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University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics

Authors

Jianrong Yu

Abstract

Mandarin Chinese has a way of adding arguments to transitive verbs using the morpheme corresponding to ‘give’. It can appear either affixed to the main verb or as a preposition-like element, resulting in what looks like a double-object prepositional-dative alternation. In this paper, I examine their syntactic and semantic properties, arguing they both encode low applicative possessor semantics but have different syntactic structures. I outline a compositional syntax-semantics for deriving the alternation, the key component being a switch in the order of application of the semantic rules of function application and event identification that explains their identical semantics but different syntactic structures.

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