Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

On Non-culminating Accomplishments in Mandarin
by Zhang, Anqi, Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 2018, 255; 10841102
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation investigates the ''non-culminating accomplishments'' in Chinese. In Mandarin, the accomplishment predicates, such as 'fix a car' and 'eat three apples', surprisingly do not necessarily entail the completion of the event in the perfective aspect as in English. This phenomenon is crucial for understanding how English and Chinese differ in their aspectual and verbal systems. The goal of my dissertation is to pinpoint the location where the culmination of event is encoded in the semantic composition. I argue that in Chinese the ''non-culminating accomplishments'' arise because of either how some verb meaning is packaged, or how the verb and the direct object interact. I propose that transitivity, degree semantics, and the referentiality of the incremental theme are three major factors that give rise to non-culminating accomplishment readings in Mandarin.

Unlike most previous analyses with a narrower focus, my dissertation offers a comprehensive study of all the relevant factors including the semantics of perfective markers, verbal classifications, and the composition of the meaning of the verb and the direct object. My dissertation contributes significantly to event semantics, by developing reliable ways to accurately locate the semantic source of the non-culminating readings, and by identifying referentiality of the direct object as a new factor crucial to the problem.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kennedy, Christopher
Commitee: Francez, Itamar, Xiang, Ming
School: The University of Chicago
Department: Linguistics
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 80/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics, Language
Keywords: Accomplishment, Atomicity, Event semantics, Non-culminating accomplishments, Referentiality, Transitivity
Publication Number: 10841102
ISBN: 978-0-438-37102-6
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