Why one can kill Rasputin twice in Mandarin

  • Fabienne Martin
  • Hongyuan Sun
  • Jinhong Liu
  • Hamida Demirdache


Mandarin Chinese allows so-called zero-change (failed-attempt) construals of causative monomorphemic verbs when the subject refers to an agent. However, while for nongradable causative simple verbs, this reading is generally available only when the verb is modified by a cardinality adverbial (e.g., liˇang c`ı ‘twice’), with gradable causative simple verbs, thezero-change reading is readily available even in the absence of a cardinality adverbial, though the presence of such an adverbial does indeed facilitate it. We account for this puzzle by arguing that the source of non-culmination differs for gradable vs. non-gradable causative simple verbs: it lies in the partitive semantics of perfective le for non-gradable causative verbs, and/or the degree argument tracking the degree of event realization for gradable causative verbs.
How to Cite
Martin, F., Sun, H., Liu, J., & Demirdache, H. (2021). Why one can kill Rasputin twice in Mandarin. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 25, 618-635. https://doi.org/10.18148/sub/2021.v25i0.957