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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


Durational Complements and Verb Copying in Chinese

Vol. 18 No. 2   12/1988   


Durational Complements and Verb Copying in Chinese 


Marie-Claude Paris









Key words



    The aim of this paper is two-fold. On the one hand, it attempts to present the 

syntax, semantics and pragmatics of durational complements within a unified 

framework. On the other, it tries to explain the co occurrence of verb copying and 

durational phrases in terms of aspectual properties. 

    Durational phrases are not arguments of the predicates they modify. Rather they 

evidence three syntactic, semantics and pragmatic properties which are characteristic 

of measure phrases: 

    1. They can optionally be modified by you. 

    2. They are not referential and cannot be preceded by zhe or na. 

    3. They carry the most important information. 

    This is why we label them quantifiers. 

    The study of the position and scope of negative and restrictive adverbs allows us 

to treat durational complements. 

    1. As part of complex predicates. 

    2. As carriers of the most important information. 

    Finally, verb copying is not treated as a purely syntactic process, but as 

semantically conditioned. The more the predication refers to an activity, the more 

verb coping is needed. The more the predication indicates a bounded event, the 

less verb copying is found. 



Author: Marie-Claude Paris
Genre: Article
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