City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Aug 4 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 25 views

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Empirical data indicate that double and multi-syllabic stative adjectives cannot act as a resultative complement to combine with an Activity verb, for instance:

1a. *张三哭湿漉漉了两条手绢。

*Zhāng Sān kū shīlùlù le liǎng tiáo shǒujuàn.

(Int: Zhang San cried and as a result he wetted two handkerchiefs.)

1b. 张三哭湿了两条手绢。

Zhāng Sān kū shī le liǎng tiáo shǒujuàn.

(Zhang San cried and as a result he wetted two handkerchiefs.)

Sentence (1a) is ungrammatical, because V2 is a stative adjective ‘shīlùlù’ (damp, dripping wet). Disyllabic and multiple syllabic stative adjectives are excluded from being resultative complements for two reasons: first, the structure of the RVC is very rigid, the adjective that can enter into the slot of V2 must be monosyllabic and a small number of disyllabic property adjectives such as ‘gānjìng’ (clean), ‘zhěngqí’ (neat, tidy), etc. Second, resultative complement signals a change of state, namely from the absence of a state to the occurrence of the state, the resultative state signals a result obtained by a participating entity after he/it has gone through the action named by V1. Therefore, the structure of the RVC focuses on a resultative state rather than on the intensity degree of the quality named by a stative adjective. Hence a stative adjective that denotes an intensity of a state is not permissible in the RVC construction.

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.
answered Aug 4 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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