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Title: Mandarin directional serial verb constructions : a constructionist approach
Author: Chen, Zhishuang
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 9693
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis presents a neo-constructionist theory to account for a couple of puzzles centring around the Mandarin directional serial verb constructions (DSVC), such as song tang jin lai ‘send soup enter come'. Mandarin DSVCs are divided into seven types. I first look into the word order alternations observed with certain types of DSVCs. I find that the word order variants differ in telicity and their interaction with the aspectual morpheme le, the potential morphemes de/bu and the negation bu/mei. Then the DSVCs involving no word order alternations are also examined. I compare the distribution of le and the locative object in all types of DSVCs. The relation between the metaphoric interpretation and the syntactic position of directional verbs is also discussed. To cover the data, I propose that syntax first generates an eventuality-encoding structure for the lexical items to be inserted. In this structure, VP is sandwiched between a series of functional projections including ResP, PathP, DeicP, RealiseP and IAsP. VP represents the process of the event; ResP expresses the result state; PathP describes a moving track; DeicP encodes deictic information; RealiseP accommodates the aspect marker le; IAspP calculates telicity value. Different options for the insertion of the directional verbs (under Res, Path or Deic) result in the word order alternations. And the observed syntactic and semantic characteristics of DSVCs can all be captured by the interaction among these projections. The proposal is sympathetic to many other constructionist theories in the belief of an impoverished lexicon, the idea that syntactic structure is basically event structure, and the decompositional approach that spans one item to different heads. Overall, this work not only contributes to our understanding of how DSVCs are syntactically represented, but also shows the explanatory power of the constructionist approach in modelling the human language faculty.
Supervisor: Tsoulas, George Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available