The syntax-semantics interface of multimorpheme motion constructions in Chinese: An analysis based on hierarchical scalar structure

Jingxia Lin, Jeeyoung Peck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study analyzes semantic constraints affecting the order of motion morphemes in Mandarin Chinese multi-morpheme motion constructions (MMMCs, e.g. zôu-jìn fángjiān 'walk into the room' (lit.) 'walk-enter room' vs. *jìn-zôu (lit.) 'enter-walk'). We classify Chinese motion morphemes into four types based on recent study on "scale structure". Then, we propose an implicational scalar hierarchy formed by the four types of morphemes that can be used to predict the order of motion morphemes in Chinese MMMCs. Our corpus studies demonstrate that the hierarchy can explain the morpheme order of MMMCs for a comprehensive range of existing natural Chinese data. We anticipate that our scalar hierarchy may be extensible to serial-verb motion constructions in other languages as well.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-379
Number of pages43
JournalStudies in Language
Volume35
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Chinese multimorpheme motion construction
  • Morpheme order
  • Scale structure
  • Syntax-semantics interface

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