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Auteur: Ching-Yu YANG

On the Shou Construction in Mandarin Chinese: a Non-Unified Approach

Abstract/Résumé: This paper focuses on a seldom discussed issue in Chinese, the shou ‘undergo’ construction, and aims to provide a syntactic account to its diverse uses. This construction expresses that the subject underwent an event denoted by the phrase following shou, and it has four subtypes: (i) 'Lisi shou(-le) chufa le.‘Zhangsan underwent a punishment.’ (ii) Zhangsan shou-le laoshi chufa le. ‘Zhangsan underwent a punishment of the teacher.’ (iii) Zhangsan shou laoshi chufa le.‘Zhangsan was punished by the teacher.’ (iv) Zhangsan hen shou (xuesheng) huanying.‘Zhangsan was very welcomed by students.’ Shou in each type shows differences in the number of complements, selection with aspects and the positive (degree) morpheme hen (Liu 2009). This paper suggests that shou in those types has the sense of undergoing but it merges to different syntactic positions. Shou in type one is a lexical verb and takes event nominals as complement, like [VP shou NP]. Shou in type two is a light verb (Grimshaw and Mester 1988) and its complement is a small clause headed by event nominals, as [VP shou [SC-NP NP NP]. Shou in type three is a passive marker. Following Huang (1999)’s analysis of bei passives, shou is a light verb, which takes VP as complement, like [vP shou [VP NP V]]. Shou in type four is a light adjective (Landau 2009), which converts a VP or NP into an adjective, like [AP shou [VP]]. The proposal accounts for the following facts. First, shou in type one and two can be suffixed by perfective aspects, but shou in type three and four cannot. Second, the complement of shou in type one and two can be preceded by the [number + classifier] expression, such as shou-le (laoshi) san[Num]-ci[Cl]-de chufa ‘underwent those three punishments (of the teacher)’, but shou in type three and four cannot. Third, only shou in type four can be modified by the degree morpheme, but not others. Fourth, since shou is a light adjective, the degree morpheme precedes shou instead of shou’s complement, such as *shou (xuesheng) hen huanying. Shou merges to different positions and has distinctive functions, but the core meaning ‘undergo’ remains the same. Shou in type one to type four shows a process of grammaticalization. Shou in type one is the most lexical. Shou in type two lacks of substantial meanings but it still a main verb syntactically. Shou in type three is a light verb semantically and syntactically. Typologically, particles may be used as a derived adjective (Kennedy and McNally 2005). Shou in type four is a light adjective, and shou and the complement is a derived adjective, which is the most diverged from the core uses and hence the most functional.