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Case Matching: An empirical study on the distinction between abstract case and case morphology 

Chang, Lingling

Linguistische Berichte (LB), Bd. 2007 (2007), Iss. 209: S. 32–61

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Chang, Lingling


This paper compares the German Resultativconstruction and the Chinese ba-construction and reveals their similarities in syntactic, semantic properties, argument structure and cognitive conception. Both the constructions require the transitivity and activity of the primary verb, yet in different ways: the transitivity of the German verb is realized through the four cases of the noun while that of the Chinese verb is achieved by the use of the particle ba. Also, the extension and change in the argument structure of the primary verb which is caused by the introduction of the secondary predicate exist in both constructions. Therefore, we can say the two constructions share the same cognitive basis. Finally, the paper tries to explain the two constructions in cognitive perspective through perception in time and space and claims that both constructions are projected and developed from move-imageschema (start—path—goal schema). When they are constructed, they are confined by the agent predicate and the theme predicate. The primary predicate and the secondary resultative predicate must be connected by a time and causative relation. These similarities show that people fundamentally share the same principle in their perception and cognition of the world and thus share the same principle in organizing information while constructing similar syntactic structures.