LINGUIST List 15.1471

Mon May 10 2004

Diss: Syntax: Li: 'Causative and Resultative...'

Editor for this issue: Tomoko Okuno <>


  1. lidianyu, Causative and Resultative Constructions In Mandarin Chinese...

Message 1: Causative and Resultative Constructions In Mandarin Chinese...

Date: Sun, 9 May 2004 11:20:31 -0400 (EDT)
From: lidianyu <>
Subject: Causative and Resultative Constructions In Mandarin Chinese...

Institution: G�teborg University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003

Author: Dianyu Li

Dissertation Title:
Causative and Resultative Constructions In Mandarin Chinese: A
Multiperspectival Approach

Linguistic Field:
Linguistic Theories,

Subject Language: Chinese, Mandarin (code: CHN)

Dissertation Director 1: Jens Allwood
Dissertation Director 2: Soren Sjostrom

Dissertation Abstract:

This study is an exploration of the causative and resultative
constructions in Mandarin Chinese, particularly the ba
construction. Within the approach of Meaning Determination with
Semantic-Epistemic Operations, the meaning of ba is distinguished from
that of na (take) and that of jiang (hold up). The word ba is
classified as a stance verb in the present study. It can be used to
express concrete physical holding and guarding or abstract control. It
can also be used metaphorically to express causation. Our
classification of ba as a stance verb challenges the serial verb and
disposal analyses. The fact that there are similarities between the
senses of ba and na as well as the nebulous differences between them
has led to ba's analysis as a serial verb; its connotation of a state
of controlling has resulted in the analysis of the subsequent process
as 'disposal'. We claim that in the ba construction, ba is used either
abstractly as in the agentive and experiential senses or
metaphorically as in the causative sense. Following Bender (1998,
2000), we regard ba as the syntactic head subcategorizing for a
subject, an object and a verbal complement. By analyzing ba's
discourse functions, we provide a pragmatic approach to analyzing
complex predicates. The higher predicate verb ba in the ba
construction is 'light' in the sense that it denotes a kind of
relation, such as causation and control, between the subject and the
object as well as the rest of the sentence. This predicate is used to
recount a situation which is not marked for aspect, as do permissive,
instructive and causative verbs such as shi(make), rang(let) and
jiao(order). Due to its role in `recounting', the predicate ba links
to the event that has been recounted to make the recounting
complete. This event is expressed by a verbal composite of a process
and a resulting state. Since the recount predicate denotes a
relational state with an entity as its grammatical object, the event
recounted has a control relation to this entity, hence its role as the
'co - predicate'. Using Lambrecht's (1994) idea of focus, I show that
the focus of the ba construction can be instantiated into a relational
pragmatic category with the focal information nesting in the verbal

Using LFG formalism, I demonstrate that the functional structure is
shown as being able to (i) accommodate the grammaticalized information
of semantics and pragmatics relevant to the ba construction and (ii)
present their relationship in a non-complicated and precise way.

KEY WOEDS: stance verb, polysemy, light verb, complex predicate,
verbal complement, focus, Mandarin Chinese ba construction.

ISBN 91-973895-6-0

Printed in Sweden
Kompendiet - G�teborg
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