Item Details

The Resultative constructions in English and Chinese: A functional-cognitive analysis

Issue: Vol 13 No. 3 (2017) Special Issue: Free Linguistics Proceedings 2016

Journal: Linguistics and the Human Sciences

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/lhs.20162


This paper investigates the interaction between verbal and constructional properties of the resultative constructions in English and Chinese. The choice of this structure brings out the important interface between syntax and semantics. The resultative in both English and Chinese is argued to be a construction larger than a single compound, and this is more controversial in Chinese because almost all linguists will treat the resultative such as da si ‘hit die’ as a compound. In particular, the construction is treated as subordination implied by the Deranking Hierarchy (Cristofaro, 2003) and a mini-construction in the sense of Construction Grammar (Goldberg, 1995; Boas, 2004). Simultaneously, the resultative is taken to be a highly transitive structure (Hopper and Thompson, 1980; Cheng and Huang, 1994). Finally, we will argue along Fauconnier’s (1997: 173) observation that ‘grammatical constructions are blends, which are entrenched but evolve diachronically’, which seems to be the case of the resultative construction in Chinese.

Author: Ronald Fong

View Full Text

References :

Alsina, A., Bresnan, J., and Sells, P. (Eds) (1997). Complex Predicates. CSLI Lecture Notes, No. 64, Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.

Boas, H. (2003). A Constructional Approach to Resultatives. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Bolinger, D. (1971) The Phrasal Verb in English. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Butt, M. (1995). The Structure of Complex Predicates in Urdu. Stanford, CA: Center for the Study of Language (CSLI).

Carrier, J. and Randall, J. (1992). The argument structure and syntactic structure of resultatives. Linguistic Inquiry 23: 173–234.

Cheng, L. and Huang, C-T J. (1994). On the argument structure of resultative compounds. In M. Y. Chen, and O. Tsang (Eds) In Honour of William S-Y Wang, 187–221. Taipei: Pyramid.

Chomsky, N. (1986). Knowledge of Language. New York: Praeger.

Chomsky, N. (1995). The Minimalist Program. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Cristofaro, S. (2003). Subordination. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Cristofaro, S. (2014). Is there really a syntactic category of subordination? In L. Visapää, J. Kalliokoski, and H. Sorva (Eds) Contexts of Subordination, 73–92. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Croft, W. (2001). Radical Construction Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dik, S. C. (1997). The Theory of Functional Grammar, Part1: The Structure of the Clause. (Functional Grammar Series (FGS)). Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Dixon, R. M. W. (2010). Basic Linguistic Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Dowty, D. (1991) Thematic proto-roles and argument selection. Language 67 (3): 547–619.

Fauconnier, G. (1994). Mental Spaces. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Fauconnier, G. (1997). Mappings in Thoughts and language. Cambridge:: Cambridge University Press.

Fillmore, C,, Kay, P. and O’Conner, M. K. (1988). Regularity and idiomaticity in grammatical constructions: The case of Let Alone. Language, 64: 501–538.

Fong, R. (2015). A constructional-cognitive analysis of Chinese directionals. Cognitive Semantics, 1: 104–130.

Fong, R. (2016). Chinese as satellite-framed: A cognitive-constructional interpretation. Cognitive Linguistic Studies, 3 (2): 234–259.

Givón, T. (1990). Syntax Vol 2. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Goldberg, A. (1992). The inherent semantics of argument structure: The case of the English Ditransitive Construction. Cognitive Linguistics, 3: 37–74.

Goldberg, A. (1995). Constructions: A Construction Grammar Approach to Argument Structure. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Goldberg A. (1998). Semantic principles of predication. In J-P. Koenig (Ed.) Discourse and Cognition, 41–55. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Goldberg, A. (2005). Argument realization. In J-O. ┼Éstman and M. Fried (Eds) Construction Grammars, 17–43. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Goldberg, A. (2006). Constructions at Work. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Haiman, J. (1985). Natural Syntax. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Hoekstra, T. (1988). Small clause results. Lingua, 74: 101–139.

Hopper, P. and Thompson, S. (1980). Transitivity in grammar and discourse. Language, 56: 251–299.

Huddleston, R. (1976). Some theoretical issues in the description of the English verb. Lingua, 40: 331–383.

Huddleston, R., Pullum, G. et al. (2002). The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Jackendoff, R. (1990). Semantic Structures. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Jackendoff, R. (2002). Foundations of Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lakoff, G. (1987). Women, Fire and Dangerous Things. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press.

Langacker, R. W. (1987). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar Volume 1. Stanford, CA: Stanford University.

Langacker, R. W. (1991). Foundations of Cognitive Grammar Volume 2. Stanford, CA: Stanford University.

Langacker, R. W. (2008) Cognitive Grammar: A Basic Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Langacker, R. W. (2013). Essentials of Cognitive Grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Langacker, R. W. (2014). Subordination in a dynamic account of grammar. In L. Visapää, J. Kalliokoski, and H. Sorva (Eds) Contexts of Subordination, 17–72. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

LaPolla, R. J. (1993). Arguments against ‘subject’ and ‘direct object’ as viable concepts in Chinese. Bulletin of the Institute of History and Philology, 63: 759–813.

LaPolla, R. J. (2009). Chinese as a Topic-Comment (Not Topic-Prominent and Not SVO) language. In J. Xing (Ed.) Studies of Chinese Linguistics: Functional Approaches, 9–22. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Levin, B. and Rappaport Hovav, M. (1995). Unaccusativity. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Li, Y. (1990). On V-V compounds in Chinese. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 8: 177–207.

Li, Y. (1995). The thematic hierarchy and causativity. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 13: 255–282.

Palmer, F. R. (1974). The English Verb. London: Longman.

Palmer, F. R. (1990). Modality and the English Modals (2nd edition). London: Longman.

Payne, T. E. (2011). Understanding English Grammar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rappaport, Hovav M. and Levin, B. (1998). Building verb meanings. In M. Butt and W. Geuder (Eds) The Projection of Arguments. 97–135. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

Shi, C. (2008). Hanyu Dongjieshi de Jufa Yuyi Yanjiu [Study of the Syntax and Semantics of Chinese Verb-Result Structure]. Beijing: Yuyan Daxue Press.

Shi, Y. (2002). The Establishment of Modern Chinese Grammar. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Siewierska, A. (1991). Functional Grammar. London and New York: Routledge.

Song, W. (2007). On the Syntax of Modern Chinese V-R Compounds: A Study Based on Conceptual Structures. Beijing: Peking University Press.

Tallerman, M. (2011). Understanding Syntax (3rd edition). London: Hodder Education.

Wechsler, S. (1997). Resultative predicates and control. In R. Blight and M. Moosally (Eds) Texas Linguistic Forum, 38: 307–321. Austin, TX: University of Texas at Austin.

Wechsler, S. (2015). Word Meaning and Syntax: Approaches to the Interface. Oxford: Oxford University Press.