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Typological Change in Chinese Syntax$
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Dan Xu

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199297566

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297566.001.0001

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Orientation of Verbs in Old Chinese

Orientation of Verbs in Old Chinese

(p.62) 2 Orientation of Verbs in Old Chinese
Typological Change in Chinese Syntax


Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the orientations of a verb (agent-patient relations). In a monosyllabic verb, various orientations are indicated by pronunciation, choice of verb, word order, context, etc., but with the loss of phonological and morphological means, this hidden marking became less and less efficient. A syntactic mean is more appropriate to explain the orientation of a verb. The preposition yú was overused in this context. Thus, the preposition yú provided a part of its function to other new adpositions favouring syntactic means; the latter were definitely required in the language evolution. The preverbal position was reserved for the NP marking (agent, patient/object, location, etc.) and the postverbal position was kept for verb aspect marking (resulting verb, aspect particles, frequency, duration, etc.).

Keywords:   verb orientation, Old Chinese, pronunciation, verb choice, phonology, syntax, language evolution, prepositions

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