The Middle Construction in Mandarin Chinese and the Presyntactic Approach

Translated Titles





丁仁(Jen Ting)

Key Words

中動句 ; 前句法部門 ; 論元結構 ; 受事主語句 ; middle construction ; presyntactic approach ; argument structure ; patient subject construction


Concentric: Studies in Linguistics

Volume or Term/Year and Month of Publication

32卷1期(2006 / 01 / 01)

Page #

89 - 117

Content Language


Chinese Abstract


English Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to argue for a presyntactic approach to middle formation in Mandarin Chinese. The subjecthood of the clause-initial NP in the construction at issue is first demonstrated. It is thus not true that these sentences may only be derived by topicalization along with a null subject, as Li and Thompson (1981) propose. It is further argued that the patient NP in a grammatical subject position is base-generated as external argument of the middle verb and that the logical subject of the middle verb is suppressed and present only at some presyntactic structure. This presyntactic approach to middle formation in Mandarin Chinese is supported by the comparison between middles and ba-constructions involving intransitive V-de resultatives as well as by the comparison between middles and inchoatives. The findings of this study thus lend support to a view put forth by Authier and Reed (1996) that middle formation is not homogeneous across languages.

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