According to the pioneering study by Faltz (1977, 1985), reflexivity can be expressed by nominal or verbal strategy. The former makes use of a particular noun in order to establish a co-reference relation between two nouns in a clause; the latter applies to modify the verb in order to indicate it as a reflexive verb. There appear to exist reflexive verbs in Mandarin Chinese such as zi-sha 'kill oneself', which are indicated by having the bound morpheme zi- 'self' in a preverbal position. In the literature, there are three approaches to the status of reflexive bound morpheme zi-: (i) zi- is treated as a prefix (e.g. Ting et al. 1961) or the first component of a compound (e.g. Tang 1992); (ii) zi- is comparable to a reflexive verb marker in other languages such as se in French (Kao 1993, Lin 2010); (iii) zi- is a bound form adjoined to the verb under noun incorporation (Hsiao 2017, Ting & Hsiao 2018). In this research project, arguing against the previous analyses, we show that "zi-V" complex words in Mandarin Chinese are formed by combining the quasi-affix zi and the base verb. The structure is akin to primary or root compounds except that the morpheme zi is undergoing grammaticalization to become an affix. The results of this study support positing quasi-affixes as an independent category from affixes, roots and particles in Mandarin Chinese. Furthermore, the proposed analysis applies not only to zi with reflexive anaphora construal but also to zi with intensifier adverbial construal. Last, the research findings contribute to our understanding of the properties of reflexive compounds in natural languages.
|Effective start/end date||2019/08/01 → 2021/05/31|
- verbal reflexive
- reflexive compound
- zi- morpheme
- linguistic typology
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