Volume 38, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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This paper analyses the encoding of perfectivity in Chinese, focusing on its form, interpretation, and grounding functions. Three major points are made based on examinations of narrative text. First, perfectivity is indicated not only by the perfective marker -le, but also by an array of “bounding expressions” that explicitly designate the endpoint of events. Second, Chinese perfective clauses as currently defined vary in grounding roles. They may present bounded dynamic events and play a foregrounding role or denote stative situations and have a backgrounding function. The different grounding functions are determined not by the verb form but by the transitivity features of the clauses and the context in which they occur. Third, the flexibility is closely related to the nature and semantics of perfectivity and the structural components of the Chinese perfective constructions. The study adds unique features of an isolating language to our existing knowledge of grounding.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): aspect; Chinese; discourse function; grounding; perfectivity
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