The Chinese Notional Passive Construction under the View of Cognitive Construction Grammar
The notional passive construction (NPC, henceforth) is claimed to be the most common form of passive and the earliest mode of passive expression in Chinese. However, under the view of cognitive construction grammar, NPC remains a mystery with its form not clearly defined and its function not particularly discussed. Taking a character-based historical approach, this paper studies the form designated by NPC, the ‘theme + verbal’ structure in corpus data. Results show that the ‘theme + verbal’ structure is extremely stable in the history of the Chinese language, denoting change of state. In conjunction with some cross-linguistic findings, a change-of-state construction can thereby be proposed for the form ‘theme + verbal’. Accordingly, the idea of the so-called “notional passive construction” is challenged in the way that it essentially refers to a special situation of the change-of-state construction when the event expressed by the verbal is not likely to occur spontaneously- it is not a construction itself, yet plausibly passive.
Arcodia, G. (2007). Chinese: A language of compound words? In F. Montermini, G. Boyé, & N. Hathout (Eds.), Selected proceedings of the 5th Décembrettes: Morphology in Toulouse (pp. 79-90). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
Baxter, W. H., & Sagart, L. (1998). Word Formation in Old Chinese. In J. L. Packard (Eds.), New approaches to Chinese word formation (pp. 35-75). Berlin-New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Boas, H. C. (2013). Cognitive Construction Grammar. In T. Hoffmann & G. Trousdale (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Construction Grammar (pp. 233-254). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bybee, J. L. (2010). Language, Usage, and Cognition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Bybee, J. L. (2012). Usage-based theory and exemplar representations of construction. In T. Hoffmann & T. Graeme (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of construction grammar (pp. 49-69). New York: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from https://www.unm.edu/~jbybee/downloads/Bybee2013UBTandExRep.pdf
Cheng, L. L.-S., & Huang, C.-T. J. (1994). On the argument structure of resultative compounds. In M. Chen & O. Tzeng (Eds.), In honor of William Wang: Interdisplinary studies on language and language change (pp. 187-221). Taipei: Pyramid Press.
Cheung, H.-n., Liu, S.-y., & Shih, L.-l. (1994). A practical Chinese grammar. Hong Kong: The Chinese University Press.
Croft, W. (1991). Syntactic categories and grammatical relations. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Croft, W. (1994). The semantics of subjecthood. In M. Yaguello (Ed.), Subjecthood and subjectivity (pp. 29-75). Paris: Ophrys.
Croft, W. (1998). Event structure in argument linking. In M. Butt & W. Geuder (Ed.), The projection of arguments: lexical and compositional factors (pp. 21-63). Stanford, CA: CSLI Publications.
Croft, W. (2001). Radical construction grammar. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Croft, W. (2012). Verbs: Aspect and causal structure. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
DeLancey, S. (1984). Notes on agentivity and causation. Studies in Language, 8, 181-213.
Dong, X. (2002). Cihuihua: Hanyu shuangyinci de yansheng he fazhan 词汇化：汉语双音词的衍生和发展 [Lexicalization: The emergence and development of Chinese disyllabic words] . Chengdu: Sichuan Nationalities Publishing House.
Ellis, N. C., & O'Donnell, M. B. (2011). Robust Language Acquisition–an Emergent Consequence of Language as a Complex Adaptive System. In L. Carlson, C. Hölscher & T. Shipley (Eds.), Proceedings of the 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 3512-3517). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.
Ellis, N. C., & Cadierno, T. (2009). Constructing a second language. Introduction to the Special Section. Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 7, 111-139.
Ellis, N. C., O’Donnell, M., & Römer, U. (2014). Second Language Verb-Argument Constructions are Sensitive to Form, Function, Frequency, Contingency, and Prototypicality. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 4(4), 405-431. Secondlanguageconstructions_LAB#2preprint.pdf
Ellis, N. C., O’Donnell, M. & Römer, U. (2015). Usage-based language learning. In B. MacWhinney & W. O’Grady (Eds.), The handbook of language emergence (pp. 163-180). Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell.
Goldberg, A. E., Casenhiser, D. M., & Sethuraman, N. (2004). Learning argument structure generalizations. Cognitive Linguistics, 15, 289-316.
Goldberg, A. (1995). Constructions: A construction grammar approach to argument structure. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Goldberg, A. (2003). Constructions: A new theoretical approach to language. Trends in Cognitive Science, 7, 219-224.
Goldberg, A. (2006). Constructions at work. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Haspelmath, M. (1987). Transitivity alternations of the anticausative type. Arbeitspapier 5. Institut für Srachwissenschaft, Universität zu Köln, 1-51.
Haspelmath, M. (1993). More on the typology of inchoative/causative verb alternations. In B. Comrie & M. Polinsky (Eds.), Causatives and transitivity (pp. 87–120). Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Huang, C.-T. J. (1989). Zhongwen de liangzhong jiwu dongci he liangzhong bujiwu dongci 中文的两种及物动词和两种不及物动词 [Two kinds of transitive verbs and intransitive verbs in Chinese], In Proceedings of the 2nd World Congress of Chinese Language Studies (pp. 39-59). Taipei: World Chinese Language Association.
Keenan, E. L. (1985). Passive in the world's languages. In T. Shopen (Ed.), Language typology and syntactic description, Vol. 1: Clause Structure (pp. 243-281). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Langacker, R. W. (1987). Foundations of cognitive grammar, vol. 1. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Langacker, R. W. (1988). A usage-based model. In B. Rudzka-Ostyn (Ed.), Topics in cognitive linguistics (pp. 27-161). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Langacker, R. (2008). Cognitive grammar: A basic introduction. New York: Oxford University Press.
Levin, B., & Rappaport Hovav, M. (2005). Argument Realization. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Levin, B. (1993). English verb classes and alternations. Chicago: University Press of Chicago.
Levin, B. (2009). Lexical semantics of verbs III: causal approaches to lexical semantic representation. Course LSA 116, UC Berkeley. Retrieved from http://web.stanford.edu/~bclevin/lsa09causapp.pdf
Li, C. N., & Thompson, S. A. (1981). Mandarin Chinese: A functional reference grammar. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Li, Y.-c. (1994). Hanyu zhuti yu zhuyu zhi bian 汉语主题与主语之辩 [The distinction between topic and subject in Chinese]. In Disanjie shijie huayuwen jiaoxue yantaohui lunwenji lilun yu fenxi pian (shangce) 第三届世界华语文教学研讨会论文集理论与分析篇（上册） [Proceeding of 3th Conference of World Chinese Language Association: Theory and analysis] Vol. 1. (pp. 19-28). Taipei: World Chinese Press.
McEnery, T., & Xiao R. (2010). Corpus-based contrastive studies of English and Chinese. London: Routledge.
Mei, T.-L. (1991). Cong handai de "dong, sha", "dong, si" lai kan dongbujiegou de fazhan: Jianlun Zhonggu shiqi qici de shishouguanxi de zhonglihua 从汉代的“动，杀”，“动，死”来看动补结构的发展——兼论中古时期起词的施受关系的中立化 [On the development of resultative verb compound from the "verb + kill" and "verb + die" structures in Han Dynasty: Also on the neutraralization of the thematic roles of inchoative verbs in Middle Chinese]. Yuyanxue Luncong [Essays on Linguistics], 16, 112-136.
Nedjalkov, V. P., & Jaxontov, S. E. (1983). Tipologiya rezul'tativnyx konstrukcij [Typology of resultative constructions]. In Vladimir P. Nedjalkov (Ed.), Tipologiya rezul'tativnys konstrukcij. (rezul'tativ, stative, passiv, perfekt) [Typology of resultative constructions (resultative, stative, passive, perfective)] (pp. 5-41). Leningrad: Nauka.
Ninio, A. (1999). Pathbreaking verbs in syntactic development and the question of
prototypical transitivity. Journal of Child Language 26, 619-653.
Saussure, F. D. (1916/1959). In C. Bally & A. Sechehaye (Eds.), Course in general linguistics. New York: The Philosophical Library, INC.
Talmy, L. (1976). Semantic causative types. In M. Shibatani (Ed.), Syntax and semantics 6: the grammar of causative constructions (pp. 43-116). New York: Academic Press.
Ting, J. (2006). The middle construction in Mandarin Chinese and the presyntactic approach. Concentric: Studies in Linguistics, 32(1), 89-117.
Tsunoda, T. (1981). Split case-marking patterns in verb-types and tense/aspect/mood. Linguistics, 19, 389-438.
Tsunoda, T. (1985). Remarks on Transitivity. Journal of Linguistics, 21, 385-396.
Tyler, A. (2012). Cognitive linguistics and second language learning-theoretical basics and experimental evidence. New York and London: Tayllor & Francis Group.
Wang, C. (1998). Wubiaoji beidongju he dongci de lei 无标记被动句和动词的类 [The unmarked passive sentence and verb classes]. Hanyu xuexi 汉语学习 [Chinese Language Learning], 5, 15-19.
Wang, L. (1957). Hanyu beidongshi de fazhan 汉语被动式的发展 [The development of the bei construction]. Yuyanxue Luncong, 1, 1-16.
Wang, L. (1958/2004). Hanyu shi gao汉语史稿 [History of Mandarin]. Beijing: Zhonghua Chubanshe.
Wang, Z. (2004). Beidong biaoshu dui zizhu dongci he feizizhu dongci de xuanze 被动表述对自主动词和非自主动词的选择 [Selection of volitional and nonvolitional verb in passive statement]. Hanyu xuexi 汉语学习 [Chinese Language Learning], 6, 17-22.
Xu, H. (1997). Sanyinjie yuci danwei shuolve: Jianlun xiandai hanyu cihui zhong de yinjie zoushi he 'sanyinhua' qingxiang 三音节语词单位说略——兼论现代汉语词汇中的音节走势和“三音化” 倾向 [A brief introduction to three-syllable word: Also on the development of Chinese words toward three syllables]. Shandong Ligong Daxue Xuebao 山东理工大学学报 [Journal of Shandong University of Technology], (3) , 70-74.
Yip, P.-C., & Rimmington, D. (2004). Chinese: A comprehensive grammar. New York, NY: Routledge.
Yu, Z. (1984). Lun guhanyu buyu de yiwei论古汉语补语的移位 [On the displacement of complements in Classical Chinese]. Yuyan Yanjiu 语言研究 [Studies in Language and Linguistics], 6(1), 104-113.
Zhou, H., & Jin, H. (2004). Ying-Han beidongju de shiyong xianzhi 英汉被动句的使用限制 [Comparison of passive voice between English and Chinese]. Xiaogan daxue xuebao 孝感大学学报 [Journal of Xiaogan University], 24(1), 59-61.
Copyright (c) 2018 Liulin Zhang
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors are confirming that they are the authors of the submitting article, which will be published online in journal Acta Linguistica Asiatica by Ljubljana University Press, Faculty of Arts (University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Arts, Aškerčeva 2, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia). Author’s name will be evident in the article in journal. All decisions regarding layout and distribution of the work are in hands of the publisher.
- Authors guarantee that the work is their own original creation and does not infringe any statutory or common-law copyright or any proprietary right of any third party. In case of claims by third parties, authors commit their self to defend the interests of the publisher, and shall cover any potential costs.
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.