Interdisciplinary Information Sciences
Online ISSN : 1347-6157
Print ISSN : 1340-9050
ISSN-L : 1340-9050
Comparison of the Verb of Motion GO in English and Chinese in Terms of Grammaticalization
Linya YIYoshiki OGAWA
ジャーナル オープンアクセス

2024 年 30 巻 1 号 p. 13-35


The objective of this article is twofold: First, we compare the modal be going to-VP construction in English with the qu-VP 'go-VP', VP-qu 'VP-go', and qu-VP-qu 'go-VP-go' constructions in Chinese and propose that neither qu 'go' nor lai 'come' in Chinese has been grammaticalized to a modal auxiliary, as has occurred in the be going to construction in English: as Sweetser (1990) shows, in the history of grammaticalization, epistemic modality develops out of deontic modality, and this applies to the English be going to construction (Bybee (2015)); in Chinese, however, no evidence has been found to show that the verb qu 'go' has been grammaticalized to a modal auxiliary with the root modal meaning. While certain epistemic meanings are found in verb-verb compounds such as kan lai 'look come', and kan qu 'look go', we analyze this limited set of V–V compounds as instances of lexical rather than grammatical constructionalization (Traugott and Trousdale (2014)). Second, we discuss the qu in the VP-qu construction and the second qu in the qu-VP-qu construction and argue that these collocations have taken a small-step toward grammaticalization to forming semi-lexical verb of motion, a kind of light verb (Cardinalletti and Giusti (2001)). Drawing on a current theory of syntax, we demonstrate how these differ from purely lexical verbs of motion.

© 2023 The Author(s)

Creative Commons CC BY-NC-ND: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License
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