A Scale Structure View of Resultatives in Japanese, Chinese and German

Wenchao Li


This paper provides a scale-based semantics for resultatives in Japanese, Chinese and German, in an effort to arrive at: how adjectival complements and verbs in resultative constructions show sensitivity to the scalar structure. The findings reveal that Japanese accepts both open and closed-scale adjectives but disallows atelic verbs in resultatives. It appears that both telic and atelic verbs are welcome by Chinese resultatives. Adjectival complements in German resultatives are of no diverse distribution, i.e. both open and closed-scale APs are allowed to indicate a result in inherent resultatives and derived resultatives. However, German verbs show sensitivity to the scalar property. The conclusion that one can draw here is that Japanese tends to be a ‘BECOME-focused’ language, with the encoding of resutlatives arriving at morph-syntactic level. German, on the other hand, is likely to be a ‘BE AT-focused’ language. There is no restriction towards adjectives, but verbs show sensitivity to the scalar structure. Chinese is also a ‘BE AT-focused’ language, with resultatives mainly facilitated via syntax. Moreover, neither verbs nor adjectives are sensitive to the scalar structure. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v7i5.8117

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