TITLE

The degree use of the possessive verb yÇ’u in Mandarin Chinese: a unified analysis and its theoretical implications

AUTHOR(S)
Xie, Zhiguo
PUB. DATE
May 2014
SOURCE
Journal of East Asian Linguistics;May2014, Vol. 23 Issue 2, p113
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The structure and meaning of possessive verbs have received competing analyses in the literature. Almost all the analyses were developed based on the English have and intended to apply cross-linguistically. In this paper, I consider the rather unique degree use of the Mandarin Chinese possessive verb yÇ’u, in the 'X + yÇ’u + Y + G(radable phrase)' construction. This construction has some peculiar empirical properties that are worth in-depth elaboration. I argue that the construction is an equative construction, semantically comparable to the English as...as degree construction. YÇ’u in this construction takes a covert small clause as the underlying object that specifies a sub-interval/subset relation between X's and Y's degrees on the dimension specified by the G element. The sub-interval/subset relation is warranted by considering the ontological representation of degrees as intervals on a scale. The degree use of yÇ’u makes only formal, but not content, contributions to the semantics of the 'X + yÇ’u + Y + G' construction. It shares the same structure and meaning as non-degree uses of yÇ’u. No other analysis of possessive verbs than the small clause-based analysis can capture this degree use of yÇ’u. Hence, through examining a language-specific phenomenon, the paper locates among several competing analyses of possessive verbs the most explanatorily adequate one.
ACCESSION #
95678251

 

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