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Perfective Aspect and Transition in Mandarin Chinese: An Analysis of Double -le Sentences
Hooi Ling Soh and Meijia Gao
107-122 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper deals with the analysis of the Mandarin Chinese particle -le, which has remained a persistent problem for those interested in general issues of tense and aspect. The paper focuses on the so-called double -le sentences, namely sentences with two -le markers: verbal -le and sentential -le. Extending their previous work that verbal -le and sentential -le are distinct morphemes, with verbal -le marking perfective aspect and sentential -le marking a transition, the authors show how the readings associated with double -le sentences follow from the combination of the individual semantic contributions of verbal -le and sentential -le, and the assumption that sentential -le takes scope over verbal -le. The authors also propose an analysis of a well-known restriction on the co-occurrence of verbal -le and negation, which supports the claim that negative sentences denote states (De Swart and Molendijk 1999).

Published in

Proceedings of the 2004 Texas Linguistics Society Conference: Issues at the Semantics-Pragmatics Interface
edited by Pascal Denis, Eric McCready, Alexis Palmer, and Brian Reese
Table of contents
Printed edition: $180.00