Linguistics and the Human Sciences, Vol 13, No 3 (2017)

The Resultative constructions in English and Chinese: A functional-cognitive analysis

Ronald Fong
Issued Date: 26 Jul 2019

Abstract


This paper investigates the interaction between verbal and constructional properties of the resultative constructions in English and Chinese. The choice of this structure brings out the important interface between syntax and semantics. The resultative in both English and Chinese is argued to be a construction larger than a single compound, and this is more controversial in Chinese because almost all linguists will treat the resultative such as da si ‘hit die’ as a compound. In particular, the construction is treated as subordination implied by the Deranking Hierarchy (Cristofaro, 2003) and a mini-construction in the sense of Construction Grammar (Goldberg, 1995; Boas, 2004). Simultaneously, the resultative is taken to be a highly transitive structure (Hopper and Thompson, 1980; Cheng and Huang, 1994). Finally, we will argue along Fauconnier’s (1997: 173) observation that ‘grammatical constructions are blends, which are entrenched but evolve diachronically’, which seems to be the case of the resultative construction in Chinese.

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DOI: 10.1558/lhs.20162

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