Studies on Ba Resultative Construction
A Comprehensive Approach to Mandarin Ba Sentences
Picus Sizhi Ding
Simon Fraser University
The present work represents a comprehensive approach to the perennial problem of Mandarin ba sentences. In the light of typological studies of resultative, the ba-construction is identified as the Ba Resultative Construction (BRC), in which ba is argued to have developed an abstract meaning of ‘bringing about a resultative state’. Ba is consequently argued to be the head of the periphrastic resultative construction, where its verbal status has remained after the grammaticalization. The complexity of the ba problem is elucidated in semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic studies of BRC. Semantically, a ba sentence in BRC is complex in that it typically involves an underlying action and a resultative state. Considering ba as a verb, a complex structure naturally arises in the syntactic analysis of BRC. Finally, ba sentences in BRC also possess a pragmatically complex structure: an embedded topic structure.
The monograph is organized as follows: Chapter 1 presents a general introduction of the ba problem; Chapter 2 briefly reviews literature on Mandarin ba sentences, including studies available as recently as 2005; Chapter 3 concerns the constructional meaning of BRC; Chapter 4 represents a lexical study of a itself, discussing how the resultative meaning of the verb has evolved and its syntactic properties in BRC. Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 are devoted to the overall syntactic structure of BRC. The former investigates relations between arguments of the matrix verb ba and the embedded verb in the complement clause under the Government-Binding Theory, while the latter addresses a parsing experiment of BRC in the cooking domain implemented within the framework of Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar. Chapter 7 focuses on the pragmatic features of BRC. Finally, conclusions are drawn in Chapter 8.
ISBN 9783895864919. LINCOM Studies in Asian Linguistics 62. 100pp. 2007.