The Microparametric Syntax of Resultatives in Chinese Languages
Committee Co-Chairs: Chris Collins and Richard Kayne
Committee Members: Mark Baltin, Alec Marantz and C.-T. James Huang.
The dissertation examines the resultatives in Mandarin Chinese (henceforth Mandarin) and Taiwanese Southern Min (henceforth Taiwanese), a notoriously difficult construction that has drawn extensive attention in the literature. With a microparametric approach, I offer a syntactic analysis for two kinds of resultatives, phrasal resultatives and resultative compounds, in these two closely-related languages. I argue that phrasal resultatives and resultative compounds involve very similar structures; that is, the two predicates, not only in phrasal resultatives, but also in resultative compounds, exhibit a syntactic relation. In particular, the compound is not derived by head-movement. Rather, it is phrasal movement that brings the embedded VP to a higher functional projection, an embedded CP, and accordingly pied-pipes the (internal) argument of the unaccusative V2 to SpecCP, an edge position of a strong phase, so as to be accessible to the matrix domain. As such, phrasal resultatives and resultative compounds differ only in that the latter has the proposed phrasal movement whereas the former has a functional particle overtly filled in C. As a result, both resultative compounds and phrasal resultatives are bi-clausal and necessarily bi-eventive. In addition to explaining the well-known ambiguity found in resultative compounds, the proposed analysis can also capture the micro-variations of resultative compounds between the two languages - the transitivity and definiteness restrictions. On this analysis, the cross-linguistic differences between English and Mandarin/Taiwanese with respect to the Direct Object Restriction can be boiled down to the intervening CP projection in Mandarin/Taiwanese resultatives. The availability of post-verbal negation in Taiwanese, but not in Mandarin, and the word order variation of serial verb constructions among various languages are also touched upon.The dissertation represents one of the few formal studies on Taiwanese syntax and comparative works between Mandarin and Taiwanese.