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Title: The diachronic evolution of directional constructions in Mandarin.
Authors: McElvenny, James
Keywords: Sino-Tibetan Languages
Mandarin Chinese
Issue Date: 2006
Publisher: University of Sydney
Abstract: The aim of this thesis is to investigate the path of grammaticalisation of the directional constructions in Modern Mandarin from their roots in Old Chinese.1 I show that the Modern Mandarin directional constructions have developed through successive stages of reanalysis from forms in Old Chinese that were created by directional verbs and various syntactic constructions operating in the language of the time. I describe the data presented by this research using a combination of grammaticalisation theory and Construction Grammar. What I describe here as directional constructions are normally identified as qūxiàng bǔyǔ 趨向 補語‘directional complements’ in most research into Chinese grammar.2 I have avoided this term, however, since the directional forms that appear in Modern Mandarin do not have the properties of complements as that term is generally understood in modern syntactic theory. Complements are usually taken to be forms that fill argument slots of verbs (Crystal 1997:75), but, as is shown below, the directional forms in Modern Mandarin and other modern Chinese dialects do not fill argument slots. The term ‘directional construction’ is also more appropriate to the theoretical orientation of my analysis, as will become clear in the discussion below. The most basic function of the directional forms in Modern Mandarin is to indicate the path of a motion event that is associated with the verb. This gives Modern Mandarin a ‘satellite-framed’ structure for the expression of manner and path in motion events, according to Talmy’s (1985; 2003) system of classification.
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