Volume 1, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2213-8706
  • E-ISSN: 2213-8714
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It is widely believed that the order of morphosyntactic elements in Modern Chinese is to a large extent constrained by the Principle of Temporal Sequence (PTS) proposed by Tai (1985, 2002, 2007). However, there are indeed some constructions in this language apparently deviating from PTS, e.g. 蹲到 dūn-dào ‘squat-to; go to squat’, with the two elements reverse-chronological. In the present paper I provide instead a new diachronic perspective, in the framework of Linguistic Inventory Mightiness (LIM) developed recently by Liu (2011, 2012), to account for constructions of this kind. I argue that it is the diachronic extension of the directional resultative-verb-compound (DRVC) pattern, since it shows the property of LIM that motivates the emergence of reverse-chronological constructions. It is argued that the LIM approach can also explain other related diachronic changes in the history of Chinese, e.g. 摸进 mō-jìn ‘touch-enter; enter accompanied by action of touching’, with the first verb being an static action verb originally but now having a manner-of-motion meaning in the construction, as well as the constructions of 回到 huí-dào ‘return-to’ and 进来 jìn-lái ‘enter-come’ which do not exist before Pre-Modern Chinese but emerge to be in use thereafter. The approach proposed in the present paper favors a two-fold standpoint, i.e. the organization of linguistic structure on the one hand follows cognitive principles, but on the other impact and constrain related conceptual organization in discourse as well.


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