So far, the study of directional complement have been focused on descriptive analysis based on verb meaning, and research on syntactic distribution. In this trend, the studies of directional complement ‘xialai’ and ‘xiaqu’ did not reflect their essential functions and above all, it did not help to find the status in the aspect system.
This article analyzed the aspectual functions of ‘xialai’ and ‘xiaqu’ through the aspectual properties of the component, and as a result, confirmed the following.
First, ‘xialai’ and ‘xiaqu’ have a aspectual function, which is the completion of a situation. At this time, the resultant state is implicitly provided. Depending on the meaning of the predicate and the degree of grammaticalization of the directional complement, the implicit meaning is realized differently. The implicit meaning is a secondary meaning accompanied by the aspectual function of completion.
Second, the movement directions of verb phrase ‘xialai’ and ‘xiaqu’ are symmetrical, but its symmetry does not appear in all function of directional complement ‘xialai’ and ‘xiaqu’. As a result of analysis, ‘xialai’ and ‘xiaqu’ show differences in collocation of predicates, components, and aspect markers. In other words, ‘xialai’ implies continuation before completion, but the center of meaning is still in the completion of the situation. Considering as a aspectual properties of a component and aspect marker in the sentence, it is still difficult to see it as a continuous aspect marker. ‘xiaqu’ expresses continuity, and since the initial and final endpoints(or one of them) are open, it can be regarded as a continuative aspect marker of the imperfective aspect.
Lastly, ‘xialai’ and ‘xiaqu’ have been changed from the function of the perfective to the function of the imperfective, which is a universal phenomenon of human language. There exist examples in which one form expresses both the function of perfective and imperfective, both synchronically and typologically, and most of them use the meaning of the resultant state. This hypothesis will help to understand the aspectual properties of ‘xiaqu’ and at the same time it is expected to be a new breakthrough in solving problems that are difficult to explain with the existing binary asepct system.