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Aspect in Mandarin Chinese: a corpus based study

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Publication date30/11/2004
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, The Netherlands
PublisherJohn Benjamins
Number of pages305
ISBN (Print)9789027230836
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameStudies in Language Companion Series
PublisherJohn Benjamins


Chinese, as an aspect language, has played an important role in the development of aspect theory. This book is a systematic and structured exploration of the linguistic devices that Mandarin Chinese employs to express aspectual meanings. The work presented here is the first corpus-based account of aspect in Chinese, encompassing both situation aspect and viewpoint aspect. In using corpus data, the book seeks to achieve a marriage between theory-driven and corpus-based approaches to linguistics. The corpus-based model presented explores aspect at both the semantic and grammatical levels. At the semantic level a two-level model of situation aspect is proposed, which covers both the lexical and sentential levels, thus giving a better account of the compositional nature of situation aspect. At the grammatical level four perfective and four imperfective aspects in Chinese are explored in detail. This exploration corrects many intuition-based misconceptions, and associated misleading conclusions, about aspect in Chinese common in the literature.