The syntax of V-V resultatives in Mandarin Chinese




Liu, Jianxun

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This is a study on the syntax of V-V resultative constructions in Mandarin Chinese within the generative framework. I investigate three aspects of these constructions: the generation of resultative V-V compounds, the syntactic structure of V-V resultatives, and their alternation properties. First, I investigate in which component of grammar and with what mechanisms resultative V-V compounds are generated. With regard to the generation of complex words, Marantz (2000) proposes that words are generated in two different syntactic domains, the inner domain of a lexical root and the outer domain, and words thus generated demonstrate different properties. Adopting this proposal, I propose a syntactic analysis of the generation of resultative V-V compounds. One observation of this study is that V-V resultative compounds and another type of V-V compounds in Mandarin Chinese, parallel V-V compounds, while seemingly similar, possess systematically different properties. Based on this observation, I argue that resultative V-V compounds are formed in the outer domain, by combining two categorized verbs (vP1 and vP2), while parallel V-V compounds are formed in the inner domain, in which the two acategorical lexical roots (√1 and √2) combine first to form a root complex, which then merges with little v. Second, I explore an event-mapping approach to the syntactic structure of V-V resultatives. Regarding the syntactic representation of the semantic event structures, the isomorphism hypothesis (e.g., Lin, 2004; Ramchand, 2008) postulates that there is a transparent correspondence between semantic subevents and the syntactic element of vPs. Particularly, Lin’s (2004) isomorphism analysis argues that two types of V-V resultative constructions, object-oriented and subject-oriented V-V resultatives, have the same event structure, and therefore have the same syntactic structure, in which three vPs represent three subevents. In the present study, based on the adverbial modification properties, I argue that an isomorphism analysis of Mandarin V-V resultatives does not hold, and that the two types of V-V resultatives have different syntactic structures. To be more specific, while the syntactic structure of object-oriented V-V resultatives contains two vPs, a vCAUSEP that takes as its complement a vBECOMEP, the syntactic structure of subject-oriented V-V resultatives contains a single vBECOMEP. This analysis reveals that, while object-oriented V-V resultatives are causative constructions, subject-oriented V-V resultatives are inchoative unaccusative predicates, despite the ‘cause-result’ meaning they convey. Finally, based on the analysis that object-oriented and subject-oriented V-V resultatives have different syntactic structures, I account for their alternation properties. I propose that the alternative uses of these two types of V-V resultatives fall into two different categorizations: decausativization (of object-oriented resultatives) and causativization (of subject-oriented resultatives). I then argue that (most of) the properties of the alternative uses of V-V resultatives have two sources: the distinctive semantic and syntactic properties of subject-oriented resultatives, and the Direct Causation Condition on the subject in causatives.



syntax, V-V resultatives, Mandarin Chinese