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The paper proposes a novel classification and analysis of the V-DE construction in Mandarin Chinese. On this proposal, the V-DE construction is divided into two types, predicative and non-predicative. The predicative type can be further divided into entity-predicative V-DE constructions and eventuality-predicative V-DE constructions. With respect to the analysis of the V-DE construction, the paper identifies four different structures. It points out that the de-part (i.e. the part after and marked by 得-de) in most V-DE constructions is a clause with or without an overt subject. Moreover, with respect to the cases where the de-part has an overt NP that can be interpreted as the Patient argument of the verb before -de and at the same time is semantically compatible with the VP or AP in the de-part, the paper proposes that the overt NP in such cases is syntactically the subject of the de-clause and syntactically is not the direct object of V-DE or the verb before -de. Finally, when the de-part of an entity-predicative V-DE construction has an overt NP between -de and the predicate of the de-clause, the AP or VP of the de-part generally needs to be predicated of the overt NP in the de-part. This constraint, however, can be occasionally relaxed to allow for a pragmatically-inducted interpretation when both of the following conditions are met: (i) the de-part is a well-formed clause in both form and meaning and (ii) the pragmatically-induced interpretation is pragmatically plausible.


This article was originally published in Lingua Sinica, available at DOI 10.1186/s40655-015-0006-4.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).



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