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An Enthymematic Account of the Deduction of the Negative Meaning of the Chinese Shenme-based Rhetorical Question Construction

Abstract

One controversy in the study of the Chinese shenme ‘what’-based rhetorical question (shenme-RQ for short) is how it takes on a negative interpretation. This paper attempts to apply enthymeme or rhetorical syllogism to the deduction of negative meaning of the shenme-RQ. Triggered by the shenme-RQ, or one of its words or phrases, the hearer extracts the explicit premise, fills in the premise that is implicit either in the context or in her or his encyclopedic knowledge, and deduces the conclusion, the negative meaning of the shenme-RQ. According to what premises are left out, the paper also explores the deduction patterns of the negative meaning of shenme-RQs and proposes a procedure for obtaining the negative interpretation. That said, the negative meaning of the shenme-RQ will be entrenched in the mind of its users and conventionalized in the Mandarin Chinese community via repeated use.

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The Interpretation of Null Subjects in a Radical Pro-drop Language: Topic Chains and Discourse-semantic Requirements in Chinese

Abstract

Based on original data collected through an online experiment, evidence is provided in this paper that the interpretation of null subjects in a radical pro-drop language like Chinese relies on the topic criterion proposed for consistent and partial pro-drop languages (Frascarelli 2007 and Frascarelli 2018), thereby supporting the theory that the null subject parameter implies an information-structural strategy for interpretation. Nevertheless, radical Chinese shows specificities that must be integrated in this theory for a comprehensive account. In particular, even though silent topic can start chains (consistent with the topic criterion), data show a significant preference for overt and local topics as antecedents. This locality requirement thus integrates phonological visibility in a general syntactic condition (minimal overt link condition), proposing an interesting parallel with the properties shown by partial pro-drop languages (Frascarelli and Jimenez-Fernandez in press). The present investigation also contributes to outline the structural differences existing between adverbial clauses in Chinese, supporting a distinction between central and peripheral adverbial clauses (Haegeman 2012). Specifically, while temporal and conditional clauses show the properties of nonrestrictive relative clauses, this is not the case for concessive clauses, which merged as subordinate clauses in either the C-domain or the high split-TP area. Differences between temporal and conditional clauses are attributed to the presence of an overt operator in the latter, and the pre-matrix position of adverbial clauses is explained in the light of their discourse role as frame-setters (Krifka 2007).

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Nonlinguistic Factors that Affect the Degree of Foreign Accent in Second Language Mandarin

Abstract

Previous research findings have established that a number of nonlinguistic factors can influence the strength of perceived foreign accent in second language (L2) speech. However, the majority of past studies have predominantly considered foreign accent of Indo-European languages, notably English. Therefore, it remains unknown whether the same factors influence foreign accent in other languages, such as Mandarin. This article reports findings from a study on nonlinguistic factors affecting the degree of foreign accent in Mandarin as an L2. Seventy L2 learners of Mandarin Chinese recorded speech samples and completed language background questionnaires. Speech samples were rated by 15 native Mandarin speakers for the degree of foreign accent on a 9-point Likert scale. Stepwise multiple regression analysis resulted in a 3-predictor model of pronunciation accuracy: self-rating of foreign accent, Hànyǔ Shuǐpíng Kǎoshì (HSK) proficiency level, and motivational reasons. Results suggest that (1) foreign accent in L2 Mandarin may not be affected by the same factors as in previous L2 accent studies and (2) the concepts of accentedness and comprehensibility may be more intricately linked in lexical tone languages such as Mandarin, in comparison to nontonal languages. These findings have wider implications for the field of L2 acquisition, which is dominated by studies of L2 English.

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Academic and Literary Communication: Addressability, Statuses, and Functioning

Abstract

The article addresses the issue of creation and functioning of each link in the communication chain addresser/sender-message-addressee/recipient in three communicative statuses: external, internal, and potential. Personal and transpersonal communication is analyzed. Semantic and functional features of academic vs literary communication are considered.

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A Cartographic Analysis of the Syntactic Structure of Mandarin Ba

Abstract

This paper analyzes the syntactic properties of the “ba-construction” or “disposal form” in Mandarin Chinese under new theoretical frameworks. By introducing the event-decomposition method proposed by Ramchand (2008), it argues that the ba-construction conveys the causativity and the resultativity of the event at the same time, which can be shown from the syntactic representation. Then, this paper tests the position of ba, assuming that it is a functional head, and the result of the test indicates that ba is a voice head in the hierarchy of functional projections proposed by Cinque (1999, 2006). The final word order of a ba-construction can be derived by the argument movement of the direct object and by a head movement of ba or by the merge of ba at the head position of the higher functional head of a split VoiceP.

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Conflict, Confrontation, and War Reflected in Mass Media: Semantic Wars, their Victors and Victims

Abstract

War presented in mass media as a piece of hard news has three spaces: military, economic, and informational. From a linguistic point of view, conflict has two constituents: CONFLICT-STATE and CONFLICT-ACTION. The variety of conflict is confrontation, which includes physical collision, armed opposition, verbal collision, collision of outlooks and interests. Each conflict or confrontation has a cognitive script, on which confrontational substrategies are being built.

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A Contrastive Analysis of Persian and English Vowels and Consonants

Abstract

The study presents a contrastive analysis of two distinct sound systems, namely, those of Persian and English. It provides a descriptive analysis and a contrastive study of consonants and vowels of these languages, expatiating on the similar and dissimilar features of the two sound systems. Dissimilarities are especially important since they may result in production of deviant sounds by foreign language learners.

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Derivation of the Apparent Narrow Scope of Sentence-Final Particles in Chinese: A Reply to Erlewine (2017)

Abstract

Erlewine (2017) suggests that certain sentence-final particles (SFPs) in Mandarin Chinese such as “sentential le” and eryi are located lower than the C-domain, using a number of arguments relating to the scopal interaction of these SFPs, subjects, and other verb phrase (vP) level elements. The present paper proposes an alternative view of the phenomena considered by Erlewine (2017) and maintains the claim that sentential le and eryi are C-domain elements. First, I argue that shi ‘be’, in the negative form – bu shi ‘not be’ – should be analyzed as an independent verb, which takes a clausal complement headed by le or eryi. The apparent narrow scope of le and eryi is due to the biclausal analysis of the entire sentence. Second, the sentence-initial determiner phrase (DP) cannot be analyzed as the real subject of the verb shi ‘be’ but must be analyzed as the matrix topic of the entire sentence and, therefore, is higher than the complementizer phrase (CP) headed by le or eryi. This explains why sometimes le or eryi does not have scope over the subject. Third, the wh-subject cannot get an indefinite reading in a sentence with a final particle le because the ∃-closure triggered by le applies at the I′-level by excluding the subject systematically (Huang 1982). The ∃-quantifier, which is introduced in a position lower than the surface subject position, cannot bind the wh-subject as a variable. The position where ∃ is generated remains independent of whether the ∃-closure is triggered by low particles, such as le, or by high particles, such as the yes–no question particle ma. Therefore, the low peripheral particles le and eryi are still within the CP domain and thus higher than vP.

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Fantasy Word Sounding in Marketing Phonosemantics

Abstract

The paper represents the results of a linguistic experiment aimed at establishing if the sounding of different fantasy brand names can cause the same associations in collective consciousness. The experiment drew upon crowdsourcing. The data received can be useful for marketing phonosemantics in relation to the methods used for the creation of new brand names.

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Frame Modeling of the Concepts of Life and Death in the English Gothic Worldview

Abstract

The Gothic worldview is understood as a manifestation of the environment’s reflection in peoples’ thoughts, which shows the perception of real and unreal / supernatural worlds in their symbiosis and determines the human’s role in it. LIFE and DEATH are universal concepts of culture and most fully they can be shown in the form of frame, the main structural elements of which are ACTANTS, PREDICATES, QUANTIFIERS, PLACE, and TIME.

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