This study aims to consider mismatch phenomena between ‘AgentㆍPatient’ and ‘SubjectㆍObject’ in Mandarin Chinese, and tries to understand these phenomena based on theories of cognitive grammar and construction grammar.
‘AgentㆍPatient’ is a concept of semantics, and ‘SubjectㆍObject’ is a concept of syntax. But as the integrated research on syntax, semantics, pragmatics advances, there has been a growing tendency to equate agent with subject and patient with object. However, there are many mismatch phenomena between ‘AgentㆍPatient’ and ‘SubjectㆍObject’. Accordingly, many linguists have made many inquiries into these phenomena and tried to explain them in many ways.
This study first presented a brief overview of the relation of ‘AgentㆍPatient’ and ‘SubjectㆍObject’ and sentences that have mismatch phenomena. In the 1950s, there were controversies about how to give a definition of subject and object. There were two different opinions, one claims that they have to be determined by the syntactic positions (subject-verb-object), the other claims that they have to be determined by their meaning, which means subject has agent meaning, object has patient meaning.
Afterward, this study claims that subdivision of theta-role can be useful for solve the problem of mismatch phenomena. Because this can resolve the contradiction between the aforesaid two different opinions and more tangible and obvious theta-role can be assigned to every argument.
Lastly, this study explained mismatch phenomena between ‘AgentㆍPatient’ and ‘SubjectㆍObject’ using the terms of ‘Saliency’, ‘Conceptual Blending Theory’, ‘Gestalt’ in the theories of Cognitive Grammar and Construction Grammar.