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Query Details

Query Subject:   Resultatives from a Cross-linguistic Perspective
Author:   Chao Li
Submitter Email:  click here to access email

Linguistic LingField(s):  Syntax

Query:   Dear Linguists,

I'm writing to consult with you on some questions concerning resultatives.
As far as the English resultative construction is concerned, it is often
said that the resultative phrase can be an AP as in (1-2) or a PP as in (3-4).

(1) He pounded the metal flat.
(2) He yelled himself hoarse.

(3) He swept the leaves off the sidewalk.
(4) He danced out of the room.

While in English resultatives are realized “analytically” in the sense that
in examples like (1-3), on the surface, there is an “object” between the
main verb and the resultative phrase, in Mandarin they are realized as verb
compounds, as in (5-7).

(5) Zhangsan ca-jing-le zhuozi.
Zhangsan wipe-clean-Perf. table
‘Zhangsan wiped the table clean.’
(6) Zhangsan zou-lei-le.
Zhangsan walk-tired-Perf.
‘Zhangsan walked and as a result he became tired.’
(7) Zhangsan kan-lei-le shu.
Zhangsan read-tired-Perf. book
‘Zhangsan read books and as a result he became tired.’

It is often claimed that AP resultatives are cross-linguistically rare but
PP resultatives (indicating change of location) are cross-linguistically
much more frequent. As the information on whether or not resultatives are
allowed in a language is usually not available in a grammar book on that
language, I want to know from you, the experts on different world languages:

(i) Do the language(s) you are familiar with have resultatives or not?
(ii) If they have, are both AP resultatives and PP resultatives allowed? If
only PP resultatives are allowed, do you have idea about why AP
resultatives are not allowed? Or more generally, if it is true that PP
resultatives are cross-linguistically more frequent than AP resultatives,
why is it so?
(iii) If they have, are the resultatives realized in the English way or the
Mandarin way?
(iv) If the resultatives are realized as verb compounds as in Mandarin,
what is the order of the two components forming the compound? That is, does
the activity component precede or follow the result component?
(v) Although I used “activity component” in the above question, Mandarin in
fact allows both an activity verb and a stative verb as the non-result
component, as shown in (8) below. Are there any other languages that allow
the use of a stative verb as the non-result component of resultatives?
(vi) Do the languages that have resultatives allow both the object-oriented
reading and the subject-oriented reading as Mandarin does [see (6-7) for
the subject-oriented reading of Mandarin resultative verb compounds]? To
express (6) in these languages, is the use of “fake reflexive” obligatory?
(vii) Are the counterparts of Mandarin sentences like (9) below (which has
the SVO word order) grammatical in other languages that have resultatives?
(viii) Are the counterparts of Mandarin sentences like (10) below (which is
transitive on the surface and whose non-result component is an unaccusative
verb) grammatical in other languages that have resultatives?

(8) Zhangsan bing-ji-le ta-de taitai.
Zhangsan sick-worried-Perf. he-Poss. wife
‘Zhangsan was sick and as a result his wife became worried.’

(9) Na-ping jiu he-zui-le Zhangsan.
that-CL liquor drink-drunk-Perf. Zhangsan
‘Zhangsan drank that bottle of liquor and this caused him
to get drunk.’

(10) Bingxue hua-shi-le lu-mian.
sleet melt-wet-Perf. road-surface’
‘The sleet melted and as a result the road became wet.’

My curiosity has urged me to ask so many questions about resultatives. I
would greatly appreciate it if you could provide me with any information
about any or all of the questions raised above. Sources and examples are
especially welcome if the languages you are familiar with have
resultatives. I’ll post a summary of the responses.

Thank you in advance for your help and your precious time!

LL Issue: 16.1344
Date posted: 27-Apr-2005


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