The parameter of temporal endpoint and the basic function of -le

Suying YANG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This paper proposes a unified account for the different meanings and unique distribution of -le. This new account is based on two major arguments: (1) temporal endpoints are provided via a parameter that varies across languages (i. e., some languages rely heavily on tense, while others rely on lexical expressions or other mechanisms), and (2) accomplishment and achievement verbs should be re-sorted in accordance with the new leading to result ([>result]) and encoding result ([⊃result]) criterion. I have shown that the interaction between the parametric variation in providing endpoints and the meanings of different types of situations, not only accounts for the restricted occurrence of -le with [-telic] situations, but also explains a) the possibility of non-completion readings for some [>result] situations in Chinese, b) the impossibility of non-completion readings for [⊃result] situations in both Chinese and English, and c) the possible present continuative readings for certain types of verbs in Chinese.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-415
Number of pages33
JournalJournal of East Asian Linguistics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • History and Philosophy of Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aspect
  • Chinese perfective -le
  • Endpoint
  • Provided endpoint
  • Situation types
  • Telicity
  • Verb classes


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