A COGNITIVE ACCOUNT OF MANDARIN COVERBS r r

Hui Yin
unpublished
, AB, Canada r r 1. MANDARIN COVERBS r 1.1 Definitions r In Modem Mandarin, coverbs are terms created to cover a set of words which are semantically like prepositions in English (Li & Thompson 1974) and this deverbalized category which has undergone or is r undergoing the process of grammaticalization. Coverbs are said to be historically derived from verbs and some of r them are derived from serial verb constructions. Many of the items can be used either as lexical verbs or coverbs r (i.e.,
more » ... overbs r (i.e., many of them are homophonous with lexical verbs.) r 1.2 Representative Items r The following are some representative items with glosses of both their verbal meanings and their prepositional meanings: r COVERB (OLDER) VERBAL MEANING PREPOSITIONAL MEANING r (1) hei to cover, to receive by-passive marker ha to take hold of preverbal object marker r dao to arrive to (place) na to grasp with (instrumental) r hi to compare than r gei to give for, to etc' wei to do benefactive for' r gen to follow with (comitative) r dui to face to, toward' xiang to face to, toward r shun to follow, obey along r yan to go along along r 2. TRADITIONAL CRITERIA Traditional analyses that coverbs are not true verbs but prepositions are based on both syntactic and semantic r criteria (Poteet 1988). r 2.1 Syntactic Criteria r The following are three main syntactic criteria to distinguish coverbs from true verbs: r i) Verbs occur in the V-not-V structure while coverbs usually do not. In Mandarin Chinese, the V(erb)-not­ r V(erb) stmcture is one way to form a yes-no question. r ii) Verbs can take 'aspect' particles such as Ie 'perfective', zhe 'progressive' while coverbs do not. r iii) Transitive verbs may occur without overt object NPs immediately following them in answer to a yes-no r question while coverbs may not. r r r r (r
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