This paper explores the syntactic and semantic characteristics of denominal verbs in Taiwan Southern Min (TSM). Previous studies on Chinese denominal verbs mostly investigate into lexical entries. They aim to show Chinese denominal verbs as many as possible. However, studies on TSM denominal verbs are rather scarce. Without proposing any syntactic description, Chan & Tai (1995) provide an abundance of lexical entries of TSM denominal verbs. Examples include phinn7 ‘to smell/nose’, te7 ‘to pocket/pocket’, pong7 ‘to weigh/scale’, pau1 ‘to pack/pack’, tiam2 ‘to dot/dot’, koo5 ‘to paste/paste’, le5 ‘to plow/plow’, chhat4 ‘to paint/paint’, so2 ‘to lock/lock’, pe5 ‘to rake/rake’.
Based on the corpora data, I present the syntactic distribution of TSM denominal verbs and show that some TSM denominal verbs can participate in the locatum/location alternation. Most TSM denominal verbs occur in a transitive sentence pattern with [V + O] form. Denominal verbs can also feature an object-preposed pattern, [O + V]. In addition, I examine four common syntactic patterns for TSM denominal verbs that convey a variety of aspectual information. The four syntactic patterns are shown as follows:
(1) V-tioh: achievement
e.g. phin7 ‘smell’, tih4 ‘drip’, kau1 ‘hook’, khoo5 ‘paste’, bang7 ‘net’(2) V-khi-lai: inchoative and continuous
e.g. pau1 ‘pack’, chhoann3 ‘bar’, so2 ‘lock’, peng1 ‘freeze’, jiau5 ‘wrinkle’(3) teh-V: progressive
e.g. tih4 ‘drip’, se1 ‘comb’, kau1 ‘hook’ and le5 ‘plow’(4) VV: attenuative, repetitive, tentative
e.g. chiam1 ‘needle’, pau1 ‘pack’, chi7 ‘lick’
The present study accordingly contributes to the study of the aspectual properties of TSM denominal verbs. In contradistinction to Harley’s (1999) theory, I argue that there is no strong aspectual correlation between TSM denominal verbs and their source nouns.
Chan, Marjorie K.M. and James H-Y. Tai. 1995. From nouns to verbs: Verbalization in Chinese dialects and East Asian languages. Sixth North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-6). 49-74. Jose Camacho and Lina Choueiri (eds). Los Angeles: Graduate Students in Linguistics (GSIL), USC.
Harley, Heidi. 1999. Denominal Verbs and Aktionsart. Papers from the UPenn/MIT Roundtable on the Lexicon. MIT Working Papers in Linguistics 35: 73-85. Editor: Liina Pylkkänen & Angeliek van Hout & Heidi Harley; MITWPL, Cambridge, MA.
Kiparsky, Paul. 1997. Remarks on Denominal Verbs. Complex Predicates, eds. Alex Alsina, Joan Bresnan, and Peter Sells. Stanford: CSLI Publications.
Lee, Hui-chi. 2008. Obligatory Object Shift in Taiwan Southern Min. NCKU FLLD Monograph Series Vol.1, Language across Cultures, 471-487. Kao, Shin-mei & Shelley Ching-yu Hsieh (eds). National Cheng Kung University.