A diachronic insight into the aspectual meaning in Light Verb Constructions: A case study in Mandarin Chinese

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review


This study takes a diachronic perspective to look at the different aspectual
encodings in Light Verb Constructions. By using the Light Verb Constructions in Mandarin Chinese as examples, we observe and generalise the patterns of aspectual encodings in GIVE group Light Verbs, including jiyu, yuyi, and jiayi, with the basic meaning of ‘give.’ Assuming that Light Verbs typically follow the grammaticalisation path from independent lexical verbs to grammatical morphemes, we propose that the various realisations of aspectuality can be explained by the different grammaticalisation stages of the three verbs: the verb jiayi is the most grammaticalised followed by yuyi and jiyu. Their grammaticalisation status is evidenced by the light/independent verb usages of the three verbs in a synchronic corpus of Mandarin Chinese. This corpus-based study on Mandarin LVCs within the framework of Construction Grammar complements the discussion on the lightness of Light Verbs across languages.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLight Verb Constructions as Complex Verbs
Subtitle of host publicationFeatures, Typology and Function
EditorsAnna Pompei, Lunella Mereu, Valentina Piunno
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9783110747997
ISBN (Print)9783110747850
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2023

Publication series

NameTrends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs
PublisherDe Gruyter Mouton


  • Aspectual encoding
  • Corpus data
  • Diachrony and synchrony
  • GIVE Light Verbs
  • Grammaticalisation
  • Light Verb Constructions
  • Mandarin Chinese

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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