In theory-neutral terms, it is largely agreed that the grammatical form of a sentence expresses a Situation1, or an eventuality in the sense of Bach (1986), with a number of participants or semantic arguments. Very often it appears that a particular conceptual situation can be expressed in varying syntactic forms, as seen in the semantic relation between a passive construction and its active counterpart, as well as many other cases of verb frame alternations (see Levin 1993). Let us call such linguistic variations in the expression of event structure argument structure2 phenomena, which lie at the core of any theory of linguistic structure. The empirical focus of this dissertation is a subset of argument structure phenomena in Mandarin Chinese, as illustrated in the following:

(1) Xiaowang gang sile fuqin just dieLE father “Xiaowang has just had his father die (on him).”