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Grammaticalization of the notion of “passing” in Chinese (aspectual values)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 October 2009

Robert Iljic
Affiliation:
EHESS/CNRS, Paris
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

This article deals with the grammaticalization of the lexical meaning of GUO “to cross, pass” in Mandarin Chinese. GUO displays two aspectual/temporal values, known as the experiential suffix -guo and the phase complement guo respectively. The first indicates that in the past there is at least one instance of the event represented by the sentence and the second that an expected event has occurred and is now over. The experiential suffix refers to indefinite occurrences, whereas the phase complement refers to definite occurrences. These two values can be unified at a theoretical level. Aspectual GUO is concerned in all cases with the location of events in time: it situates an event in the (relative) past and it indicates either that among past events there is at least one occurrence of this type of event (suffix -guo), or that a particular (previously identified) event has passed, that is, entered the class of the past events (phase complement guo).

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Copyright © School of Oriental and African Studies 2009

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