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Title: Pathways to adversity and speaker affectedness : on the emergence of unaccusative ‘give’ constructions in Chinese
Authors: Chen, WR
Yap, FH 
Issue Date: Jan-2018
Source: Linguistics, Jan. 2018, v. 56, no. 1, p. 19-68
Abstract: In this paper, we examine the characteristics of unaccusative 'give' constructions in Chinese, and additionally identify the pathways for their emergence in some Chinese dialects, in particular Southern Min and Mandarin varieties. In this paper, the terms dialect and variety are sometimes used interchangeably, with the term variety being the more general term that can also include variations within dialects. We distinguish between Type 1 and Type 2 unaccusative 'give' constructions, the former involving reversible 'escape'-Type intransitive predicates, and the latter irreversible 'die'-Type intransitive predicates. Type 1 constructions are attested in many Chinese varieties, such as Mandarin, Min, Wu, Hui, Hakka and Cantonese, whereas Type 2 constructions are more rare and thus far are mainly attested in Southern Min and some Mandarin varieties. Two major pathways in the development of unaccusative 'give' constructions are identified in this paper, namely, the causative pathway and the passive-mediated pathway. Our analysis also traces how the unaccusative 'give' construction develops into a marker of adversity and speaker affectedness. The findings of this study have implications for understanding the relationship between changes in valence (i.e., the number of core arguments that are profiled in a given construction) and speaker's subjective stance.
Keywords: 'give' constructions
Speaker affectedness marker
Unintentional causative
Publisher: Mouton De Gruyter
Journal: Linguistics 
ISSN: 0024-3949
DOI: 10.1515/ling-2017-0038
Rights: © 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
The following publication Chen, W., & Yap, F. H. (2018). Pathways to adversity and speaker affectedness: On the emergence of unaccusative ‘give’constructions in Chinese. Linguistics, 56(1), 19-68 is published by De Gruyter and is available at
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