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Jing Jin

Abstract

This paper investigates a special sub-type of measurement construction in Mandarin Chinese, namely the [Num-measure word-de-N] construction where the N is an abstract dimension-denoting noun. Evidence is presented to show that the abstract-type [Num-measure word-de-N] should be fundamentally distinguished from the quantifying-/modifying-type [Num-measure word-de-N], in which the [Num-measure word] sequence serves to quantize/modify a semantically concrete, entity-denoting N. At the interpretive level, this paper claims that the abstracttype [Num-measure word-de-N] is semantically definite. At the syntactic level, a clausal analysis within the framework of the Predicate Inversion theory is pursued to account for the derivation of the abstract-type measurement construction. Last, it is proposed that the word order distinction between the Chinese abstracttype measurement construction, which is N-final, and its English counterpart, where the N linearly precedes [Num-measure word], can be explained in terms of a parametric variation with respect to the (non-)application of N-raising after Predicate Inversion.

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XuPing Li

Abstract

This squib examines a special kind-referring expression in Mandarin Chinese, the N-leikind compound. We show that like Mandarin bare nouns, N-leikind compounds also denote kinds, but they can only be instantiated by sets of (sub) kind entities at type <k, t>, and not sets of individuals at type <e, t>. Specifically, those kind entities belong to basic-level categories in some folk taxonomy. We claim that N-lei is the nominalization counterpart of the classifier phrase lei-N, and it denotes superkinds, which are instantiated by sets of subkind entities. Accordingly, Mandarin bare nouns are comparable to bare plurals in English, whereas N-lei is comparable to definite singulars in English.

Open access

Chak-Lam Colum Yip

Abstract

This paper argues against Yue’s (1999) view that complements to verbs of commands (jiao ‘to ask/to tell,’ qing ‘to request,’ quan ‘to persuade,’ etc.) are embedded imperatives with a covert [+second person] subject pronoun. Evidence against the embedded imperative analysis include the presence of partial control, the absence of blocking effect in long-distance binding, the incompatibility between these complement clauses and the polite imperative marker qing, and the fact that Yue’s proposed covert [+second person] pronoun cannot be made overt. Since verbs of commands participate in object control, the present proposal agrees with Zhu’s (1982) treatment of verbs of command as pivotal verbs. Finally, complement clauses of verbs of command are not embedded imperatives as bie can also appear with third person subjects, which shows that the negator does not mark imperative but irrealis and deontic modality. Hence, its presence in complements of verbs of command does not lead to an embedded imperative analysis.

Open access

Gong Cheng, Zhao-Hui Yi and Jian-Guo Xiong

Abstract

The present paper proposes a morphological lowering analysis for the structure associated with alethic ACQ, a postverbal morpheme capable of denoting the modality of ability and possibility in Chinese as well as many Southeast Asian languages. Built in the framework of distributed morphology, we suggest that ACQ is base-generated in a preverbal node as a modal element and lowers to a postverbal position during its derivation on the PF branch. We compare and contrast the proposed lowering account with the other model of analysis, the raising analysis, and demonstrate that the lowering account is superior both conceptually and empirically.

Open access

Johannes Heim, Hermann Keupdjio, Zoe Wai-Man Lam, Adriana Osa-Gómez, Sonja Thoma and Martina Wiltschko

Abstract

This study investigates how discourse particles and intonation contribute to the modification of speech act. In particular, it focuses on the interplay between the speaker’s and the addressee’s commitment toward the proposition in assertions, biased questions, and requests for confirmation. A syntactic analysis is proposed, in which speaker commitment and call on addressee are represented as two functional projections of the speech act structure. Data from nontonal (Canadian English) and tonal languages (Cantonese and Medumba) are analyzed for cross-linguistic comparison. In Canadian English, the particle “eh” and rising intonation are associated with speaker commitment and call on addressee, respectively. In Cantonese, a single particle associates with these. In Medumba, the two positions are occupied by two distinct particles. This neo-performative approach toward speech act structure differs from Ross’s 1970 original insight by positing a high functional layer called grounding, rather than a higher matrix clause of the familiar type.

Open access

Niina Ning Zhang

Abstract

I report a few study notes of semantic selection in this paper. First, if derivational affixes s-select roots, which have no categorial features, s-selection may be implemented independently of c-selection. Second, in certain constructions, it seems that s-selected features do not take part in the syntactic operations that establish syntactic dependencies, and thus the inspection of s-selection seems to be local to the merge domain. I also examine s-selection between phrases, showing that it follows the same projection principle as seen in the c-selection between phrases.

提要

詞語間的語意選擇有可能獨立於詞類選擇。如果詞根沒有詞類,那麼派生詞綴對詞 根的語意選擇就獨立於詞類選擇。其次,在某些句式中,兩個成分之間的句法依賴 關係也有可能獨立於語意特徵的選擇。因此,對語意選擇的檢驗可以是局部的。本 文亦討論兩個短語之間的語意選擇關係,發現短語之間的語意選擇關係跟短語之間 的詞類選擇關係遵守同樣的投射原則。

Open access

Feng-hsi Liu

Abstract

Cinque (2010, 2014) shows that in English and Italian, adjectives have two syntactic sources, each with different interpretive properties; one source corresponding to predicative adjectives; the other to non-predicative adjectives. This study examines adjectives in Mandarin Chinese with the goal of finding out whether Chinese displays the same pattern. The data shows that Chinese behaves similarly to English and Italian; adjectives that are derived from relative clauses are semantically different from those that directly modify nouns. In addition, Chinese displays the correspondence that predicative adjectives are derived from reduced RC, while nonpredicative adjectives participate in direct modification. However, this parallelism is only possible if we modify the line drawn between “predicative” and “nonpredicative” assumed by Chinese grammarians.

提要

Cinque (2010, 2014) 認為作定語的形容詞有兩個句法來源,並為英語和義大利語提 供證據指出不同來源之形容詞帶有不同的語義,句法來源的不同最終歸究於形容詞 是否用作謂語。本文探討漢語形容詞的句法來源,證據顯示漢語形容詞同樣有兩個 來源:直接修飾以及關係小句,前者與後者顯現不同語義。形容詞是否用作謂語在 漢語也發揮同樣作用,對形容詞的句法來源有決定性因素。但漢語和英語,義大利 語的相似之處只有在以下情況才能呈現出來:漢語“謂語性形容詞”與“非謂語性 形容詞”的區分必須重新規劃,所有不加“的”的形名詞組中的形容詞皆應納入非 謂語性形容詞中。

Open access

Richard S. Kayne

Abstract

On the basis of considerations involving complementizers, sentence-final particles, need, aspect, tense, focus and topic, agreement morphemes, determiners, verbrelated particles and adpositions, I reach the conclusion that many more heads in the sentential projection line (and elsewhere) must be taken to be silent than is usually thought. I then argue that this state of affairs ultimately reflects the fact that every projecting head is silent.

提要

本文探討的對象包括標句詞、句末助詞、“need”、體、時、焦點與話題、一致關係 語素、限定詞、與動詞有關的助詞、介詞,得出的結論是:在句子投射系列及其他 位置上,無聲中心語的數目應該遠多於過去所理解。本文進而指出,以上的情況都 說明一個事實,那就是中心語都是無聲的成分。

Open access

Naoki Fukui

Abstract

This paper argues that various important results of formal language theory (e.g., the so-called Chomsky Hierarchy) may in fact be illusory as far as the human language faculty is concerned, as has been repeatedly emphasized by Chomsky himself. The paper takes up nested dependencies and cross-serial dependencies, the two important dependencies that typically show up in the discussion of the central classes of grammars and languages, and specifically shows that the fact that nested dependencies abound in human language while cross-serial dependencies are rather limited in human language can be naturally explained if we shift our attention from dependencies defined on terminal strings to abstract structures behind them. The paper then shows that nested dependencies are readily obtained by Merge, applying phase-by-phase, whereas cross-serial dependencies are available only as a result of copying Merge, which requires a constituency of the relevant strings. These results strongly suggest that dependencies are possible in human language only to the extent that they are the results from the structures that can be generated by Merge, leading to the conclusion that it is Merge-generability that determines various dependencies in human language, and that dependencies defined on the terminal strings are indeed illusory. A possible brain science experiment to demonstrate this point is also suggested.

Open access

Cheng-Yu Edwin Tsai

Abstract

This commentary relates Fukui’s (2015) note on weak vs. strong generation to two aspects of quantification in Chinese: quantifier scope and the syntactic licensing conditions of noninterrogative wh-expressions. It is shown that the phenomena under discussion echo Fukui’s (2015) view that only strong generation allows for a deeper understanding of natural language and that dependencies are to be distinguished structurally.