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Traversativity and grammaticalization: the aktionsart of 过 guo as a lexical source of evidentiality

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>08/2015
<mark>Journal</mark>Chinese Language and Discourse
Issue number1
Volume6
Number of pages44
Pages (from-to)57-100
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date15/07/15
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This paper discusses the new aktionsart of traversativity, here defined as the category marking the phasal meaning of ‘getting-through’ an event or a situation. Different from completives and resultatives (cf. Bybee et al. 1994), traversatives do not semantically profile a phasal contiguity with the telos of a situation, and thus detach the actionality of the event from a subsequent resultant phase. This entails that, along a perfective cline of change, the aktionsart of traversatives triggers aspectual discontinuity or anti-resultativity (cf. Plungian & van der Auwera 2006). Drawing on this, the present work focuses on the grammaticalization of the traversative particle 过 guò in Mandarin Chinese towards experiential perfect (cf. Cao 1995, Lin 2004, Liu 2009) and interpersonal evidential (IE) usages (cf. Tantucci 2013, 2014a, 2014b). I argue that the experiential and evidential reanalyses V-过 guò are semantically and pragmatically prompted by the original traversative aktionsart of the particle 过 guò. I further discuss this phenomenon through a quantitative and qualitative corpus analysis shedding light on the correspondence between specific written genres and the synchronic employment of V-过 guò either as a phasal, an experiential or an interpersonal evidential (IE) marker. Finally, I suggest that actional discontinuity or anti-resultativity constitutes a productive semantic-pragmatic trigger of further evidential reanalyses of a construction.