Zai and ba Constructions in Child Mandarin

Ping Li

Center for Research in Language, UCSD

This paper investigates the semantic functions associated with zai and ba
constructions and children's acquisition of these functions. In adult 
Chinese, the zai and the ba construction interact with verb semantics and 
aspect markers when functioning as a locative preposition and the object 
marker, respectively. An elicited production experiment with children from 
ages 3 to 6 shows that Chinese-speaking children are sensitive to the semantic 
constraints between the position of the construction, the verb meaning, and 
the aspect marker in the sentence. Their acquisition performance with these two 
constructions is discussed with respect to Slobin's (1985) hypothesis on the 
semantic space of the Basic Child Grammar. An alternative hypothesis invoking 
the role of input as proposed by Bowerman (1985, 1989) is also discussed with 
reference to the present results. 

1.0  Introduction

Chinese is well-known for its impoverished system of grammatical morphology.
However, there are a number of devices that are important in the assignment 
of syntactic roles to sentence constituents. These devices include word order, 
semantic factors of nouns, and the use of free-standing morphemes such as the
passive marker bei (Li, MacWhinney, & Bates, 1991). The locative preposition
zai and the object marker ba are two such important grammatical devices in 
Mandarin Chinese. Previous studies have provided us with detailed analyses of
their grammatical functions (Chao, 1968; Li & Thompson, 1981). In this paper, 
I will take a different perspective to look at these two constructions. 
Specifically, I will examine zai and ba with respect to the aspectual meaning 
of the sentence. I will then examine Chinese-speaking children's use of these 
constructions in data from an elicited production experiment. Extrapolating 
from these data,  I will discuss two alternative hypotheses concerning the 
acquisition of semantics, as advocated by Slobin (1985) and Bowerman (1985,
1989). (footnote )1

2.0  The functions of zai  and ba

2.1  The zai construction

  Consider the following pair of sentences in German:

(1) Sie pflanzen die Blumen auf dem Feld.
    They plant the flowers in the field.

(2) Sie pflanzen die Blumen auf das Feld.
    They plant the flowers into the field.

    Two properties in these sentences are immediately noticeable. Formally, 
these sentences differ with respect to case marking: the first one takes the 
dative case, whereas the second one takes the accusative case. Semantically, 
they differ in their locative meaning: the first indicates a static location 
where the situation takes place, while the second indicates a locative goal 
toward which the activity is directed; in the second case, it does not matter 
for the speaker whether Sie ('they') are actually planting in the field or 
outside. In English, this semantic contrast is represented by the use of 
different prepositions, e.g.,  in vs. into,   as shown in the English 
translations of sentences (1) and (2), and on vs. onto in other contexts. 
But this contrast is not a systematic one in English. In and on can also be 
used to convey a directional locative meaning, as in examples (3) and (4). 
(3) Bill put the fish in the water. 

(4) John spread the paint on the wall. 

    In Chinese, the semantic contrast between (1) and (2) is systematically 
represented by the use of the zai construction at the pre-verbal vs. post-
verbal position.  

     Pre-verbal vs. post-verbal.  The morpheme zai in Mandarin Chinese conveys 
a locative meaning. It can be a verb as well as a preposition. (footnote 2) 
Sentence (5) is an example where zai functions as a verb, in contrast to 
sentence (6), where zai is a preposition and the main verb is zhan 'stand'. 
As preposition, zai is a generic locative marker indicating that NP1 
(xiaohouzi 'monkey', in this case) is located with reference to NP2 (zhuozi 
'table'). The specific location of NP1 is indicated by locative nouns that 
are attached to the end of NP2, e.g., qian 'front', hou 'back', shang 'top',

(5) Beizi zai zhuozi-shang.
    cup    at  table-top
    The cup is on the table.

(6) Xiao    houzi     zai  zhuozi-shang zhan -zhe.
    little    monkey  at   table-top     stand-DUR
    The little monkey is standing on the table.

    In these examples, zai occurs pre-verbally and the construction indicates a static locative meaning.  Note, however, that the pre-verbal zai has another 
form that is associated with aspectual meaning and serves as a progressive 
aspect marker (Li, 1990).  The progressive aspect marker zai and the locative 
zai are closely related, both diachronically and synchronically, as discussed 
in previous studies (Chao, 1968; Chen, 1978). In some cases, zai can actually 
perform both functions simultaneously. Chao (1968) has proposed that the 
construction "zai+V" (the common progressive form) is a contracted form of 
"zai+LOC+V"; the locative object is left out in the former, as in example (7b).
(7) a.  Zhangsan  zai  he-li            youyong.
        Zhangsan  at  river-inside   swim
        Zhangsan is swimming in the river.

     b. Zhangsan zai youyong.
        Zhangsan  at  swim
        Zhangsan is swimming.

    Both Chen (1978) and Li (1990) have discussed some of the difficulties of 
Chao's argument with regard to the dual function of zai as locative prepostion 
and aspect marker in modern Chinese, although progressive aspect and locative
meaning are intimately related, as Comrie (1976) and Vlach (1981) have also
noted for English and many other languages. We will return to the aspect marker zai later.

    In contrast to the complexity of the pre-verbal zai, the post-verbal zai 
is much simpler. Sentences (8) and (9) are examples with the zai construction 
occurring post-verbally. 

(8)  Qingwa tiao  zai yezi-shang -le.
     frog     jump  at  leave-top   -LE
     The frog jumped onto the leave. 

(9)  Laoshu   pa      zai  chuang-dixia -le.
     mouse   crawl     at   bed-top        -LE
     The mouse crawled (to) under the bed.
    Unlike sentences with the pre-verbal zai, these sentences are associated 
with a dynamic locative meaning. The zai construction in these examples 
indicates the locative goal of the action, i.e., the location denoted by the 
noun phrase serves as the endpoint of the activity, in contrast to the location 
where the situation takes place as indicated by the pre-verbal zai construction.
The sentence structure of (6) and (7) differs from that of (8) and (9) only with
respect to the position of the zai construction, but the locative meanings 
associated with them are quite different. Thus, the meaning contrast between 
(1) and (2) in German as represented by different case markings is represented 
in Chinese by different word order relations. 

     Aspect, aktionsart, and the zai construction. However, word order does not 
always make a difference to the locative meaning of the sentences that contain 
the zai construction. There is a strong interaction between the kinds of 
meaning conveyed and the types of verb used in these sentences. Compare 
sentences (6) (repeated here as (10) for convenience) and (11).

(10) Xiao    houzi     zai zhuo-shang zhan   -zhe.
     little    monkey  at   table-top    stand -DUR
     The little monkey is standing on the table. 

(11) Xiao    houzi     zhan    zai zhuo-shang.
     little    monkey  stand   at  table-top
     The little monkey is standing on the table.

    Although the zai construction is pre-verbal in (10) and post-verbal in (11),
the locative meaning of these sentences is essentially the same. Both sentences indicate a static location of the subject, i.e.,  houzi 'monkey'. Why is there 
a difference between these sentences and sentences like (7) and (8) in terms of their locative meaning?  Comparison reveals that it is the kind of verbs in 
these sentences that makes the difference. The verb zhan 'stand' differs from 
youyong 'swim' with respect to aktionsart, a notion that refers to patterns of 
verb meanings defined in terms of inherent temporal properties of situations.
(foonote 3)

    According to Vendler (1967), Comrie (1976) and a number of other authors, 
verbs and verb phrases can be classified into different types with respect to 
their aktionsart features. (footnote 4)  One common classification is to divide verbs into process vs. stative, telic vs. atelic, and punctual vs. durative 
(see Li, 1990 for discussion). These types of verbs are characterized by 
different syntactic and semantic behaviors.  For example, in English, process
verbs can take -ing, whereas stative verbs cannot. Thus, sentence (12) is 
grammatical but (13) is not, due to the nature of the verbs involved in the 
application of the progressive marker. 

(12) The man is walking down the street.

(13) *The man is knowing the story.

    To discuss all the different classes of verbs with respect to aktionsart 
is beyond the scope of this paper. Relevant here is the distinction between 
process and stative verbs. Process verbs encode situations as dynamic, having
distinct successive stages, whereas stative verbs depict situations as 
homogeneous and undifferentiated.  According to this criterion, youyong 'swim' 
in (7) is a process verb whereas zhan 'stand' in (10) and (11) is a stative 
verb. This distinction explains the discrepancy between the locative meaning of 
the sentence and the position of the zai construction: for process verbs, the
pre-verbal vs. the post-verbal position of zai results in the meaning differencebetween a static location and a locative goal, whereas for stative verbs, the 
position of the zai construction does not affect the locative meaning of the 
corresponding sentences.

    The zai construction not only affects the locative meaning of the sentence,
but also contributes to the aktionsart of the verb phrase. When the verb in 
question is a process verb, the position of zai makes a difference to the 
semantic type of the verb. For example, since the post-verbal zai construction 
indicates a locative goal of the action, its presence marks an endpoint for the 
situation and thus renders the verb phrase telic; it implies a boundary beyond 
which the same activity can no longer continue.  In contrast, the presence of 
the pre-verbal zai construction does not affect the aktionsart of the verb 
because it indicates the location where the activity takes place; no endpoint ismarked in this case.  

    Turning now to the aspect markers associated with the zai construction, we 
find that there is a strong correlation between the use of aspect markers and 
the position of zai in the sentence. In examples (8) and (9), where zai is 
post-verbal, the perfective aspect marker -le is used. In examples where zai is pre-verbal, only imperfective aspect is used, as indicated by -zhe with stative verbs in (6), and zai with process verbs in (7a). Note that zai acts as an 
aspect marker as well as a preposition in (7a) since there is no other marker 
in the sentence indicating imperfective aspect.

2.2  The ba construction

The ba construction has received much discussion in the literature.  Traditionalgrammars have termed the ba construction the disposal construction (Wang, 1957),due to the original meaning of ba as a verb ("take hold of", "grasp"). Although this meaning is very weak or nonexistent and the main function of ba in modern 
Chinese is to mark the direct object of a sentence, the trace of the 'disposal' meaning can still be seen in that ba requires an object that is highly affected by the activity denoted by the verb. Structurally, the ba construction is 
associated with SOV sentences. Ba cannot be used to mark the object in an SVO 
sentence. Unlike the zai construction which can occur both pre-verbally and 
post-verbally, the ba construction can  occur only pre-verbally. 

    Two features of the ba construction have been widely noted (Chao, 1968).
First, the object noun phrase must be definite or specific; in contrast, the 
object in canonical SVO sentences is normally indefinite, where there is no ba 
preceding it. Second, the verb phrase in the sentences with ba must be
structurally complex (Ding, 1961). Single monosyllabic verbs cannot occur with
the ba construction. Compare the following examples: 

(14) Lisi ba neixie yu    diao-qilai -le.
     Lisi BA those  fish    hook-up    -LE
     Lisi caught those fish.
(15) *Lisi ba   yixie yu    diao-qilai -le.
      Lisi  BA   some fish  hook-up    -LE
      Lisi caught some fish.
(16) *Lisi ba neixie yu     diao  -le.
      Lisi BA those fish   hook -LE
      Lisi caught those fish.
    While (14) has both a definite object and a complex verb form,  (15) has 
an indefinite object and (16) has a simple verb form. These latter two are 
ungrammatical sentences. Notice that in addition to the structural difference 
between the grammatical (14) and the ungrammatical (16), there is also a 
semantic difference. The verb compound in sentence (14) indicates a resultative 
meaning whereas the single verb in (16) indicates a durative process without 
an endpoint or end result. The ba construction requires the verb or verb phrase to be highly transitive and resultative (Li, 1990; Sun, 1991). Although simple
forms of resultative verbs can occasionally occur with ba, e.g., sha in example (17), process or stative verbs cannot occur with it even if they are
structurally complex, as in (18). This shows that the semantic criterion 
(resultativity of verb meanings) is more prominent than the syntactic one 
(complexity of verb forms) in the use of the ba construction. 
(17) Zhangsan ba   laohu sha  -le.
     Zhangsan BA   tiger  kill -LE
     Zhangsan killed the tiger.
    *Zhangsan  ba  ta   gege      xiang-ji     -le.
     Zhangsan  BA he brother resemble-very   -LE
     Zhangsan looked extremely like his brother.
    With respect to aspect, these sentences are exclusively associated with the perfective marker -le, as shown in the above examples. The imperfective marker 
zai is not compatible with the ba construction. Thus, there is a perfect 
association between the perfective aspect and the resultative verb in sentences with ba. The incompatibility of the aspect marker zai with ba follows from the
fact that the verbs in ba sentences always incorporate resultative meaning, 
and that resultative verbs never occur with imperfective aspect (see Li, 1990 
for detailed discussion).

3.0  The production experiment 

The properties of the zai and ba constructions in Chinese raise some 
particularly interesting questions from an acquisition point of view. 
There exist strong interactions among the position of a construction, the 
type of the verb (aktionsart), and the aspect marker in the sentence, as 
discussed above. The zai construction can occur both pre-verbally and 
post-verbally, while the ba construction can occur only pre-verbally. The
position of zai may or may not make a difference to the locative meaning 
of the sentence, depending on the type of the verb with which it coocurs. 
Different types of verbs can occur in sentences with zai, but only verbs 
encoding an endpoint or result may occur in sentences with ba. In acquiring 
sentences that contain these constructions, would the child appreciate the 
distributional cooccurrence contraints between different components of the 
sentence? If not, would we find that the child uses different aspect markers
and different verb types that are incompatible with ba and zai constructions 
and with each other? A production experiment was designed to investigate these 
question by eliciting children's productive speech in an experimental setting.

3.1  Method

     Subjects 99 subjects from the kindergartens of Beijing University and 
Qinghua University participated in this experiment. The experiment was part of 
a larger project that investigated the interaction between aspect markers and 
aktionsart in child Mandarin. Subjects were divided into four age groups: 
(1) 3-year-olds, ranging from  2;9 to 3;6, mean age 3;2; (2) 4-year-olds,
ranging from 3;8 to 4;4; mean age 4;1; (3) 5-year-olds, ranging from 4;11 
to 5;4, mean age 5;1; and (4) 6-year-olds, ranging from 5;11 to 6;4, mean 
age 6;1. Each age group originally comprised 25 children, but one 
3-year- old child's data were missing due to facility breakdown during the
test. Half of the subjects were boys and half were girls. To maximize the 
differences between age groups, subjects were selected near the mean age with
a variation of about three months.

      Material and procedures.  A collection of toys was used to elicit 
children's productive speech. These included two dolls, a duck, a rabbit, 
a turtle, a monkey, a pig, a fish, a penguin with a staircase, a train, a car,
a canoe, a bridge, a tree, a pot, a bowl, a garage, a bed, a table, and two 

     Two experimenters, E1 and E2, played with the child in front of the toys.
Different types of situations were arranged and acted out with these toys, and 
the child was asked to describe the enacted situation. To make the experiment 
more natural to the child, one of the experimenters was blindfolded and the 
child's task was to tell the blindfolded person what happened. After each 
situation was acted out, E1 said to the child in Chinese: "gaosu shushu/ayi, 
X zenme la?" (tell that uncle/auntie, what happened to X, i.e., the major toy 
in the enacted situation). Then E2 repeated immediately, "gaosu wo, X zenme
la?" (tell me, what happened to X?) Subjects practiced with this procedure and 
it was made sure that they understood the task before the testing began. For 
each subject there were 18 enacted situations to describe.  These situations 
involved either an action, e.g., a duck was swimming, or a state, e.g., a 
monkey was standing on a table. The whole testing session took about 15 
minutes. Children's descriptions were audio-taped for later analysis.

3.2  Results  

      Data from the experiment were transcribed and coded by the author and 
double-checked by the author and James Liang of Leiden University. The coding 
followed the CHAT format of the Child Language Data Exchange System (CHILDES,
see MacWhinney & Snow, 1985; MacWhinney, 1990). Computational analysis of the 
data was performed using the CLAN programs designed for CHILDES data 
(MacWhinney, 1990).

      The children in this study in general have a very good command of the 
use of zai and ba constructions and made few errors involving incompatible 
verbs or aspect markers. Across different age groups, subjects produced 
appropriate sentences with both zai and ba constructions. Some examples of
sentences with zai are given in (19) to (22). The zai construction is pre-verbalin (19) and (20), and post-verbal in (21) and (22). These examples represent 
the most common utterances that children used in describing the enacted 

(19) Xiao  baitu  zai  di-shang  pao. (HEP,5 3;0)
     little  rabbit ZAI ground-top run
     The little rabbit is running on the ground.

(20) Huoche zai guidao-shang kai. (SHG, 4;11).
     train    ZAI track-top      run
     The train is running on the track. 

    Xiao  qiche zuan  zai nei  xiao wuzi-li qu -le.     
    (LIB, 3;11)
    little car move ZAI that small room-in go -LE
    The little car moved into that small room.

(22) Wugui pa zai  chuang-dixia qu -le. (LIY, 5;0)
     turtle crawl  ZAI bed-bottom go -LE
     The turtle crawled (to) under the bed.

    Examined together with the context in which these utterances were produced, it is clear that the children could distinguish the different functions 
of the pre-verbal vs. post-verbal zai constructions, and the verbs and aspect 
markers in these sentences were all used correctly. As discussed earlier, the
pre-verbal zai construction indicates the location where the situation takes 
place, while the post-verbal zai construction indicates the locative goal of an activity. This meaning difference is also associated with the use of verb 
types and aspect markers in the sentence.  A clear association shows up in 
children's utterances: the pre-verbal zai is used together with process verbs 
and imperfective aspect, while the post-verbal zai is used together with telic 
verbs and perfective aspect. The verbs pao and kai in (19) and (20) are process verbs that do not encode an endpoint of the situation, whereas zuan in (21) is
a telic verb that encodes a terminal point of the situation. Although the verb
pa (crawl) in (22) by itself is a process verb, when it is combined with the
post-verbal zai construction, the whole verb phrase turns into telic since the 
zai construction serves the function of indicating a locative goal. Note 
that zai in (19) and (20) plays the role of both the preposition and the 
progressive marker, whereas in (21) and (22) it is purely a preposition and it 
cooccurred with the perfective marker -le. 

    Recall that sentences with stative verbs do not alternate between the 
different locative meanings associated with different positions of zai, as 
shown in examples (10) and (11). However, the children in this study have 
mostly used post-verbal zai constructions for sentences with stative 
verbs, thus making it difficult to evaluate whether they would conform to the
adult standards in using zai at the pre-verbal position of a stative 
sentence. One reason why the pre-verbal zai construction is rare in children's
descriptions of stative situaitons is that the children have not yet 
acquired the use of the durative marker -zhe, which is obligatory for stative 
sentences with a pre-verbal zai .

    Let us now examine some examples of children's use of the ba construction. 

(23) Qiche ba qiao gei zhuang-dao -le. (RAO, 3;3)
     car   BA bridge GEI bump-collapse -LE
     The car knocked down the bridge.

     Nei xiao wawa ba  dengzi gei  ti-dao      -le
     (NIU, 4;1)
     that small doll BA chair GEI kick-down -LE
     The small doll kicked the chair over.

(25) Wawa ba  yizi  ti-xiaqu     -le. (LIP, 4;11)
     doll  BA chair kick-down  -LE
     The doll kicked the chair over. 

     Xiaowawa ba douzi dou reng zai waimian -le
     (XIE, 6;1)
     small doll BA beans all throw ZAI outside  -LE
     The small doll threw out all the beans. 
    In these utterances, children have mostly used resultative verb 
constructions, as in (23) to (25). Sometimes they use a verb with a 
post-verbal zai construction, as in (26). In fact, 90% of the children's 
296 utterances in which ba constructions occurred contained resultative verbs. 
This indicates a clear association between the use of the ba construction and 
the resultative meaning in children's descriptions. Furthermore, unlike 
sentences (19) to (22) in which aspect markers were contingent upon the 
position of the prepositional construction, these utterances were all associatedwith the perfective marker -le. In the whole corpus there were only a few cases 
involving the use of the progressive aspect marker zai, as in (27):

    *Xiao wawa zai ba shu nong-qilai. (GAO, 4;4)
     small   doll  ZAI BA tree do-up
     The small doll is putting up the tree.

    The almost perfect association between ba constructions, perfective aspect, and resultative verbs suggests that from age 3 on, Chinese- speaking children 
are aware of the cooccurrence constraints inherent in these sentences. 
Otherwise, we would have found that our subjects had used different verb types 
and aspect markers in combination with the ba construction, since other 
types of verbs and aspect markers were already available to the children of all ages of this study.

4.0  Discussion

    In a monograph on the cross-linguistic study of language acquisition, 
 Slobin (1985) proposes a 'Basic Child Grammar' (BCG) hypothesis to account for 
phenomena embedded in a rich set of cross-linguistic data. This hypothesis 
assumes that children come to the language acquisition task with a 
pre-structured semantic space containing a universal, uniform set of 
semantic notions. According to Slobin, these semantic notions are "priviledged" to be mapped onto grammatical forms of individual languages in the process of 
children's acquisition. That is, prior to children's experience with specific
properties of the grammar, these notions strongly attract grammatical forms of 
the input language in the form-meaning mapping processes. Two important 
'temporal perspectives' in this semantic space are Process and Result.  They 
function early to define a semantic contrast in children's acquisition of 
tense and aspect systems. Slobin emphasizes that Result is particularly salient and it provides an early mapping point for salient speech segments associated 
with content words referring to actions.
  Our results from Chinese-speaking children's productive speech are consistent
with the predictions of Slobin's hypothesis that the two temporal perspectives, Process and Result, play an important role in children's acquisition. In 
describing the enacted situations, children tend to associate pre-verbal zai
constructions with process verbs, and associate post-verbal zai with telic 
verbs. Furthermore, the pre-verbal zai coocurs with imperfective aspect, 
whereas the post-verbal zai coocurs with perfective aspect. In contrast, 
children associate ba constructions exclusively with resultative verbs and 
perfective aspect. These patterns of association between positions of the 
preposition, aspect markers, and verb meanings seem to suggest that the kinds 
of temporal perspectives proposed by Slobin are acting as organizing principles in helping the child find out the cooccurrence contraints on the sentences with 
zai and ba constructions.

    The semantic space in Slobin's Basic Child Grammar assigns a significant 
role to the child's innate knowledge, since it assumes that children are 
sensitive to semantic notions such as Process and Result prior to their 
experience with specific properties of the target grammar. However, the 
extent to which Chinese children's speech conforms to the patterns in the 
adult language implies another equally plausible explanation without invoking 
innate semantic categories. Bowerman (1985, 1989) argues that children are 
sensitive to the characteristics of the input patterns from early on, and they 
observe the distribution of grammatical forms in the speech they are exposed to.Bowerman points out that, before appealing to pre-linguistic categories as 
explanations of child language data, one needs to explore the patterns displayedin the target language and consider how the input might influence the child's 
linguistic inferences. Often, on suitable reanalysis, phenomena that have been 
proposed as evidence for innate categories are better seen as the result of 
children's observational analysis. For example, German children sometimes 
confuse the locative meaning of zu 'to' with a possessive meaning. Slobin 
interprets this confusion as stemming from children's inherent tendency to 
conflate possession and location. However, as Bowerman notes, in adult German,
there are contexts in which zu marks a possessive-like rather than a strictly 
locative meaning. The child's errors may stem from his observation of this 
input pattern and his overly productive application of the pattern in his 
own speech. 
    Bowerman's argument seeks explanation for child language data with 
reference to the input rather than by invoking a priori conceptual structures. 
A few cross-linguistic studies (e.g., Stepheny, 1981, in Modern Greek and 
de Lemos, 1981, in Brazilian Portuguese) provide strong support to her 
argument in the domain of the acquisition of tense and aspect. The present 
findings are consistent with this argument. In adult Chinese, the resultative
verb construction is used particularly to encode events with an end result, and it clearly reflects the importance of the resultative meaning. Moreover, as 
discussed earlier, there are structural constraints between  positions of the 
construction, verb types, and aspect markers. These constraints show up most 
clearly as the correlation between process and imperfective aspect and between 
result and perfective aspect. Chinese children's sensitivity to the distinction between process and result in their acquisition of sentences with zai and ba 
constructions may well reflect their analysis of these properties in the target language, rather than the guidance of pre-structured semantic categories. 
However, since the present study has not directly examined the relationship 
between children's speech and the input, more detailed study is needed before 
decisive conclusions can be drawn on the role of input versus semantic 


1. I would like to thank Melissa Bowerman, Wolfgang Klein, and Maya Hickmann
   for insightful discussions on the material presented here. The writing of 
   this paper was made possible by a grant from the Human Frontier Science 

2. Most Chinese prepositions are historically derived from their corresponding 
   verbs through a process that historical linguists call as xuehua 
   (grammaticalization). In this paper, I will be only concerned with the
   morpheme's synchronic meaning.

3. There has been much confusion concerning the use of this term. In Li (1990),    an effort was made to clarify the confusion for the proper use of this term.

4. These authors did not use the term aktionsart for this context. Their actual    terms were 'time schemata' (Vendler) and 'situations' (Comrie).

5.  The three capitalized letters are an abbreviation of the child's name.

Bowerman, M. 1985. What shapes children's grammars? In D. Slobin (ed.), 
	The crosslinguistic study of language acquisition. Vol.2: Theoretical
	Issues. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum. 

Bowerman, M. 1989. Learning a semantic system: What role do cognitive 
	predispositions play? In M. Rice & R.L. Schiefelbusch (eds.), The
	teachability of language. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.
Chao, Y-R. 1968. A grammar of spoken Chinese. Berkeley: University of 
	California Press. 

Chen, C-Y. 1978. Aspectual features of the verb and the relative positions of 
	the locatives. Journal of Chinese Linguistics,  6, 76-103.

Comrie, B. 1976. Aspect: An introduction to the study of verbal aspect and 
	related problems. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

De Lemos, C. 1981. Interactional processes in the child's construction of 
	language. In W. Deutsch (ed.), The children's construction of language.
	New York: Academic Press.

Ding,  S-S. 1961. Xiandai Hanyu yufa jianghua (Lectures on Modern Chinese 
	Grammar). Yuwen Huibian (Collections in Linguistics), 17, Beijing.

Li, C.N., & Thompson, S.A. 1981. Mandarin Chinese: A functional reference
	grammar. Berkeley: University of California Press. 
Li, P. 1988. Acquisition of spatial reference in Chinese. In P. Jordens & J.
	Lalleman (eds.), Language development. Dordrecht: Foris. 
Li, P. 1990. Aspect and aktionsart in child Mandarin. Ph.D.  dissertation, 
	Leiden University, the Netherlands. 

Li, P., MacWhinney, B., & Bates, E. 1991. Processing a language without 
	inflections: An on-line study of sentence interpretation in Chinese. 
	CRL Technical Report 9102, University of California, San Diego.

MacWhinney, B. & C. Snow. 1985. The child language data exchange system. 
	Journal of Child Language, 12, 271-296.

MacWhinney, B. (ed.) 1990. CHAT manual. Dept. of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon 

MacWhinney, B. (ed.) 1990. CLAN program. Dept. of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon 

Slobin, D. 1985. Crosslinguistic evidence for the Language-Making Capacity. In 
	D. Slobin (ed.), The crosslinguistic study of language acquisition. 
	Vol.2: Theoretical Issues.  Hillsdale, N.J.:  Lawrence Erlbaum.
Stephany, U. 1981. Verbal grammar in Modern Greek early child language. In P.S.
	Dale & D. Ingram (eds.), Child language: An international perspective.
	Baltimore: University Park Press.

Sun, C-F. 1991. Transitivity and the ba construction. Paper presented at the 
	3rd North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics, Cornell 
	University,  Ithaca, May.

Vendler, Z. 1967. Linguistics in philosophy. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 

Vlach, F. 1981. The semantics of the progressive. In P. Tedeschi & A. 
	Zaenen (eds.), Syntax and semantics. Vol.14: Tense and aspect.  
	New York: Academic Press.

Wang, L. 1957. Zhongguo xiandai yufa (Modern Chinese grammar). Shanghai:
	Zhonghua Book Co.

[CRL Newsletter Home Page]
[CRL Home Page]
Center for Research in Language
CRL Newsletter
Article 5-5