A Corpus-Based Investigation of Manner/State Complement Constructions in Mandarin Chinese
This study is an investigation of the complement constructions of manner and state (CM/S, e.g. 他的字写得好 tā de zì xiě de hǎo ‘he writes characters well’) based on a corpus of written Chinese. We find that CM/S have preferred forms and functions. Formally speaking, a monosyllabic verb, preferably 变 biàn ‘change, become’, basic action verbs, or psychological state verbs tend to co-occur with complements of adjectival, clausal, or idiomatic expressions. CM/S are argued to be an assessment device indexing speaker evaluative stances. The loaded affective meanings, we contend, account for the larger and more complex forms than their standard assessment counterparts. The implications of these findings on Chinese syntactic research and on L2 learning are explored.