Volume 48, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1810-7478
  • E-ISSN: 2589-5230
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The verb ‘to have’ in standard Mandarin is typically followed by a noun. can also take a VP as its complement (‘ + VP’) in several varieties of Mandarin. However, the function associated with it is still under debate: ‘ + VP’ has been analyzed as expressing past tense, perfective aspect, perfect aspect, or realis mood. This paper assesses these analyses by conducting a corpus-based investigation of ‘ + VP’ on the PTT platform and by looking at different morphosyntactic environments in which it is used. The data favor analyzing ‘ + VP’ as expressing an assertive modality meaning (the situation is considered true in the real world by the speaker). This analysis corroborates with the high frequency of ‘ + VP’ in assertive environments (e.g., after factual verbs in embedded clauses, with attitudinal adverbs of truth value, among others). Conversely, taking ‘ + VP’ as indicating past tense or perfective aspect is challenged by the present data, and the perfect aspect analysis cannot explain all the environments in which ‘ + VP’ is used. This paper provides new insights regarding the morphosyntactic use of ‘ + VP’ and sheds light on the meaning this construction encodes.


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