NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED565972
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 231
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3036-9405-9
A Unified Syntactic Account of Mandarin Subject Nominals
Liu, Yi-Hsien
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Southern California
This dissertation investigates the Mandarin Chinese nominals [Numeral-Classifier-("de")-Noun] and their functions as preverbal and post-verbal subjects and topics. It starts with a close analysis of the internal structure of the Chinese nominals. I propose a set of syntactic structures that capture the behaviors and distinctions between the canonical [Num(eral)-Cl(assifier)-N(oun)] and the non-canonical [Num(eral)-Cl(assifier)-"de"-N(oun)] expressions. Upon close examinations of the extensive data, Chapter 2 concludes that the canonical [Num-Cl-N] has a right-branching structure (Tang 1990, 2005; Li 1998, 1999), while the non-canonical [Num-Cl-"de"-N] has two left-branching structures, which correspond to the amount reading and the attributive reading respectively. I also explore two issues related to the Chinese nominal structures, the classifier modification case [Num-A(djective)-Cl-N] and the null "yi" "one" case [(yi)-Cl-N]. For the former issue, I suggest that the combination of the adjective and the CL/M is decided by the semantic compatibility among the gradable adjective, the CL/M, and the head noun. As for the latter, I propose that Mandarin [Cl-N] and ["yi"-Cl-N] have the same structure, and "yi" "one" is subject to PF deletion in destressed contexts (Li 1998). From the internal nominal structures, I go on to explore the Chinese nominals in preverbal positions, that is, the canonical subject positions and topic positions. Specifically, I seek to permute the DP-internal account (Li 1998, 1999) with a more refined predicational distinction that incorporates the primacy of location (McNally 1992) in the thetic/categorical distinction (Kuroda 1992, 2005). I suggest that only location-dependent Stage-level predicates (LD SLP) express thetic judgment. Individual-level predicates (ILP), which are location-independent (unless coerced), must be categorical. Location-independent Stage-level predicates (LI SLP) are also categorical; however, when [Num-Cl-N], particularly ["yi" "one"-Cl-N], is acceptable, it is a type of quantificational sentence (Kuroda 1995, Shyu 2012). What this proposal translates into subject definiteness/specificity is that ILP must have definite or generic subjects, LI SLP may have specific subjects, and the LD SLP can have non-specific subjects. I continue the discussion of Chinese subjects by looking at the post-verbal subjects in the Existential Construction (EC) you "have"-sentences, particularly the EC with secondary predicates, called the Existential Coda Construction (ECC). I argue against the adjunct and the NP/DP analyses in the literature, and proposed a V-complement analysis which is functionally a topic-comment structure. The proposed structure is able to account for the essential properties of the ECC as well as the lack of the Coda restriction in Mandarin, that is, Mandarin ECC allows ILP. In addition, Chapter 4 examines the Definiteness Effect (DE). Echoing many others, I suggest that the DE is an epiphenomenon of the discourse function of the EC--to introduce new information. Finally, I claim that the Specific Effect (Huang 1987; Tsai 1994, 1999) does not hold in Chinese, and suggest that the compatibility between the post-verbal NP (be it a bare noun or a [Num-Cl-N]) and the Coda (be it SLP or ILP) decides the acceptability of the ECC. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A