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Title: A complementation approach to Chinese passives and its consequences
Authors: Tang, S
Issue Date: 2001
Publisher: Mouton De Gruyter
Source: Linguistics, 2001, v. 39, no. 2, p. 257-295 How to cite?
Journal: Linguistics 
Abstract: The goal of this paper is to defend the complementation approach to Chinese passives and discuss its consequences. Four interesting issues related to Chinese passives ai e examined. (a) the categorial status of bei in Chinese passives (b) the possibility of having an empty agent argument, (c) sub-categorization of passive verbs and their grammatical status, and (d) the function of gei in passive and nonpassive sentences. The findings of this paper are as follows. First of all, it is argued that bei is not a preposition in Chinese long passives and is not a passive morpheme in short passives. Second, assuming that the complementation approach is on the right trade, it is argued that Chinese long passives are ECM structures. Hence, the embedded agent argument can be neither pro nor PRO. The agent argument cannot be a trace either, because movement will be blocked by a null operator adjoined to the embedded clause. Third, after comparing several passive verbs in Mandarin and Cantonese, it is observed that only the passive verbal elements that are less lexical, more functional may enter short passives. Fourth, it is argued that preverbal gel is a marker that marks affectedness, which has nothing to do with passivization. The occurrence of gel in various apparently unrelated contexts is explained under a unified account.
ISSN: 0024-3949
DOI: 10.1515/ling.2001.011
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