Deriving the Bei-Construction in Mandarin Chinese*

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Abstract

This article proposes that the bei-construction, a typical passive construction in Mandarin Chinese, is not derived in a uniform fashion; rather, three types of bei-sentences must be recognized. The main distinction is made between those involving A-movement, like English passives, and those involving a null operator, like the tough-construction and the Complement Deletion Construction in English. The third type involves a lexical passive compound verb. Support for this claim comes from investigation of the facts regarding licensing of a post-verbal overt pronominal object, locality effects, the occurrence of the particle suo in the bei-construction, and the intervention of adverbs within the bei-V sequence. This article also shows the problems in previous analyses that derive the bei-construction from the same underlying structure.

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