Volume 24, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067



Assigning constructions in Mandarin Chinese are special in that they often read like passives. With this in mind, the goal of this paper is twofold. First, I aim to compare assigning constructions with typical passive constructions of in Mandarin Chinese. Second, I attempt to seek an approach that may derive assigning constructions desirably. The research results are as follows. I have found that assigning constructions and passives differ both semantically and syntactically. I argue, contrary to Xiong (2010), that is not a passive morpheme since, unlike Mandarin passives or English passives, assigning constructions do not always exhibit the initial NP as a Patient or Theme. I also argue against the traditional treatment of as a preposition and instead propose that is a three-place predicate taking an IP complement. I show that the bi-clausal structure deriving from the verb analysis receives empirical support from binding phenomena.

Available under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Bošković, Željko
    1997The syntax of nonfinite complementation: An economy approach (Linguistic Inquiry Monographs 32). Cambridge: The MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Cheng, Lisa L.-S. & Huang, C.-T. James & Li, Y.-H. Audrey & Tang, C.-C. Jane
    1999 Hoo, hoo, hoo: Syntax of the causative, dative, and passive constructions in Taiwanese. InTing, Pang-Hsin (ed.), Contemporary studies on the Min dialects (Journal of Chinese Lingusitics Monograph Series 14), 146–203. Hong Kong: The Chinese University of Hong Kong Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Chiu, Bonnie Hui-Chun
    1993The inflectional structure of Mandarin Chinese. Los Angeles: University of California at Los Angeles. (Doctoral dissertation.)
    [Google Scholar]
  4. 1995 An object clitic projection in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of East Asian Linguistics4(2). 77–117. 10.1007/BF01731613
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01731613 [Google Scholar]
  5. Chomsky, Noam
    1981Lectures on government and binding (Studies in Generative Grammar 9). Dordrecht: Foris.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Cole, Peter & Hermon, Gabriella & Sung, Li-May
    1990 Principles and parameters of long-distance reflexives. Linguistic Inquiry21(1). 1–22.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Dong, Xiao-er
    2014 Guanyu “you” zi ju he “bei” zi ju zhi bijiao [On the comparison between you constructions and bei constructions]. Zhongwen Xinxi [Chinese Information] 2014(7). 154, 264.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Feng, Shengli
    1997 Guanyue lilun yu Hanyu de beidong ju [GB-theory and the passive construction in Chinese]. InHuang, C.-T. James (ed.), Zhongguo yuyanxue luncong [Studies in Chinese linguistics], vol.11, 1–28. Beijing: Beijing Language and Culture University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Gong, Qian-yan
    1980 Xiandai Hanyu-li de shoushi zhuyu ju [On sentences with patient subjects in modern Chinese]. Zhongguo Yuwen [Studies of the Chinese Language] 1980(5). 335–344.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Huang, C.-T. James
    1999 Chinese passives in comparative perspective. Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies29(4). 423–509.
    [Google Scholar]
  11. Huang, C.-T. James & Tang, C.-C. Jane
    1991 The local nature of the long-distance reflexive in Chinese. InKoster, Jan & Reuland, Eric (eds.), Long-distance anaphora, 263–282. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511627835.014
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511627835.014 [Google Scholar]
  12. Huang, C.-T. James & Li, Y.-H. Audrey & Li, Yafei
    2009The syntax of Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139166935
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139166935 [Google Scholar]
  13. Huang, Pinching
    2013The structural and functional analysis of bei and you sentences in Mandarin Chinese. New Taipei City: Fu Jen Catholic University. (Master’s thesis.)
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Koopman, Hilda
    1984The syntax of verbs: From verb movement rules in the Kru languages to universal grammar (Studies in Generative Grammar 15). Dordrecht: Foris.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Li, Yafei
    1993 Structural head and aspectuality. Language69(3). 480–504. 10.2307/416696
    https://doi.org/10.2307/416696 [Google Scholar]
  16. Li, Yen-Hui Audrey
    1985Abstract case in Mandarin Chinese. Los Angeles: University of Southern California. (Doctoral dissertation.)
    [Google Scholar]
  17. 1990Order and constituency in Mandarin Chinese (Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 19). Dordrecht: Kluwer. 10.1007/978‑94‑009‑1898‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-009-1898-6 [Google Scholar]
  18. Lin, T.-H. Jonah
    2009 Licensing “gapless” bei passives. Journal of East Asian Linguistics18(2). 167–177. 10.1007/s10831‑009‑9039‑y
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10831-009-9039-y [Google Scholar]
  19. 2012 Multiple-modal constructions in Mandarin Chinese and their finiteness properties. Journal of Linguistics48(1). 151–186. 10.1017/S0022226711000272
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022226711000272 [Google Scholar]
  20. Lin, T.-H. Jonah & Huang, Yu-Shan
    2015 Structures of the Mandarin gei constructions. Journal of East Asian Linguistics24(3). 309–338. 10.1007/s10831‑015‑9132‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1007/s10831-015-9132-3 [Google Scholar]
  21. Liu, Feng-hsi
    2006 Dative constructions in Chinese. Language and Linguistics7(4). 863–904.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Lu, chuan & Lin, Xing-guang
    1989 Xiandai Hanyu yufa de ge guanxi [Case relations in modern Chinese grammar]. Hanyu Xuexi [Chinese Language Learning] 1989(5). 11–15.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Lu, Wen-hua
    1985 “You” zi ju─Jianji “bei” zi ju [You constructions: Along with bei constructions]. Yuyan Jiaoxue yu Yanjiu [Language Teaching and Linguistic Studies] 1985(2). 17–28.
    [Google Scholar]
  24. Tang, Chih-Chen Jane
    1989 Chinese reflexives. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory7(1). 93–122. 10.1007/BF00141348
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00141348 [Google Scholar]
  25. Ting, Jen
    1995A non-uniform analysis of the passive construction in Mandarin Chinese. Rochester: University of Rochester. (Doctoral dissertation.)
    [Google Scholar]
  26. 1998 Deriving the bei-construction in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of East Asian Linguistics7(4). 319–354. 10.1023/A:1008340108602
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1008340108602 [Google Scholar]
  27. Travis, Lisa deMena
    1984Parameters and effects of word order variation. Cambridge: MIT. (Doctoral dissertation.)
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Wang, Hai
    1957“Ba” zi ju he “bei” zi ju [Ba constructions and bei constructions]. Shanghai: Shanghai Educational Publishing House.
    [Google Scholar]
  29. 1983 Yingyu he Hanyu de beidong ju [On passive sentences in English and Chinese]. Zhongguo Yuwen [Studies of the Chinese Language] 1983(6). 409–418.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Wang, Peter Chin-Tang
    1970A transformational approach to Chinese ba and bei. Austin: University of Texas at Austin. (Doctoral dissertation.)
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Xiong, Zhongru
    2010 Xiandai Hanyu zhong de “you” zi beidong ju [A passive construction marked by you in Mandarin Chinese]. Xiandai Waiyu (Jikan) [Modern Foreign Languages (Quarterly)] 33(1). 12–22.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. Zhang, Yisheng
    2004 Shilun “you” zi beidong ju─jianlun you zi ju he bei zi ju de qubie [On you passives: Along with the distinction between you constructions and bei constructions]. Yuyan Kexue [Linguistic Sciences] 2004(3). 38–53.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Zheng, Yuan
    2009 Hanyu beidong shi jieding yanjiu [A research on the definition of the passive form in Chinese]. Anqing Shifan Xueyuan Xuebao (Shehui Kexue Ban) [Journal of Anqing Teachers College (Social Science Edition)] 28(10). 116–123.
    [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): assigning; bi-clausal; binding; passive; patient
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error