Reanalysis of semantically required dependents as complements in the Chinese ba-construction
The paper aims at a formulation of semantic constraints on the produc- tivity of the Chinese ba-construction and their representation at the syntax-semantics interface. It builds on the observation that requirements on the surface form of the construction may be altered by the choice of the verb. I propose that the semantics of the ba-construction can be treated in terms of a scalar constraint: a ba-sentence must come with a scale and a difference value that holds of the described event. The satisfaction of this constraint largely relies on the lexical semantics of the sentence. Not all verbs are inherently associated with scalar relations; those that are not must combine with an additional dependent which satisfies the scale requirement. Due to the obligatory presence of the additional dependent for some verbs, it is reanalyzed as a complement of ba: being optional on their level of combination with the verb, it becomes obligatory once the verb is used in the ba-construction.