Telicity and object position in Taiwanese Southern Min and Hakka

Chyan An Arthur Wang, Hsiao Hung Iris Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper investigates the phenomena of obligatory object preposing in Taiwanese Southern Min (TSM) and Hakka. We first refute the previous treatment of having the information-structural theory as an exclusive account of TSM and Hakka obligatory object preposing and show that telicity is another important dimension to object prespoing in the two languages. In particular, object preposing always takes place when a given verb bears a designated telicity marker, independent of the referential and information structural properties of its object. Consistent with recent work on the syntax of lexical aspect that telic readings are reflected in certain syntactic configurations, we suggest that in TSM and Hakka, telicity involves feature checking of the verb and its objects in the checking domain of a functional projection InAspP. For a theme argument to be able to measure out an event, it must enter an Agree relationship with the [telic] feature in InAsp, which has the edge property that triggers movement of the theme to its specifier. The proposed aspectual structure is further supported by distributional and interpretational properties including object preposing asymmetry, height of interpretation site of ambiguous adverbials, as well as the distribution of time-frame adjuncts and durative adjuncts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)331-357
Number of pages27
JournalLinguistic Review
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sept 1


  • Hakka
  • Taiwanese Southern Min
  • inner aspect
  • obligatory object preposing
  • telicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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