On the Zero-Change Construal of Causative Simple Verbs in Mandarin Chinese

Fabienne Martin, Hongyuan Sun, Jinhong Liu, Hamida Demirdache

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


In a tradition going back to Tai and Chou (1975) and defended by Talmy (1991, 2000) or Chen (2005, 2017) among others, Mandarin simple verb (henceforth SV) counterparts of English lexical causatives such as TO BURN, TO CLOSE do not have a causative meaning. Rather these SVs are taken to denote a set of activities performed in order to trigger a certain result state in the theme’s referent, though, crucially, the result state itself is not part of the SV’s denotation. In this paper, we contest the position that Mandarin SVs have a radically different meaning from their English counterparts and should be collapsed into one class with Result-State (RS) oriented activity verbs.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of TripleA 7
Subtitle of host publicationLinguistic fieldwork and semantic theory
PublisherUniversität Tübingen
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


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