This talk discusses the encoding in Sinitic of motion-cum-purpose, i.e. ‘go and buy food’, by two distinct Patterns: A: qù mǎi cài [go + purpose VP] vs. B: mǎi cài qu [purpose VP + go]. Previous studies show that dialect background is a key factor in accounting for the distribution of these patterns. Both A and B are attested nowadays in Standard Mandarin to express motion-cum-purpose ‘go (and/to) VP’, together with a seemingly redundant “blended” Pattern C: qù mǎi cài qu [go + purpose VP + go]. Patterns A, B and C are attested in the case of venitive motion too, with lái (lai). In spite of the obvious grammaticalization of the deictic motion verbs in Pattern B (attested, for instance, by their phonetic erosion), only Chao (1968:479) analyzed the andative or venitive morphemes in Pattern B as “particles of purpose”. The various alternative analyses put forward since then, though, fail to be convincing. We argue here that associated motion is a convincing candidate as a crosslinguistic grammatical category to which such “particles of purpose” may be assigned. This view is complementary with the hypothesis developed in Yáng (2012), who finds evidence in historical documents proving that the intense contact of Chinese with OV Altaic languages was an important factor in the spread of northern Pattern B. It raises the issue of a possible link between associated motion and deictic directionals, an issue under discussion for other linguistic areas.
Christine Lamarre received her doctoral degrees from both École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, in 1985, and Tsukuba University, Japan, in 1987. Her main research areas include historical and dialectal syntax of Chinese languages and missionary texts, with special reference to aspect, modality, motion events and koineization. She has published extensively in Chinese, English, French and Japanese. Professor Lamarre is currently Professor at the Department of Chinese at Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris, France, and editorial member of Language and Linguistics (Academia Sinica, Taiwan).