A Scalar Analysis of Chinese Incremental Theme VP
- A Scalar Analysis of Chinese Incremental Theme VP
- accomplishment; argument NPs; incremental changes; multi-point scalar changes; open-scale changes; dual telicity
- Issue Date
- The Chinese University of Hong Kong
- Journal of Chinese Linguistics Monograph Series, Page. 1-32
- Incremental theme “V + yi ‘a/one’ + CL + N” sequences in Mandarin Chinese exhibit dual telicity in that sometimes they have a completion interpretation and other times a termination interpretation. This paper shows that in Mandarin Chinese, incremental theme V + yi ‘a/one’ + CL + N sequences describe multi-point closed scalar changes (Rappaport
Hovav and Levin 2010, among others), an aspectual class which subsumes the traditional concept of accomplishments (Vendler 1957). Furthermore, in light of recent findings in a scalar analysis of English incremental theme argument NPs (Kennedy 2012), we show that the ambiguous aspectual interpretations of events with incremental theme in Mandarin Chinese can be consistently explained by the scalar features lexicalized in their argument NPs. Furthermore, we will show that the scalar analysis has more explanatory power in accommodating the different types of NPs and different types of events denoting incremental changes than the previous approaches. The results of this study shed important light on the analysis of lexical aspect in Mandarin Chinese.
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