Base-Generated or Movement-Derived: Antecedent in the Processing of the Chinese OSV Topic Sentence 1

By Zhang, Liulin | Quarterly Journal of Chinese Studies, Spring 2017 | Go to article overview

Base-Generated or Movement-Derived: Antecedent in the Processing of the Chinese OSV Topic Sentence 1


Zhang, Liulin, Quarterly Journal of Chinese Studies


(ProQuest: ... denotes non-USASCII text omitted.)

1.Introduction and Background

1.1Chinese Topic Structures

Chinese has been recognized as a topic- prominent language, in contrast to English, which is claimed to be subject-prominent (Li & Thompson 1976, 1981, p.15; Huang 1984a, 1984b). Li and Thompson (1981, p.95) state that in order to have a firm grasp of the topic- comment structure in Mandarin, it is important for one to understand the openness of the relationship between the topic and the comment. As long as the comment expresses something about the topic in the perception of the speaker and the hearer, the sentence will be meaningful.

(1) ... A(Li & Thompson, 1981, p. 96)

Mian wo zui xihuan chi la de.

noodle I most like eat spicy DE

' Noodles, I like to eat spicy ones the best. '

(2) ... To (Li & Thompson, 1981, p. 96)

Nei ben shu chuban- le.

that CL book publish- LE

' That book, (someone) has published it. '

(3) ... (Li & Thompson, 1981, p. 96)

Zhei jian shi ni bu neng guang mafan yi ge ren.

this CL matter you not can only bother one CL person

' This matter, you can ' t deal with it by bothering only one person. '

(4) ...(Li & Thompson, 1981, p. 96)

Nei chang huo xingkui xiaofangdui lai de kuai.

that CL fire fortunately fire- brigade come DE fast

' (As for) that fire, fortunately the fire brigade came fast. '

It can be noticed that in a simple sentence with one predicate, sometimes the topic bears a theta- selectional relationship to the verb, like in (1) and (2): the sentence appears to have OSV (or OV) structure. Sometimes the topic is outside of the theta- grid of the verb, like in (3) and (4). Lambrecht (1994, p.118) referred to the distinction between these two types of topics as topics which are arguments, i.e., which are syntactically and semantically integrated into the predicate- argument structure of a clause, and topics which are only loosely associated with a proposition and whose relation to the proposition is a matter of pragmatic construal.

It has widely been accepted that in the latter situation, the topic is base- generated, but disagreement remains with regard to the derivation of the topic in the former situation, OSV structure.

Li & Thompson (1976) indicated that all topics in Chinese are base - generated by proposing that the notion of topic in Chinese is as basic as that of subject in general grammar description, and that the topic in Chinese cannot be viewed as derived by movement from some argument position in the sentence. They pointed out, " an important characteristic of the topic in Chinese is that it is independent of the verb and needs not to be an argument of a predicative constituent in the sentences". This framework- setting opinion concerning the function of topics is aligned with Chafe's (1976, p.50) statement that a topic sets a spatial, temporal, or individual framework within which the main predication holds. This perspective is followed by Xu & Langendoen (1985), Xu (1986), Cole (1987), C.- R. Huang (1991), Tsao (1990), and Xu & Liu (1998), among others, and is also closely related to another typological distinction that claims Chinese grammar to be parataxis, in contrast to hypotaxis, represented by English grammar (Nida, 1966; Wang, 1984, p. 468-472).

Generally speaking, parataxis makes use of semantic connection and favors short, simple sentences, with the use of coordinating rather than subordinating conjunctions (Fish, 2012, p. 62), while hypotaxis is the grammatical arrangement of functionally similar but "unequal" constructs, with syntactic devices. Subordination is a commonly used method. That is also part of the reason why Chinese grammar is said to exhibit typological features shared by sign languages and young creole languages (Haiman, 1985; Tai 2008). Pan (2003) further compared Chinese sentences to bamboo, in that information is laid out linearly, and referred to English sentences as tree - like, with more deeply embedded hierarchical structures. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Base-Generated or Movement-Derived: Antecedent in the Processing of the Chinese OSV Topic Sentence 1
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.