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) | 18 views

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Verbs that are inherently bounded or suggest ‘result’ are not allowed to act as V1. Examples are: ‘bìyè’ (graduate), ‘jiàn’2 (see), ‘zhōngzhǐ’ (stop), ‘jiéshù’ (conclude), ‘wán’ (finish), etc. Ungrammatical sentences are:

1a. *她把意思表明{清楚}了。

Zhāng Sān bìyè wán le.

(Int: *Zhang San finished graduating.)

1b. *  获得{到}了极大的成绩。

Huìyì jiéshù wán le.

(Int: *The meeting finished concluding.)

The verbs like ‘bìyè’ (graduate) and ‘jiéshù’ (conclude) strongly suggest the notion of ‘result’. Used in the perfective ‘le’, they express explicitly the attainment of the results. An event that has achieved a result is an event with a temporal endpoint. Since the verbs already have an inherent terminal point, the addition of a resultative complement would be redundant, or would violate the Single Delimiting Constraint—‘whereby an event can be delimited only once’ (Tenny, 1994). This accounts for the ineligibility of the verbs with an inherent endpoint to act as V1 in the RVC.

[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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