Lecture: Verbal reduplication in Mandarin Chinese
An HPSG account
In Mandarin Chinese, verbs (kan `look’) can be reduplicated (kan-kan `look-look’) to express a delimitative aspectual meaning, namely that the event denoted by the verb happens in a short duration and/or a low frequency (kan-kan `look a little bit'). The current study tries to determine a suitable formal and unified analysis for the structure of verbal reduplication in Mandarin Chinese. I show that the analysis of the reduplicant as a verbal classifier seems inappropriate due to their difference in behaviours. Some generative analyses assume the reduplicant to be an aspect affix. But a construction-based approach seems to be more suitable than a generative one, because it deals with the semantically empty phonological element yi better and provides an account for the phonology, as well. Finally, I propose a Head-Driven Phrase Structure (HPSG) analysis for the verbal reduplication in Mandarin Chinese. I model the change of the semantics via lexical rule and proposed a type hierarchy for the lexical rules to account for the variations in the phonology.
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