Bu-Yu, the Complex-Predicate Structures in Mandarin Chinese
Wayne State University
In this book, the author surveys the internal structures of three classes of bu-yu, complex-predicate structures, in Mandarin. They are traditionally termed as jieguo-‘resultative’ bu-yu, keneng- ‘potential’ bu-yu, and miaoshu- ‘descriptive’ bu-yu. They all consist of P(redicate)1 and P(redicate)2.
The author offers a finer categorization within and without these bu-yu structures that differ in formation, aspect marking, negation, and A-not-A question formation.
His analysis of P1 and P2 incorporation explains why in jieguo bu-yu, only P2 is under the scope of negation and why an intransitive P2 can now assign case. He argues that keneng bu-yu is derived from jieguo bu-yu, based on the similarities in their interpretations, the transitivity of their P2’s, and the optionality in their object topicalization and pro-drop. He proposes, however, that keneng bu-yu is a serial-verb construction, the infix de being an analytical morpheme for both potentiality and causativity. A successive cyclic analysis accounts for the idiosyncrasy in keneng buyu A-not-A question, which takes the form of P1-DE-P2-P1-not-P2, different from the normal A-not-A questions.
He divides miaoshu bu-yu into descriptives, resultatives, and causatives, depending on the nature of their P2. When P2 is an individual-level predicate, we have descriptives, with P2 being the main predicate. When P2 is a stage-level predicate, we have resultatives or causatives. Resultatives has either subject-control or complex clausal structure, based on the finiteness of P2. Causatives have ECM. The de in descriptives is argued to be a nominalizer, which explains the peculiar P1-copying effect.
The de in resultatives is argued to be a complementizer like English ‘that’. The de in causatives is argued to be a prepositional complementizer like English ‘for’ that introduces an infinitive complement.
ISBN 9783895869020. LINCOM Studies in Chinese Linguistics 04. 155pp. 2007.