The Syntax of Chinese

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Overview

The past quarter of a century has seen a surge in Chinese syntactic research that has produced a sizeable literature on the analysis of almost every construction in Mandarin Chinese. This guide to Chinese syntax analyzes the majority of constructions in Chinese that have featured in theoretical linguistics in the past twenty-five years, using the authors' own analyses as well as existing or potential alternative treatments. A board variety of topics are covered, including categories, argument structure, passives, and anaphora. The discussion of each topic sums up the key research results and provides new points of departure for further research. This book will be invaluable both to students wanting to know more about the grammar of Chinese, and to graduate students and theoretical linguists interested in the universal principles that underlie human languages.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521590587
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/13/2009
  • Series: Cambridge Syntax Guides Series
  • Pages: 404
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

JAMES HUANG is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics at Harvard University.

AUDREY LI is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Southern California.

YAFEI LI is a Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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Table of Contents

Abbreviations ix

Introduction 1

1 Categories 9

1.1 Lexical categories 10

1.1.1 Verbs and nouns - basic distinctions 10

1.1.2 Localizers 13

1.1.3 Adjectives 21

1.1.4 Prepositions 26

1.2 Functional categories 32

1.2.1 [Fn],n≥0 32

1.2.2 [F] and the modifier-introducing de 35

2 Argument structure 38

2.1 Arguments and theta-roles 38

2.1.1 Basic properties of theta-roles 39

2.1.2 Chinese resultative compounds: a case study 40

2.1.3 Compounds vs. phrases 43

2.2 On the nature of theta-roles 46

2.2.1 Theta-roles produced by the syntax 46

2.2.2 What's in a verb? 54

2.2.3 Squeezing a lexical foot into a functional shoe 57

2.3 Sketching an alternative theory of theta-roles 60

2.3.1 How a lexical entry contributes to the argument structure 61

2.3.2 The theory 62

2.3.3 Facts explained 66

2.4 In place of a conclusion 75

3 The verb phrase 77

3.1 Adjuncts and complements 77

3.2 Postverbal constituents 82

3.2.1 Double objects and the structure of VP 82

3.2.2 V-de 84

3.2.3 Frequency/Duration phrases (FP/DrP) 91

3.3 Preverbal constituents 100

3.3.1 Aspectual phrase 101

3.3.2 Modals 106

3.4 Summary 110

4 Passives 112

4.1 The Mandarin long passive 113

4.1.1 Two competing traditions 113

4.1.2 The analysis: A'-movement and predication 120

4.1.3 Further evidence for the NOP analysis 124

4.2 The Mandarin short passive 129

4.2.1 Against the Agent-deletion analysis 129

4.2.2 Analysis of the short passive 134

4.3 The analysis of indirect passives 139

4.3.1 Direct vs. indirect passives 139

4.3.2 The inclusive indirect passive 140

4.3.3 The adversative passive 147

4.4 Summary 151

5 The ba construction 153

5.1 ba and bei constructions 154

5.2 What is ba? 162

5.2.1 The categorial status of ba 162

5.2.2 The analysis of ba 165

5.3 ba not a theta-role assigner 167

5.3.1 ba and the subject 168

5.3.2 ba and the post-ba NP 172

5.4 Structures 174

5.4.1 A preliminary analysis 174

5.4.2 Revision 176

5.5 "Affected" 186

5.6 Alternatives 189

5.7 Summary 194

6 Topic and relative constructions 197

6.1 Topic structures 199

6.1.1 Movement or not? 202

6.1.2 Island conditions 207

6.2 Relative structures 212

6.2.1 Distribution and interpretation 214

6.2.2 Movement 218

6.2.3 Base generation 221

6.2.4 Relative operator 221

6.2.5 NP adjunction 228

6.3 Gapless structures 233

7 Questions 236

7.1 yes-no questions 238

7.2 Disjunctive questions 242

7.3 A-not-A questions 244

7.3.1 Three types of A-not-A questions 245

7.3.2 A-not-A questions: a modular approach 250

7.3.3 Explaining the differences 254

7.3.4 VP-neg questions 257

7.3.5 Summary 260

7.4 wh-questions 260

7.4.1 A movement approach to wh-in-situ 261

7.4.2 LF movement: some problems and alternatives 266

7.4.3 LF Subjacency and pied-piping 268

7.4.4 Non-movement and unselective binding 273

7.5 Summary 282

8 Nominal expressions 283

8.1 The issues 284

8.2 Projecting a DP - referential and quantity expressions 287

8.2.1 Number expressions as indefinite and quantity expressions 288

8.2.2 Quantity vs. indefiniteness 289

8.2.3 Number phrase and determiner phrase 291

8.2.4 Comparison with indefinite wh-elements 292

8.2.5 Comparison with you expressions 293

8.2.6 Prohibition against an indefinite subject/topic 294

8.2.7 Summary 295

8.3 Order and constituency within a DP 295

8.3.1 Demonstratives 296

8.3.2 Pronouns 297

8.3.3 Proper names 299

8.3.4 Common nouns 301

8.3.5 Not appositives or adverbials 303

8.3.6 Summary 306

8.4 Extension and revision: plurality 306

8.4.1 Some puzzles about -men 307

8.4.2 Plural feature as head of NumP 311

8.4.3 Proper name + pronoun + demonstrative 315

8.5 Summary and some empirical complications 317

8.5.1 Non-quantity indefinite nominals in subject position 318

8.5.2 Non-root clauses, generic NPs 325

9 Anaphora 329

9.1 Binding Theory in Chinese 330

9.1.1 Reflexives and Principle A 330

9.1.2 Pronouns and Principle B 332

9.1.3 Principles C and D 333

9.2 The bare reflexive ziji 336

9.2.1 Two approaches to the long-distance ziji 337

9.2.2 Logophoricity and anaphoricity 344

9.2.3 Logophoricity: syntax and semantics 350

9.3 Bound anaphora and donkey anaphora 353

9.3.1 Pronouns in coreference or as bound variables 353

9.3.2 Variable binding: scope, accessibility, and disjointness 354

9.3.3 Indefinites and donkey anaphora 362

9.4 Summary and conclusion 370

References 372

Index 389

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