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Chinese Syntax in a Cross-Linguistic Perspective$
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Audrey Li, Andrew Simpson, and Wei-Tien Dylan Tsai

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199945658

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945658.001.0001

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Light-Verb Syntax Between English and Classical Chinese

Light-Verb Syntax Between English and Classical Chinese

(p.229) 9 Light-Verb Syntax Between English and Classical Chinese
Chinese Syntax in a Cross-Linguistic Perspective

Shengli Feng

Oxford University Press

This chapter studies light-verb syntax in English and Classical Chinese and argues that both languages share a basic structural operation under the VP-shall hypothesis. It is further argued that examples from Classical Chinese motivate a unified account for the extra-argument under SPEC, namely, a more abstract, generic v (i.e., INVOLVE or DO) is proposed to select the extra-argument, which may have different thematic relations with the event denoted by elements under V'. Under this analysis, a variety of light-verb constructions in Archaic Chinese and parallel light-verb expressions between English and Archaic Chinese are revealed and analyzed. It is shown that the light-verb syntax is freely operated in Archaic Chinese, while it is more restricted in Modern Chinese. Given the theory presented here, a number of questions are raised and discussed, including the semantic differences between covert and overt light-verb constructions and possible derivations of denominal verbs.

Keywords:   light-verb syntax, generic light verb, covert/overt light verbs, Archaic Chinese syntax

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