3.(Potentially) deciding evidence
- 3.2Argument structure
- 4.Two non-arguments for the Complement Hypothesis
- 4.1Extraction from DES
- 4.2Postverbal position
- 5.Summary and conclusion
Published online: 13 April 2022
Abeillé, Anne, and Daniele Godard
Borgonovo, Claudia., and Ad Neeleman
Cheng, Lisa L.-S
2022 Adjunct Condition and the Nature of Adjuncts. The Linguistic Review 39:1.
2000 Oriented Adverbs: Issues in the Lexical Semantics of Event Adverbs. Ph.D. dissertation, Universität Konstanz.
Hale, Kenneth, and Samuel Jay Keyser
Himmelmann, Nikolaus P., and Eva F. Schultze-Berndt
Huang, C.-T. James
1982 Logical Relations in Chinese and the Theory of Grammar. Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.
Huang, C.-T. James, Audrey, Li Y.-H., and Yafei, Li
Huang, Chu-ren, and Mangione, Louis
Liao, Wei-wen Roger, and Tzong-hong Jonah Lin
Lin, T.-Z. Jonah
2013 Speech Act Adverbs as Manner Adverbs. MS, Universite Lille 3. http://pinon.sdf-eu.org/work/pinon_saama_ho.pdf
Soh, Hooi Ling
1998 Object Scrambling in Chinese. Ph.D. dissertation, MIT.
Tang, C.-C. Jane
Tsai, Cheng-Yu Edwin