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date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The BA construction in Modern Chinese resulted from multiple changes in history. The two verb phrases in a serial-verb construction in Middle Chinese, the biclausal YI construction from Old Chinese, combined to form a monoclause and then interacted with another serial-verb construction marked by lai/qu ‘come/go’ signaling a focus on the cause/purpose of a cause and effect relationship between two events. The BA construction emerged in Early Modern Chinese after the verb ba ‘to take’ replaced other verbs in the YI construction and was grammaticalized, losing its verbal status, as well as its ability to occur with lai/qu in a process of specialization. However, the cause-and-effect relationship is subsequently kept in the BA construction’s predicate in the form of a resultative verb complement, even though its focus is shifted from the cause to the effect. Further constructionalization has led to a specialized Modern Chinese BA construction requiring a change-of-state predicate.

Keywords: BA construction, cause-and-effect, serial-verb construction, specialization, constructionalization

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