International Journal of Language & Linguistics

ISSN 2374-8850 (Print), 2374-8869 (Online) DOI: 10.30845/ijll

English and Mandarin Serial or Non-serial Verb Constructions
Dr. Hui Yin

This paper addresses serial verb constructions (SVCs) in English and Mandarin. Although Mandarin and English is different in the total number of SVC types, three so-called SVC types are found to be common across English and Mandarin: purposive SVCs (e.g. go eat); causative SVCs (e.g. I made him laugh); perceptive SVCs (e.g. I saw him laugh). This paper has demonstrated typical SVCs have unique features distinct from typical subordinate or coordinate constructions. This study proposes three semantic criteria to distinguish SVCs from non-SVCs. Based on the three criteria, this study shows that purposive constructions are considered a canonical SVC type while perceptive constructions are not a typical SVC and may be better to be analyzed as subordinate constructions. This study also provides reasons for Mandarin to have more SVCs: differences of lexicalization between English and Mandarin; lacking of syntactic markers and inflections in Mandarin and frequent pronoun dropping in Mandarin.

Full Text: PDF