The syntax of the aspectual particles in Mandarin Chinese
Linguistic studies on the aspectual system of natural language have mainly focused on its semantics and morphology; the syntax of aspect has not yet received as much attention. In this dissertation, I provide a syntactic analysis of the aspectual system of Chinese. In analyzing the properties of situation aspect, I propose a unified syntactic structure that accounts for the two mechanisms of telicity marking in Chinese. First, I argue that like pre-verbs in Slavic languages, Chinese also has overt telic morphemes which are used to turn an atelic event into a telic one. For example, I claim that the morpheme wan 'to finish' is base-generated as the head of Inner Aspect Phrase in between vP and VP. This functional phrase is responsible for the telic reading of a sentence. I also claim that differently from languages such as English, whose telicity marking mainly depends on the quantity of the object, countability and boundedness of direct objects in Chinese are not directly responsible for telicity marking. Secondly, I demonstrate that the proposed analysis of telicity marking can also be used to account for the syntactic distributions of the resultative V-V compounds and V-de phrases. I argue that these two types of sentences also contain Inner Aspect Phrase that is responsible for the telic reading. I also claim that the difference in word order between these two constructions is due to morphological requirements and I illustrate how morphology may affect syntax in the derivation. Finally, I discuss imperfective viewpoint aspect in analyzing the distributions of the progressive zai and the durative -zhe. Starting from the close relation between locative expressions and progressive aspect cross-linguistically, I demonstrate that zai always functions as a preposition and is not itself the source of the progressive aspect. I also analyze the usages of -zhe and argue that like English present particle morpheme -ing, this imperfective particle also functions as a verbal suffix of two different types of imperfective aspect. It can be used to express progressive aspect as well as resultative imperfective aspect. The analysis provides a generalization of the imperfective viewpoint aspect in Chinese.