Typological shift in lexicalizing motion events: The case of Wenzhou

  • 1 Nanyang Technological University, School of Humanities, 48 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore, Singapore
Jingxia Lin
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  • Nanyang Technological University, School of Humanities, 48 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore, 639818, Singapore
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Typological shift in lexicalizing motion events has hitherto been observed cross-linguistically. While over time, Chinese has shown a shift from a dominantly verb-framed language in Old Chinese to a strongly satellite-framed language in Modern Standard Mandarin, this study presents the Chinese dialect Wenzhou, which has taken a step further than Standard Mandarin and other Chinese dialects in becoming a thoroughly satellite-framed language. On the one hand, Wenzhou strongly disfavors the verb-framed pattern. Wenzhou not only has no prototypical path verbs, but also its path satellites are highly deverbalized. On the other hand, Wenzhou strongly prefers the satellite-framed pattern, to the extent that it very frequently adopts a neutral motion verb to head motion expressions so that path can be expressed via satellites and the satellite-framed pattern can be syntactically maintained. The findings of this study are of interest to intra-linguistic, diachronic and cross-linguistic studies of the variation in encoding motion events.

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