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Verbs of Command and the Status of Their Embedded Complements in Chinese

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
The Silence of Heads

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
Syntactic Sources of Adjectives in Mandarin Chinese

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
Understanding S-Selection

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
A Case of V2 in Chinese

Abstract

As far as the left periphery is concerned, there is a conspiracy between syntax, semantics, and pragmatics to ensure the success of sentence formation. We would like to put forth the claim that peripheral features play an important role in this endeavor, which can be checked by either Merge or Move according to the parameter-settings of individual languages. Along this line, topic prominence can be regarded as the result of peripheral feature checking, and the null topic hypothesis à la Huang (1984) is reinvented as a null operator merger to fulfill interface economy in the left periphery. In this regard, Chinese provides substantial evidence from obligatory topicalization in outer affectives, evaluatives, and refutory wh-constructions, which applies only when the licensing from a D(efiniteness)-operator is blocked. The idea also extends naturally to the issues concerning pro-drop and bare nominals in general. In this light, we may well compare Chinese obligatory topicalization to those residual cases of verb-second (V2) in English, all being manifestation of the strong uniformity.

Open access
A note on Fukui’s note

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.

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A Note on Weak vs. Strong Generation in Human Language

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
The Components of Sideward Movement in the Verb Copying Construction in Mandarin Chinese

Abstract

In this paper, I explore the components of the sideward movement involved in the verb copying construction proposed by Cheng (2007). I first present some facts of the resultative de-clause of the verb copying construction which seems to be puzzling under Cheng’s analysis. An extended analysis is then proposed. Under the extended analysis, I propose that the sideward movement mechanism involved in the resultative de-clause can be further analyzed as internal topicalization plus differential object marking. This analysis of sideward movement is also attested in the manner de-clause of the verb copying construction. The proposed components relate the sideward movement in the verb copying construction to the syntactic mechanisms which are also observed widely in Mandarin Chinese and other languages.

Open access
Once and Twice

Abstract

The study of English once and twice yields evidence that each of them is actually a complex phrase containing two visible morphemes and one silent one. Neither is a simple lexical item. The -ce morpheme is akin to a postposition, despite English being primarily prepositional. The silent element associated with once and twice is a silent counterpart of time, represented as TIME. This instance of TIME is singular, even in the case of twice. There appears to be a link between TIME and the syntax of classifiers.

The presence of silent TIME with once and twice indirectly provides evidence for the presence in the human language faculty of other antecedentless silent nominal elements such as NUMBER. Silent elements of this sort are not visible (even via an antecedent) in the primary data available to the learner. Their properties, for example, their singularity or plurality and their licensing conditions, therefore provide us with a privileged window onto the invariant core of the language faculty itself.

The presence of silent elements such as TIME and NUMBER can, in part, be traced back to a principle of decompositionality, to the effect that the human language faculty imposes a maximum of one interpretable syntactic feature per lexical item.

Open access