Theme maximalization through modifiers: A case of Mandarin verbal classifier bian


  • Yiyang Guo University of Cambridge



maximalization, theme, verbal classifier, adjunct, modifier


Maximalization strategies and their syntactic representations are at the centre of a long debate (Filip & Rothstein 2005; Filip 2008; Martínez Vera 2021; a.o.). Semantically, events can be maximalized with respect to theme, path, degree, etc., and thus maximalization features several types. Syntactically, maximalization has been argued to be exerted by a verb or an argument of the verb. This research offers a novel observation that elements in a modifier position can also introduce maximalization. In particular, I propose that Mandarin verbal classifier bian is a theme-maximalizing element situated in an adjunct of VP. I further provide a compositional analysis within the framework of neo-Davidsonian event semantics. In the end, I compare bian with another theme-maximaling element diao and identify two distinct levels of theme maximalization.




How to Cite

Guo, Yiyang. 2024. “Theme Maximalization through Modifiers: A Case of Mandarin Verbal Classifier Bian”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 9 (1): 5721.