Chapter published in:Interfaces in Grammar
Edited by Jianhua Hu and Haihua Pan
[Language Faculty and Beyond 15] 2019
► pp. 167–205
The V-copy construction in Mandarin
A case temporarily reopened
The focus of this study is the so-called verb-copy construction(s) of Mandarin Chinese, where two (or even more) copies of the same verb surface in a single clause, without any semantic consequence of this multiplicity. This family of constructions has received various analyses in the generative tradition (e.g., Tsao 1987; Huang 1988; Li 1990; Shi 1996; Paul 2002a, Gouguet 2005; Cheng 2007), each with its strengths and weaknesses. In recent years, there emerged some partially converging proposals that build on the minimalist framework of Chomsky (1995, 2000, 2001), and fundamentally agree that in these constructions both VP-level and V-level operations are involved (V-copy is not one construction, but a group of surface lookalikes, with different underlying structures), and syntactic effects are heavily interspersed with semantic/pragmatic and phonetic considerations in a proper account; see: Gouguet (2005), Bartos (2008), Cheng (2007), Tieu (2009). On the other hand, some other recent contributions (Fang & Sells 2007; Hsu 2008) seem to call several assumptions of the earlier analyses into question, and present data neglected by those proposals. The present paper briefly reviews the earlier accounts, examines and mostly refutes the new potential counterarguments, and refines Bartos’s earlier analysis to cater for the full range of structural variation involved, by incorporating certain compatible components of Gouguet’s (2005) and Tieu’s (2009) proposals into it.
Published online: 15 April 2019
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