Volume 42, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Modern Chinese Pseudo-Possessive-Object Constructions (shortened as Modern Chinese PPO constructions; e.g. (他说了我的好话) ‘he has put in a good word for me’ and (他吃了我的豆腐) ‘he has taken advantage of me’) are actually constructions displaying possessor-affectee syncretism. They derive from Early Modern Chinese Real-Possessive-Object constructions in bridging contexts, some examples being (我也劝得列位大人的酒), ‘I also urged all the magistrates here to finish drinking your wine’ and (是那个在揭我的短哩) ‘who is uncovering my demerits’. Di-transitive constructions in Middle Chinese and Early Modern Chinese (e.g. (长星,劝尔一杯酒) ‘Comet! I urge you (to finish drinking) a cup of wine’ and (竖儒敢揭吾短处) ‘how dare the Confucius scholar uncover my demerits’) have provided structural templates for the formation of Modern Chinese PPO constructions. They also have led to a condition in which there are more examples of a maleficiary Modern Chinese PPO construction than examples of a beneficiary Modern Chinese PPO construction (e.g. (他吃了我的豆腐) he has taken advantage of me vs. (他说了我的好话) ‘he has put in a good word for me’). The grammaticalization pathway can also explain the formation of other constructions including another Modern Chinese PPO construction (e.g. (他吃了我的亏) ‘he has suffered the loss caused by me’), a Modern Chinese pseudo-object construction (e.g. (我感谢你的好心) ‘I thank you for your kindness’), and a Modern Chinese pseudo-modifier construction (e.g. (我爬了一下午的山) ‘I did mountain-climbing for the whole afternoon’).


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