City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
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asked Aug 5 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Ariel (34,480 points) | 26 views

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Apart from Activity verbs, there are a small number of property adjectives capable of acting as V1, too. They denote a change of state that takes place over a period of time, or involves a becoming (changing) process. This type of verb is called inchoatives. Inchoatives are devoid of an endpoint. The resultative complement, which can be an Achievement or an adjective inchoative, indicates the end state of the change of state named by V1. The following are some examples:

1a. 你爸爸老糊涂了。

Nǐ bàba lǎohútu le.

(Your father is so old that he becomes muddleheaded.)

1b. 园子里的葡萄熟透了。

Yuánzi lǐ de pútáo shútòu le.

(The grapes in the garden are fully ripe.)

1c. 一只小马驹没有奶吃,竟瘦死了。

Yī zhī xiǎo mǎjū méiyǒu nǎi chī ,jìng shòu sǐ le

(A colt did not have milk to eat, finally it became emaciated and died.)

‘lǎo’ (old), ‘shú’ (ripe), and ‘shòu’ (thin, emaciated, lose weight) are inchoative adjectives. The change of state denoted by each of them involves a process extending over a period of time, and V2, or the resultative complement ‘hútu’ (muddleheaded), ‘tòu’ (thorough) or ‘sǐ’ (die) signals the end state or the result of the change of state which contains a process. The subjects of these resultative verb compounds are not Agents, as the subject referents do nothing volitionally, but experience the events, which affect their internal state or constitution in such a way that they all end up in a new state, so they all have the semantic role of Experiencer.

[1] Loar, J. K. (2011). Chinese syntactic grammar: functional and conceptual principles. New York: Peter Lang.
answered Aug 5 by Ariel (34,480 points)

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