Excessive serial verb construction
A quasi-resultative serial verb construction in Mandarin Chinese
This paper identifies a distinct serial verb construction in Mandarin Chinese: the Excessive serial verb construction. This construction exhibits formal similarity to the Resultative serial verb construction, since both of them involve adjacent unmarked verbs. Despite the similarity, the former construction differs from the latter most evidently in that it conveys an excessive meaning rather than a resultative meaning. This paper proposes that there is a syntactic difference between the two constructions. In contrast to the tight structure in the Resultative serial verb construction, which can be represented as S[vp V1 V2] le. The Excessive serial verb construction has a looser structure, which is structurally S[[vpV1] [vp V2-le]]. With respect to diagnostics of constituency, the two constructions behave in different ways. This paper further argues that correlating with a distinct structure, the Excessive serial verb construction requires obligatory topicalization of its undergoer argument, a phenomenon that is not observed in the Resultative serial verb construction. This study thus contributes to representing the interaction between the semantic properties – in particular, the function of le in the two constructions – and the syntactic properties.
- 2.Monoclausality of the Excessive SVC
- 3.Argument structure
- 4.Unboundedness in the Excessive eventuality
- 5.The Excessive SVC as a core SVC
- 5.1Classification of SVCs in cross-linguistic studies
- 5.2Coordination of V2-le
- 5.3Insertion of the adverb tai ‘too’
- 5.4Obligatory topicalization of the undergoer argument in the Excessive SVC
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