CHINESE COVERBS AND ARGUMENT STRUCTURE

Catrin Sian Rhys

Abstract


This paper provides an analysis of a set of verbs that are licensed either as main verbs or in a more preposition-like use as 'coverbs'. The aim of the paper is to address the lexical representation of these verbs and avoid redundant multiple lexical entries. The analysis accounts for the
different structures that the verbs are licensed under by exploiting the lexical/functional distinction and the level of argument structure. The paper shares with Baker's (1989) approach to serial verb constructions the insight that such constructions are doubly headed, but implements it without having to make the same radical changes to x-bar theory and projection. The analysis predicts that the argument structure
of the main verb appearing with the coverb will have consequences for the interpretation of the coverb. This provides an unexpected explanation for an additional use of the coverb gei. The theoretical implications of the data and analysis presented here are that a percolation approach to argument structure and a prominence based notion of external argument provide better explanation of the data than a configurational approach which cannot account for the data involving trivalent geL

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