rss_2.0Studies in Chinese Linguistics FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Studies in Chinese Linguistics in Chinese Linguistics Feed a Theory of Morphology as Syntax<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Phenomena traditionally thought of as morphological can be accounted for in terms of syntactic operations and principles, hence bringing forth questions that traditional morphology fails to ask (for instance, concerning the licensing of empty morphemes). The language faculty contains no specific morphological component, nor any post-syntactic morphological operations.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Syntax of Mandarin Long Passives Revisited<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article examines the syntactic structure of long <italic>gei</italic> passives in Mandarin Chinese and argues against the prepositional analysis of <italic>gei</italic> in long passives. Refining the ditransitive verb analysis of Lin and Huang (2015), we propose that <italic>gei</italic> is an object-control verb which selects a vP complement rather than a CP or IP complement. By providing supporting evidence for the vP analysis through drawing a parallel from object preposing, we show that long <italic>gei</italic> passives behave on a par with sentences with verbs involving vP complementation like <italic>changshi</italic> ‘try’, not with those involving IP complementation like <italic>jihua</italic> ‘plan’. We also show that the ditransitive analysis is supported by syntactic parallels between long <italic>gei</italic> passives and typical ditransitive sentences in terms of transformation into pseudo-clefts and topicalization of the outer object. The result of this research suggests that two types of object-control structures should be distinguished. One of them involves an IP complement taken by verbs like <italic>qiangpo</italic> ‘force’, while the other involves a vP complement taken by <italic>gei</italic>/<italic>bei</italic> in long passives.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue in the Asymmetric Universe: Remarks on Kayne (2022)<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Kayne (2022) has proposed that the asymmetry of syntax be built into the fundamental operation of Merge itself. This squib reviews some of his proposals and supporting evidence. Departing from Kayne, this squib hypothesized that the asymmetric patterns mainly lie in the functional domain of syntax, and the lexical domain may remain symmetric either within a language or cross-linguistically. The Functional Asymmetry Hypothesis (FAH) is supported by the global symmetry of the VO/OV word order, the commutative conjunction structures in the lexical domain, and the free ordering of event-internal adverbs. If the observation is on the right track, it suggests that the asymmetry of syntax, while empirically robust, cannot be entirely reduced to the operation Merge.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Questions and Polarity Licensing: On Cantonese Modal<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper investigates the deontic modal <italic>sai2</italic> in Cantonese. I argue that <italic>sai2</italic> is an NPI and a negative operator is induced at the sentence-initial position by the SFPs <italic>me1</italic> or <italic>aa4</italic> in rhetorical questions. In SAI sentence, <italic>sai2</italic> must syntactically agree with the negative operator for licensing, and minimality and locality effects are found in such agreement. This study may provide evidence of a syntactic approach to NPI licensing and rhetorical questions.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Answers in Chinese<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper studies echo answers to yes-no questions in Chinese with respect to their distributions, derivations, and typological patterns. We reconsider Simpson’s (2015) verb-raising analyses of verb echo answers (VEAs), finding that his analysis is inspiring in describing the significant properties of VEAs but that he has not discussed issues pertinent to the role of <italic>le</italic> in VEAs, adverbial echo answers, and multiple verb echo answers. This paper proposes that the derivation of short echo answers in Chinese is two-fold: the verb echo answer involves V-to-<italic>v</italic> movement, <italic>pro</italic>-drop, and VP-deletion; and the adverbial short answer involves focus movement and TP deletion. The aspectual markers, the post-verbal <italic>le1</italic> denoting perfective and the sentence-final <italic>le2</italic> encoding a change of state in Chinese, play a crucial role in determining the grammaticality of certain verb-echo answers via aspectual anchoring. This analysis avoids analytical problems posed by V-to-C (domain) (Holmberg 2016; Simpson 2015, etc.). Evidence from information focus and negative scope reversal supports this two-track analysis of echo answers in Chinese. Finally, we conclude that typologically, Chinese, a language using verb-echo answers, is close to Vietnamese and Finnish in allowing adverbial short answers and akin to Thai and Finnish in allowing multiple verb echo answers.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Adverbial Clauses: A Case Study in Cantonese<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper investigates an understudied topic in adverbial clauses, converbs, which are verb forms that mark adverbial subordination. Focusing on converbal clauses in Cantonese, I show that they do not share a uniform syntax and should be divided into two classes, formed by central converbs (such as conditional clauses formed by V-<italic>can1</italic>) and peripheral converbs (such as inferential clauses formed by V-<italic>dak1</italic>) respectively. The central class adjoins low to the event/proposition level projections of the main clauses and has an impoverished internal structure, whereas the peripheral class attaches high to the discourse level projections of the main clauses and has an articulated internal structure. The distinction displays remarkable parallelism with the central-peripheral dichotomy of adverbial clauses proposed by Haegeman (2003a, 2003b, 2010), calling for a unified syntax of adverbial clauses formed by converbs and by subordinators, which is achievable under an agreement analysis of converbs.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue the Syntax of Null Clausal Complements in Taiwan Southern Min<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper investigates the less discussed null argument – the null clausal complement in Taiwan Southern Min (TSM). The discussion issues include the derivation, status, and replacement of null clausal complements in TSM. This paper applies four tests to prove that the null clausal complement in TSM is a type of deep anaphora, which has no internal structure and is not derived through deletion. Moreover, possessing features such as not being A-bound, and possibly being but not required to be A-bar-bound, the null clausal complement in TSM is argued to have the status of a null epithet. As null clausal complements are not allowed with all kinds of verbs, in some cases where clausal complements cannot be null, an obligatory pro-S <italic>an-ne</italic> ‘so’ is then required.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Raising in Chinese Modal Auxiliary Verb Constructions: A-movement or A′-movement?<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Subject raising in Chinese modal auxiliary verb constructions can be either A-movement or A′-movement. Modal auxiliary verbs such as <italic>hui</italic> and <italic>yao</italic> can take a nonfinite TP complement which cannot value the abstract case of the embedded subject. Hence the embedded subject must get its case valued by the matrix T and is raised to the Spec-TP of the matrix clause. This kind of raising is A-movement and is obligatory. Modal auxiliary verbs such as <italic>keneng</italic> and <italic>yinggai</italic> take a finite CP complement that can be assigned tense value by the broader context. The embedded subject can get its case valued and stay in situ. It can also be raised to the sentence-initial position by topicalization. This kind of raising is A′-movement. The A-movement and A′-movement contrast accounts for the minimal link condition in object raising, weak and strong quantificational NPs, topic stacking, and resumptive pronouns in Chinese modal auxiliary verb constructions.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Externalization<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>There are no mirror-image pairs of languages. This restriction on the otherwise vast set of possible languages must be accounted for, and puts boundary conditions on any theory of the human language faculty. There are implications for externalization and in the longer run for the evolution of the language faculty. Antisymmetric linear/temporal order is part of core syntax. Temporal order is partly (though not fully) integrated into core syntax via Merge itself. When two elements X and Y are merged, a relative linear/temporal order is assigned to them. At the same time, that instance of Merge assigns no relative order to the subparts of X and Y. Core syntax can explicitly have X precede Y without having any subpart of X precede any subpart of Y.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Degree-WH Clauses in Mandarin<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In Mandarin, if two-degree wh-question-like clauses are combined, the wh-phrases do not have a question reading. This paper argues that such a paired-wh declarative is an equative comparison construction, like the <italic>as</italic>…<italic>as</italic> equative in English, and the first clause denotes the standard of the comparison. Such declaratives, like a degree comparison construction, are derived by the occurrence of a comparison quantifier, and predicate abstraction applies to each clause. The paired wh-forms are the variables. This research shows that Mandarin does have degree quantificational comparison constructions, and it is possible for both clauses of a comparison construction to have a wh-form.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue -island Effects in Chinese<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The traditional observation that Chinese <italic>wh</italic>-arguments do not exhibit <italic>wh</italic>-island effects may be only apparent. With new evidence from “how-many” phrases, it is demonstrated that Chinese has <italic>wh</italic>-island effects even with <italic>wh</italic>-arguments. What nullifies such effects is in fact the disguise of D-linkedness. Although the lack of <italic>wh</italic>-island effects seems to pattern Chinese <italic>wh</italic>-construals with Japanese ones, further tests show that these two languages are still different with respect to strong island effects, (anti-)crossing effects, and multiple <italic>wh</italic>-interpretations. The finding leads to the need to reinvestigate the mechanisms underlying the scope-taking <italic>wh-</italic>elements of <italic>wh</italic>-in-situ languages on the one hand, and those triggering <italic>wh</italic>-island effects on the other.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Interaction Between Modals and SFPs in Mandarin Chinese: A Cartographic Approach<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Both sentential final particles (SFPs) and high modals commonly convey the speakers’ knowledge of the world, their judgments, intentions, and subjective attitudes. This paper aims to explore the correlations between high modals and sentence-final particles in Mandarin Chinese (MC). Specifically, two high modals of MC show the behavior of being unable to precede the subject and eliminating their epistemic reading in the presence of SFPs. The phenomenon discussed in this paper is specifically exemplified with <italic>yinggai</italic> ‘should’ and <italic>keneng</italic> ‘be likely to’ in MC. We give an analysis about which modals and SFPs are interlaced in terms of their scope positions, so as to explain the phenomena.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Underspecified Bare Clauses in Mandarin<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This study shows that the temporal interpretation of Mandarin bare clauses is fully underspecified when these clauses describe scheduled, preprogrammed events. The paper defines the key syntactic properties of such bare clauses and their context of use. On the basis of this definition, the paper proposes that these clauses are copular constructions, which in all relevant respects behave like regular copular constructions. Bare clauses contain a subject and a predicate, related by the (sometimes covert) copula <italic>shì</italic>, expressing a paired relation between them. The fact that bare clauses have a simple predicative structure underlyingly is further supported by observations from the realm of gapping and negation. Crucially, it is proposed that there is no temporal projection immediately above the verb phrase in these sentences. The underspecification of the temporal interpretation is accordingly accounted for.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Intervention Effect in Late Archaic Chinese and Modern Mandarin<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>I investigate the Intervention Effect in Late Archaic Chinese (LAC) and modern Mandarin. In LAC, negation displays the Intervention Effect on <italic>wh</italic>-phrases. There are two types of <italic>wh</italic>-items that are subject to the Intervention Effect triggered by negation, namely, <italic>wh</italic>-arguments and <italic>wh</italic>-adverbials that are supposed to move to a lower focus position below the negation; and those that have the option to stay in situ. Due to the intervening negative barrier, these c-commanded <italic>wh</italic>-phrases have to rise to a higher focus position above the negation so as to circumvent the Intervention Effect. I propose that the Intervention Effect in LAC is a consequence of Q-binding as a feature movement of [<italic>wh</italic>], interacting with movement into the hierarchy of clause-internal positions driven by [Topic] or [Focus] features. By contrast, focus or quantificational phrases do not display the Intervention Effect in LAC. In modern Mandarin, focus phrases, but not negation or quantified structures, impose the Intervention Effect on <italic>wh</italic>-items; negation, but not focus phrases or quantified structures, imposes the Intervention Effect on temporal <italic>wh</italic>-adverbials. I also propound three obligatory requirements for the Intervention Effect to take place in LAC, namely, interrogativity of <italic>wh</italic>-items, the possibility of feature <italic>wh</italic>-movement, and a hierarchy of clausal positions. Although the Intervention Effect in LAC and modern Mandarin are triggered by different barriers, it always needs to meet the three requirements. Data from both LAC and Mandarin justify previous analyses regarding feature movement.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Blending and Slang Expressions in Hong Kong Cantonese<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper seeks to examine nine slang words created newly in Cantonese, which started their life journey from the inventions of individuals and now constituting the established lexical means of expressing cultural conceptualizations. These slang expressions are analyzed with reference to the theory of conceptual integration (also known as “blending”) developed in Fauconnier and Turner 2002. In the analysis, four different types of conceptual integration network (i.e., simplex networks, single-scope networks, double-scope, and multiple-scope networks) are used to unravel the increasingly complex systems of cognitive operations with which the “slang” blends are created. During the discussion of the conceptual integration networks here, we were able to see how elements and relations from familiar conceptualizations can be transformed into new and meaningful ones that align along with the changes in cultural conceptualizations. It is hoped that this study shows that, despite having wide applications in the English language, the blending theory can provide an integrated and coherent account of the cognitive mechanisms by which colloquial words are constructed and construed in terms of cultural experiences specific to a given non-Anglo locality.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtrue Dual Identity of the Post-Verbal in Cantonese: A Non-Specific Resultative Particle and a Free Choice Item<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This paper discusses the syntactic and semantic properties of the two functions of the post-verbal <italic>can1</italic> in Cantonese. The first function of the post-verbal <italic>can1</italic> is a non-specific resultative particle that denotes any degree on a “bodily harm” scale. The non-specific nature of <italic>can1</italic> ensures that the scale is always a simplex scale (containing only a beginning and an end) and thus [V-<italic>can1</italic>] predicates behave like achievement verbs. The second function of the post-verbal <italic>can1</italic> is a free choice item (FCI). It appears only in non-episodic sentences, specifically in <italic>dou1</italic> (iota operator)-conditionals or <italic>zau6</italic> (necessity operator)-conditionals.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue Syntax and Semantics of Cantonese Particles in the Left Periphery<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Adopting the cartographic approach, this paper proposes syntactic positions for all left-periphery particles above the tense phrase (TP) in Cantonese. These include both sentence-final particles and sentence-initial particles that can be used in isolation as interjections. Based on previous syntactic proposals for the left periphery, a modification of Rizzi’s (2001) split-complementizer phrase (Split-CP) structure is proposed. A Deictic Phrase (DeicP) is added above the finite phrase (FinP) for the Cantonese “tense” particles <italic>laa3</italic> and <italic>lei4</italic>(<italic>ge3</italic>). Then, based on a number of proposals inspired by Speas and Tenny (2003), two functional phrases are added above the force phrase (ForceP) – a higher affect phrase (AffectP) for Cantonese sentence-initial particles and a lower discourse phrase (DiscourseP) for most of the sentence-final particles. The resulting structure is tentatively proposed to account for the word order of all left-periphery particles in Cantonese, bringing the description of their syntax closer in line with a number of proposals based on left-periphery particles in other languages. This proposal includes a three-way distinction of the functions and meanings of left-periphery particles: 1) particles that lie between ForceP and TP do not refer directly to the discourse context; 2) particles that head DiscourseP <italic>do</italic> refer directly to the discourse; and 3) particles that head AffectP refer to the discourse <italic>and</italic> express human emotions.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue of Non-VO Separable Compound Verbs in Cantonese<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Verb-object (VO) separable compound verbs (SCVs), for example, <italic>lí-le-hūn</italic> ‘divorced’, have long been studied. A small group of non-VO compounds in Cantonese are also separable, but have not yet been addressed. In this study, a preliminary judgment test was used for the first time, to look into the separation of non-VO compounds. We found that the separation of non-VO compounds, though limited, is different from that of VO compounds in terms of their ways of separation. There seems to be an effect of the ways of separation and the morphological structures of the verbs on the separability. We also showed that the underlying identity of non-VO SCVs is lexical, as most of them do not have a phrasal form. This group of separable verbs, which was neglected before, could have an impact on related morpho-syntactic theories.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue V-one-V Construction and Modification of the Verbal Domain in Cantonese<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This study deals with a syntactic analysis of the V-one-V construction that has implications on the structure of verbal modification in Cantonese. The V-one-V construction is unique in several ways, making it distinct from the cognate object construction in English or the verb-doubling construction in Cantonese. Several syntactic and semantic properties are discussed that support a syntactic analysis of V-one-V as an instance of syntactic verb copying (Corver and Nunes 2007) rather than a morphological treatment often prescribed to reduplication. The V-one-V construction consists of two copies of a verb with a number or quantifier <italic>jat1</italic> ‘one’, <italic>loeng5</italic> ‘two’, or <italic>gei2</italic> ‘few’ between the copies. The construction denotes the delimitation of events, displaying interpretations of tentative, brief occurrences of events. This pattern indicates that V-one-V denotes delimitation in the senses of both counting and measuring and the choice depends on the nature of the VP, according to the data. This study also contributes to the discussion on postverbal modification as an alternative to V-one-V, which is more productive in its meaning and lexical choice.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue Morphosyntactic Analysis of Patient-Subject Constructions in Chinese<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The exact nature and derivation of patient-subject constructions (PSC) in Chinese are still at dispute in literature. Based on the restriction of manner adverbial modification and the nonexistence of the manner reading <italic>of zenme</italic> ‘how’ observed in Chinese PSC, a morphosyntactic analysis has been provided. We argue that the seeming action verb V in PSC is not a real main verb, but a verbal root to be introduced into the derivation after syntax via external morphological merger. The real main verb of PSC in syntax is a covert light verb ∅<sub>BEC</sub>, which selects a nominal phrase (NP) as its specifier (Spec) and a resultative phrase (RP) as its complement. BECP is further selected by an aspect (Asp) head <italic>le</italic>. To satisfy the extended projection principle (EPP), the NP at [Spec, BECP] moves to the [Spec, TP] in syntax. After syntax, the resultative (R) head-moves to ∅<sub>BEC</sub> at the phonological form (PF) to satisfy the phonological requirement of ∅<sub>BEC</sub>, forming R-∅<sub>BEC</sub>; then, a bare verbal root merges with R-∅<sub>BEC</sub> at PF to denote the manner of the change of state. Due to the phonological requirement of <italic>le</italic>, V-R-∅<sub>BEC</sub> head-moves to <italic>le</italic>, producing the right order of PSC. The two elided forms of PSC can be derived similarly. This research suggests that covert light verbs and morphology may play an interactive role in the derivation of some “typical” constructions in Chinese.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue