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Encoding EventsFunctional Structure and Variation$
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Xuhui Hu

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198808466

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198808466.001.0001

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Resultatives at synchronic and diachronic levels

Resultatives at synchronic and diachronic levels

(p.131) 5 Resultatives at synchronic and diachronic levels
Encoding Events

Xuhui Hu

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates how a theory of events can be combined and be compatible with the theory of parametric variation in the generative tradition. At the diachronic level, Chinese resultatives developed from serial verb constructions with two subjacent verbal predicates in Old Chinese. The two adjacent verbs are reanalyzed as components of a single de-adjectival verb in the period of Middle Chinese due to language acquirers’ preference for structural simplicity. At the synchronic level, the preference for computational efficiency is also responsible for the fact that English style resultatives are not attested in Chinese. The English style resultatives are not attested in Romance languages due to a property in the lexicon of Romance languages: the valuation of the [uDiv] feature, or verbal feature, has to be achieved via incorporation in Romance languages, thus rejecting the operation of feature sharing that is crucial for the derivation of the English-style resultatives.

Keywords:   Diachronic change, synchronic variation, Chinese resultatives, English resultatives, Romance languages

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