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Telicity via Minimal Success: The Case of Mandarin Chinese V-DAO

Shiao Wei Tham
National University of Singapore
Tue October 24th 2023, 3:30 - 4:50pm
Margaret Jacks Hall, Room 048

This talk addresses telicity marking using the morpheme DAO "arrive/to’’ in Mandarin Chinese, arguing that DAO in the sequence V-dào (DP), e.g. chi-dao yu ‘eat-DAO fish, lit. get to eat fish’, indicates that the event described by V (DP) is successful to a minimal extent.  Evidence is adduced from restrictions on the use of DAO with semelfactive verbs and its preference for negative contexts with achievement and activity verbs. I posit that DAO in such cases evokes a "scale of attainment’’ associated with the predicate P denoted by V (DP), and V-DAO (DP) entails that P is achieved to a minimum non-zero value.