On some mysteries, asymmetries and derivation of potential de construction in Chinese
In this paper, some mysteries and asymmetries of the Chinese potential de construction are investigated. It is shown that a morphosytnactic approach is conducive to accounting for these puzzles. First we explore the possibility of taking de and its negative counterpart -bude as functional heads (cf. Tsai 2001; T. Wu 2004). It is proposed that bude could be a functional head with the negative potential (i.e. impossible/impermissible) meaning. This could be evidenced by both empirical data and theoretical deduction. It is argued that bu in V-bu-R, which is distinct from the normal pre-verbal negative morpheme bu, is actually bude. This helps to explain why the negative potential meaning is involved in V-bu-R. Meanwhile, V-de/bude and V-de/bu-R are both assumed to be formed through Morphological Merger (cf. Marantz 1988; Embick & Noyer 2001, 2007, etc.). Meanwhile, we have discussed some asymmetries observed between V-de/bude and V-de/bu-R and some paradigmatic asymmetries between potential V-de construction and its negative potential V-bude construction. It is assumed that these syntactic asymmetries may be due to some morphological operations related to de and bude.
Keywords: de , bude , syntax-morphology interface, morphological merger
Published online: 10 October 2017
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