A New Approach on the Modal KE 可 and the Relation Between the Aspectual and the Modal System in Archaic Chinese

  • Barbara MeisterernstEmail author
Part of the Frontiers in Chinese Linguistics book series (FiCL, volume 5)


This investigation attempts to apply some of the hypotheses proposed with regard to a reconstructed verbal morphology in Archaic Chinese (Old Chinese) to the analysis of modal predication. The focus lies on the analysis of the morpho-syntactic constraints of the complement of the modal verb of possibility ‘可 ‘possible, can’ in Early and Late Archaic Chinese. The objective of the study is to shed some light on the relation between modality and aspect and its possible reflection in the morphology of the complement of KE during a time when the derivational morphology of Chinese was possibly still transparent for the speaker; even though it may not have been productive anymore. It will be proposed that the complement of KE always consists of a complex vP including the features causativity and resultativity. Both features can, but do not have to be reflected in the morphology of the verbs in the complement of KE.


Archaic Chinese Aspect Modality Morphology Resultativity 


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Copyright information

© Peking University Press and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of LinguisticsNational Tsing Hua UniversityHsinchuTaiwan

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