Volume 10, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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In standard Chinese (pŭtōnghuà), besides the regular passive form NP (undergoer) - BEI - NP (agent) - VP, there is a second syntactically related passive with a complex predicate containing a postverbal or 'retained object' : NP (undergoer) - BEI - NP (agent) - V - LE - N (part of the body).This second construction serves as the topic of discussion of this paper. It is shown to be restricted to expressing an inalienable relationship between a person and a part of the body, other relational nouns such as kinship or material possessions being excluded from postverbal position.It is argued that the postverbal NP is not a case of a 'retained object' in Jespersen's sense (1933) as the body part term neither acts as the true semantic undergoer nor can be considered as a kind of second object. This argument is supported by the additional evidence of the postverbal NP not permitting any modification by adjectives or demonstratives.The interpretation of lasting effect on the undergoer (the affected per son) resulting from an adversative passive event is claimed to be a main semantic constraint of this construction.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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