The diachronic development of passive constructions from Archaic Chinese to Modern Mandarin
In this dissertation, I study the diachronic development of passive construction from Archaic Chinese to Modern Mandarin. I classify the passive forms into two major groups: 1) the monoclausal passive. 2) the biclausal passive. I propose that the monoclausal passive is similar to English-type passive constructions in that they involve a defective passive light verb. This type of passive can be traced back to the JIAN passive in Archaic Chinese. The Middle Chinese agentless BEI passive and Modern Mandarin short passive have the same structure as the JIAN passive. These three constructions can be viewed as three manifestations of a same recurring pattern. The biclausal passive developed from the Archaic Chinese WEI construction, which I analyze as a copula construction. The WEI construction was later reanalyzed as the WEI…SUO passive in Middle Chinese. I propose that the WEI…SUO passive has the same structure as the Modern Mandarin long passive. I propose that the dichotomy of Mandarin Chinese passive constructions can be naturally traced back to their Archaic Chinese sources. Their distinct sources and diachronic developments endowed them with different syntactic properties. They developed independently along two distinct lines. These two distinct lines of development, however, are shown to be governed by the same principles in Minimalist Syntax.
- Linguistics