Journal of East Asian Linguistics

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In this paper, it is argued that sentences with sai2mat1 ‘needn’t’ in Cantonese are rhetorical questions and sai2mat1 ‘needn’t’ is a root modal that undergoes movement to a higher position above TP, exhibiting epistemic-like properties. Under the cartographic approach, the rhetorical reading is derived by an interrogative feature [Int] of C, a null negative operator in CP, and an interpretable assertive feature [Assert] of F collectively. Rhetorical questions should be used in root contexts, implying that indirect rhetorical questions do not exist.
In this article, the important role of corpus in applied linguistics and the methodological foundations and functions of lexicogrammar in the creation of homonyms learner dictionary are analyzed. According to this, corpus is considered to be an important resource in the application of various studies according to owing with the various functional capabilities of the electronic corpus of the Uzbek language, as well as several sub-corpora (educational, authorial, parallel and general), are linguistically annotated, and the texts are classified according to certain principles (chronological, methodological).
This paper offers a compositional take on two internally complex conditional connectives in Mandarin, zhi-yao ‘only-need’ and zhi-you ‘only-have’. While the former conveys the antecedent proposition’s minimal sufficiency, the latter conveys its necessity for the consequent proposition to come true. Both connectives will be treated as pairing an exclusive particle, zhi, with a modal, an assumption that is less controversial for the necessity modal yao than for you, which will be treated as a possibility modal. Accepting this treatment, however, we have two connectives that openly differ in modal force. While the surface order will be preserved for zhi-you, an inversion will be shown to lead to better results for zhi-yao. In both cases, a possible extension to monoclausal uses is considered.
This paper reconsiders the syntax of Multiple Scrambling in Japanese taking its prosodic patterns into consideration. Specifically, the paper examines cases of Multiple Scrambling in which scrambled phrases form a phonological unit and cases in which they do not. The first part of the paper aims to show that each of these prosodic possibilities has distinct syntactic properties and hence is associated with different syntactic structures. After establishing that there are two types of Multiple Scrambling, the second part of the paper identifies the underlying syntax for these. It is argued that multiple applications of single scrambling underlie the prosody in which scrambled phrases belong to separate phonological units, whereas VP-movement, as originally proposed by Koizumi (J East Asian Linguist 9:227–285, 2000), leads to the prosody in which scrambled phrases are phrased phonologically together. The paper shows that the VP-movement approach accounts for various properties of Multiple Scrambling with the prosody in question when furnished with the ideas of remnant movement and an articulated VP-structure which leads to the possibility of VP-movement as well as vP-movement. It is also shown that the proposed VP-fronting analysis has broader empirical coverage than alternative approaches.
This article motivates and develops a compositional account for bare noun incorporation (BNI) constructions in Mandarin Chinese. Mandarin BNI constructions, taking the form of V-O compounds, exhibit a constellation of properties (e.g., obligatory narrow scope, institutionalized meaning, reduced discourse capacity, restricted modification of incorporated nominals, etc.) which are typically associated with (pseudo-)incorporated structures in other languages. However, unlike other attested (pseudo-)incorporated structures, which are mostly verbal in nature, BNI constructions can be freely used as arguments, akin to nominalized expressions. Integrating the analytical insights from both the advances in the theories of kinds (Chierchia in Nat Lang Semant 6: 339–405, 1998; Gehrke in Nat Lang Linguist Theory 33: 897–938, 2015) and in the theories of incorporation (Dayal in Nat Lang Linguist Theory 29: 123–167, 2011; Schwarzs in Weak referentiality, John Benjamins, 2014), the article proposes an event kind-based analysis by treating BNI constructions as expressions of Chierchia-style kinds in the domain of events, where the (proto-typical) theme arguments instantiating the bare noun complements form part of the event kinds rather than function as independent semantic arguments to the verbs. Extending the notion of kinds from the domain of individuals to the domain of events has not only provided a motivated account of the paradoxical properties of BNI constructions which would otherwise defy formal treatment, but also bridged two lines of research previously thought to be independent of each other, viz. the semantics of kinds which are mostly confined to the domain of individuals and the semantics of events which are mostly confined to canonical verbal expressions.
The TSM u N construction adopts the possessive morphosyntactic strategy of gradable predication to construct a gradable predicate headed by the possessive verb u ‘have’. The possessive verb u ‘have’ inside, in addition to retaining its possessive meaning, introduces a functional projection (i.e., MeasP) headed by Meas, which denotes a measure function measuring the denotation of the N component along the dimension of cardinality or quantity. Depending on whether the N component is an abstract noun or a non-abstract noun, the measure scale associated with the gradable u N predicate can be an interval one or a ratio one. This study has the following implications. First, many languages might use the possessive or existential verb to construct a gradable possessive verbal predicate; however, they might differ from each other in the semantic function the possessive or existential verb plays. Second, a TSM PC nominal does not denote a scale resulting from the total preorder ≤. Third, a TSM gradable adjective is lexically specified with a scale.
This paper explores two types of plurals and their co-occurrence relationships with numeral classifiers in Korean. It proposes a split-head plural analysis, namely, a group plural marked with -huy or -ney as the realization of an n head and a sum plural with -tul as the realization of a Cl head that subsequently head-raises to a Num head. Moreover, potential ambiguous structures for numeral classifiers are proposed, merging as either syntactic heads or modifiers. Provisioned with the analyses, the full paradigm of Korean plurals regarding permissions or restrictions on co-occurrences with numeral classifiers can successfully be accounted for, while the same is not true for the alternative modifying plural analysis.
Structure of bǐ comparative
Structure of transitive comparative
The epistemic use of the modal element yào in Mandarin Chinese comes with typologically rare properties. First and foremost, epistemic yào is restricted to occur in explicit strict comparative constructions and is disallowed in other degree constructions or non-degree constructions. No modals have been documented in prior literature of Chinese linguistics or general linguistics to manifest such a restrictive distribution. Second, epistemic yào manifests flexibility with respect to where it can appear in certain explicit strict comparative constructions, and it allows multiple occurrences in certain contexts. Third, epistemic yào carries a quantificational force stronger than that of existential modals, yet weaker than that of strong necessity modals. I propose that epistemic yào is an adjunct modifier for strict comparative morphemes, thus setting it apart from epistemic modals that take propositions as their arguments. The weak necessity quantificational force of epistemic yào is encoded in its semantics by making recourse to alternative modal bases, which represents an innovative approach to capturing weak necessity. Through investigating epistemic yào, I hope to bring to the forefront some hitherto unnoticed interesting properties in natural language modality and reveal new intra- and inter-linguistic variations in the distribution and interpretation of modal elements.
Unlike typical wh-questions, why-questions are known to be focus-sensitive, but the linguistic realization of their focus sensitivity shows an unexpected pattern in Japanese. The phrase that immediately follows a causal wh-phrase can be considered as the focus associate without any focal prominence. This prosodic pattern contradicts the generally accepted view that a focused phrase invariably receives focal prominence (pitch boost) in Japanese. The paper presents an analysis based on focus movement for this surprising prosodic pattern. We characterize the focus sensitivity of a why-question as an association-with-focus effect with the silent focus exhaustivity operator. The adjacency of a causal wh-phrase and the focus associate is a result of the focus movement to the operator position, which mimics the focus movement proposed by some of the advocates of focus association by movement (Krifka in The Architecture of Focus 82:105, 2006; Wagner in Natural Language Semantics 14(4):297-324, 2006; as reported by Erlewine (Movement out of focus, 2014)). We argue that the adjacency strategy, which places a focus associate immediately after why, is a syntactic manifestation of association with focus, and that this structural disambiguation makes prosodic marking unnecessary. The proposal brings a functional perspective to the syntax–semantics–prosody correspondence in such a way that a focus-marked phrase does not automatically lead to prosodic prominence and the phonological interpretation of focus is influenced by the consideration of usefulness.
This paper shows that adverbial particles are divided into the “strong” and “weak” types depending on how they behave in the context of argument ellipsis. In the argument ellipsis construction, the strong type of adverbial particle (dake ‘only’) does not allow a null argument to include its adverbial meaning, while the weak type of adverbial particle (sae ‘even’) allows a null argument to include the adverbial meaning optionally. We argue that the adverbial particle dake ‘only’ (which belongs to the strong type) projects to its maximal projection taking its host DP as a complement after QR, while the particle sae ‘even’ (belonging to the weak type) is adjoined to its host DP by QR without projecting any further. The divergence in the behavior of adverbial particles can be accounted for only if null arguments are interpreted with reference to the LF structures of their antecedent arguments. The data regarding the two types of adverbial particles provide substantial evidence that allows us to choose the LF copying analysis over the other alternative syntactic analyses.
Studies of word-level meaning-sound systematicity in English and four other European languages have shown that words that sound similar tend to have similar meanings. We explore such systematicity in a typologically distinct language, Korean. We find a relatively high level of systematicity, which we attribute to the methodological requirements of studying systematicity in Korean. We captured word meaning in terms of Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) based on eo-jeols—sequences of syllable-blocks bounded by spaces in an internet corpus. Eo-jeols embody a psychologically realistic spectrum of linguistic structure and influence, compared with previous purely lexically based studies of systematicity. Systematicity was pervasive in our sample of the Korean lexicon—partitioned by word frequency, etymological origin, syllabic constituents (onset, vowel, coda, rhyme), syntactic categories, homonyms, onomatopoeia, and loanwords—suggesting a fundamental basis for systematicity. We explain meaning-sound systematicity in terms of related degrees of cognitive effort in speaking and listening.
This paper presents the first detailed study of pronouncing multiple wh-pronouns within the same dependency in Mon (Mon-Khmer). I argue the data involve movement, and thus a wh-copying construction: multiple wh-copies can be pronounced, either in full pronoun form or in a reduced pronoun form—and I propose reduction occurs via m-merger (Harizanov in Nat Lang Linguist Theory 32:1033–1088, 2014). This supports the view (McCloskey in Everaert, van Riemsdijk (eds) The Blackwell companion to syntax, Blackwell, Oxford 94–117, 2006) that resumptive pronouns can be the pronunciation of structurally reduced copies. Interestingly, the distribution of full and reduced copies is highly free, although there is a puzzling restriction on where reduced copies can appear, which is analyzed with a context-sensitive constraint that is subject to Richards’s (Linguist Inq 29:599–629, 1998) Principle of Minimal Compliance. This relatively free, though constrained, distribution is novel, and is challenging for prominent approaches to copy-chain realization. For example, the linearization-based approach of Nunes (Linearization of chains and sideward movement, MIT Press, Cambridge, 2004) struggles to account for this restriction, and though I follow the economy-based approach of Van Urk (Nat Lang Linguist Theory 36:937–990, 2018) in having the syntax specify which copies end up pronounced, I show that economy does not drive copy reduction in the data here.
Previous studies have shown that the occurrence of a phonological contrast may be influenced by its phonetic contexts such that the same consonantal contrast is allowed in one vowel context but avoided in another. For sibilants, one observed tendency is the avoidance of their place contrasts in a phonetic [_i] context, e.g., a [si-ɕi-ʂi] contrast is absent in Mandarin Chinese, although the same sibilant place contrast is allowed in other vowel contexts. This tendency is examined across Chinese dialects with diverse sibilant inventories, testing its validity in dialects with a three-way versus two-way place distinction, in different manners of articulation, and in voiceless versus voiced sibilants. The results of the typological survey show that (i) the tendency to avoid sibilant place contrasts in the [_i] context exists in the dialects with a three-way and two-way place distinction alike, confirming the observation in previous studies, and (ii) for such a tendency, affricates generally behave like their fricative counterparts and voiced sibilants have the same pattern as voiceless ones. Analyses based on the results indicate that this typological pattern is likely to be influenced by both perceptual and articulatory factors.
This paper provides cross-linguistic support for a bipartite analysis of ‘only’ (Bayer in Directionality and logical form: on the scope of focusing particles and Wh-in-situ, Springer, Dordrecht 1996; Kayne in Syntax 1:128–191, 1998; Lee in Nat Lang Semant 13:169–200, 2005; Horvath in: Simin et al. (eds) Phrasal and clausal architecture: syntactic derivation and interpretation, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 2007; Barbiers in Linguistic variation in the minimalist framework, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2014; Quek and Aron, in: Lamont and Tetzloff (eds) Proceedings of NELS 47, University of Massachusetts, Graduate Linguistic Student Association, Amherst, 2017) by showing that it can be extended to account for all the properties of a focus particle—zhiyou ‘only’ in Mandarin Chinese. It proposes that zhiyou spells out one of the heads within a bipartite structure of ‘only’ and the other covert head that co-occurs with it on the clausal spine determines the semantic scope of ‘only’. The current proposal improves on a previous version of bipartite analysis (Hole in J East Asian Linguist 26:389–409, 2017: A crosslinguistic syntax of scalar and non-scalar focus particle sentences: the view from Vietnamese and Chinese) by discarding the view that zhiyou and the particle cai form a Spec-Head relation, which enables us to cover a wider range of empirical data. Instead, the paper identifies the adverbial zhi ‘only’ as a possible candidate that overtly realizes the Foc head, and supports the bipartite analysis based on the cross-linguistic parallel between Mandarin and Vietnamese, which share a similar inventory of ONLY-related particles.
Mandarin universal terms such as mei-NPs in preverbal positions usually require the presence of dou ‘all/even’. This motivates the widely accepted idea from Lin (Nat Lang Semant 6:201–243, 1998) that Mandarin does not have genuine distributive universal quantifiers, and mei-NPs are disguised plural definites, which thus need dou—a distributive operator (or an adverbial universal quantifier in Lee (Studies on Quantification in Chinese. Ph. D. thesis, UCLA), Pan (in: Yufa Yanjiu Yu Tansuo [Grammatical Study and Research], vol 13, pp 163-184. The Commercial Press)—to form a universal statement. This paper defends the opposite view that mei-NPs are true universal quantifiers while dou is not. Dou is truth-conditionally vacuous but carries a presupposition that its prejacent is the strongest among its alternatives (Liu in Linguist Philos 40(1):61–95, 2017b). The extra presupposition triggers Maximize Presupposition (Heim in: Semantik: Ein internationales Handbuch der zeitgenssischen Forschung, pp 487-535. de Gruyter, Berlin, 1991), which requires [dou S] block [S] whenever dou’s presupposition is satisfied. This explains the mei-dou co-occurrence, if mei-NPs are universal quantifiers normally triggering individual alternatives (thus stronger than all the other alternatives). The proposal predicts a more nuanced distribution of obligatory-dou, not limited to universals and sensitive to discourse contexts.
The present paper argues that ECM subjects undergo A-movement to Spec of ForceP in the subordinate clause, but not to the matrix object position, in Japanese ECM constructions where a complementizer is required for the embedded clause. ECM subjects are argued to move to Spec of ForceP, accessible to the matrix predicate, while a topic fills the lower TopP. It is suggested that an ECM subject appears in ForceP on the grounds that it enters into ϕ-feature agreement with the Force head, and that the Case feature of the ECM subject is valued as accusative by the matrix verb. It is further shown that when a major subject construction, where both major subject and thematic subject are marked with nominative case, is embedded under the ECM verb, the major subject rather than the thematic subject of the embedded predicate is raised to Spec of ForceP to serve as an ECM argument.
This squib argues against Yiwen Zhang's (2020 JEAL 29: 393-434) adjective analysis of the Mandarin word you 'have' to the left of a gradable noun, as in you yongqi 'have courage', showing that it is a verbal element. It also shows that for a gradable predicate of any category, if the question under discussion is to compare individuals with respect to a gradable property, the degree word hen 'very' is banned; if the question under discussion is to deliver the content of a gradable property of an individual, hen must occur; and finally, if the question under discussion is neither of the two above, hen is optional.
The recent armed conflicts in the South Caucasus leaving aside the issue of winners and losers, vividly demonstrate the need to weigh the lessons (and implications) that derived from these conflicts to avoid the new ones. The majority of indigenous and foreign experts have concentrated on military lessons of the conflict, on the one hand, and geopolitical, economic informational-ideological aspects, on the other. A few writings consider the war and its consequences in the conflict-prevention realm. The absence of the conflict prevention tools and the absence of the conflict analysis framework significantly contributed to the unleashing of ethnic-territorial conflicts in the South Caucasus in the 1990s. The necessity of more substantial integration of conflict prevention tools in the policy documents of the South Caucasian states is more than clear in the backdrop of the recent developments in the region and around.
This paper investigates the various properties of the so-called Korean Left-Node Raising (LNR) construction, including its interpretation when a summative or symmetrical predicate occurs at the left periphery. While previous authors (Nakao in Proceedings of the 33rd annual Penn Linguistics Colloquium, University of Pennsylvania working papers in Linguistics, vol 16, pp 156–165, 2010; Chung in Stud Gener Gramm 20:549–576, 2010; Park and Lee in Stud Gener Gramm 19:505–528, 2009) focused on the syntactic connection between a coordinate phrase and its shared element at the left periphery, the exact compositional mechanism for the interpretation of the LNR construction has remained unaddressed in the literature. Building on the previous authors’ claim regarding the parallels between the so-called ‘respective’ reading and the RNR construction in Korean and English (Park and Lee, 2009; Chaves in J Linguist 48(2):297–344, 2012; Kubota and Levine in Nat Lang Linguist Theory 34(3):911–973, 2016b), I compositionally analyze the interpretation of the Korean LNR construction in terms of a pairwise predication within the framework of Hybrid Type-Logical Categorial Grammar (Kubota in (In)flexibility of Constituency in Japanese in Multi-Modal Categorial Grammar with Structured Phonology, 2010; Kubota in Nat Lang Linguist Theory 32:1145–1204, 2014; Kubota in Linguist Inq 46:1–42, 2015; Kubota and Levine in OSU working papers in Linguistics, vol 60, Department of Linguistics, Ohio State University, pp 21–50, 2013; Kubota and Levine in Nat Lang Linguist Theory 34(1):107–156, 2016a; Kubota and Levine in Type-Logical Syntax, The MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2020). I argue that the proposed analysis straightforwardly captures not only the interpretation of the Korean LNR construction with summative/symmetrical predicates, but also the other properties such as occurrence of the plural marker -tul, case-matching patterns, long-distance dependency, and island insensitivity.
This paper proposes that morphological causatives in Korean are formed through the causative head, Caus(e), selecting for an element of category Voice as its complement. Under the proposed view, various properties of the causative in Korean are examined and accounted for. Specifically, it is claimed that the limited productivity of morphological causatives and the ungrammaticality of morphological double causatives in Korean are due to the listedness of the causative allomorphs, and that the mono-predicational properties of the causative with respect to coordination and the scope of a degree adverb are attributed to the coordinate structure constraint and an adverb hierarchy, respectively. It is also shown that the bi-predicational properties of the causative with respect to the Condition B effect as well as the scopes of a manner adverb and the adverbial for ‘again’ can be successfully captured under the proposed approach. The discussion shows that the causative alternation in Korean can be best analyzed when it is viewed to be due to causativization that takes place in the syntax, which may extend to the causative alternation in other languages.
This paper investigates asymmetries in doubling among verbs, objects and subjects in Cantonese. It is shown that each of these elements has a distinct doubling profile in topic constructions and right dislocation: doubling is sometimes prohibited, required or optional. Couched in terms of the copy theory of movement, I suggest that the operation responsible for erasing copies in a movement chain is regulated by phonological requirements that follow from a version of cyclic linearization. Particularly, I propose that the copy-erasing operation can be suspended as a last resort in cases where its application would otherwise violate phonological requirements imposed by cyclic linearization. The differences in doubling possibility among verbs, objects and subjects follow from the availability of the edge position of a phase to these elements. The proposal derives the Cantonese doubling pattern without recourse to the phrase-structural status of the (non-)doubling elements and maintains that the mechanism that determines copy pronunciation is the same for heads and phrases. I take this as a further piece of evidence for the unification of head and phrasal movement, resonating with much recent work on this topic.
Contradictory antonyms
Safe zone
Morphological competition
Negative strengthening of shenme
The insignificance reading of the wh-phrase shenme ‘what’ does not fit into the general analysis of Chinese wh-indefinites as polarity sensitive items and has been elusive to Chinese linguists. In this paper, we identify the degree reading of shenme as the source of its insignificance reading. Specifically, it is shown that the so-called insignificance reading is part of a more general phenomenon of negative strengthening that is not peculiar to shenme, but instead is common to all gradable degree expressions. Diachronic evidence in Chinese is given to support the existence of a degree-reading shenme, apart from the familiar entity-reading shenme. The proposed analysis is extendable to the manner-denoting zenme(yang) ‘how’ in Chinese and makes correct predictions on the availability of an insignificance reading for zenme(yang).
A correction to this paper has been published:
This paper examines a special progressive marker təʔ in Dalad Chinese, which can appear either in the postverbal position or in the post VP position, corresponding to cumulative reading and collective reading respectively. Drawing on the spirit of constructivist approaches to argument structure, especially Borer (2005a, 2005b), we propose a functional structure of events that involves a Quan(tity)P above vP, which pluralises the event denoted by vP, giving rise to the cumulative reading. Following Biberauer’s (2017b) ‘acategorial-particle hypothesis’, we provide an account for the positions of təʔ and explaine why the Final-over-Final-Condition (FOFC) (Holmberg 2000; Biberauer et al. 2014; Sheehan et al. 2017) is not violated. We argue that təʔ is an acategorial particle that lacks formal feature, only bearing a semantic feature denoting progressive aspectual information. When the event structure involves only a single event, təʔ is adjoined to vP, and is placed in the vP final position due to its acategorial status: not being a head in the extended projection, it has to be placed in the final position in order to be consistent with head-initiality in Dalad Chinese. When QuanP is projected, təʔ cannot be adjoined to the QuanP: being an acategorial particle, it cannot see into QuanP, hence not able to Agree with the verbal head. In order to provide its progressive aspectual information, təʔ is adjoined to the verb as a last resort. This analysis explains the correlation between the postverbal position of təʔ and the cumulative reading, and is extended to the account of other issues such as the quantity restriction on the object and the exclusion of the negator in the V-təʔ construction.
This paper proposes a syntactic analysis of the complex phenomenon of pronominal object fronting in negated clauses in Late Archaic Chinese (LAC). I first propose that partitive case is assigned to objects in LAC negated clauses, accounting for the fact that only pronouns in LAC undergo fronting, since they have a person feature and cannot be licensed by a defective case like partitive. I next identify the structural constraints accounting for when pronouns do and do not front in LAC negated clauses. In the context of the sentential negator 不 bù, only pronouns base generated in the verb’s complement position undergo fronting. I propose that the dislocation is head movement to the phase head v. This accounts for the large number of cases in which pronoun fronting fails to take place in the context of 不 bù. In contrast, pronouns nearly always front to the negative quantifier 莫 mò and the aspectual negator 未 wèi. I show that this is because these negators occupy higher structural positions, which allows phrasal movement over a greater distance. I further show how the discrepancy between the two positions for negation is the result of diachronic change. 不 bù historically exhibited the same behavior as the other negators but came to occupy a lower position in the LAC period, which in turn resulted in the more local relationship between 不 bù and the base position of the pronominal object in LAC.
As an exception to Krifka’s (in: Bartsch, Benthem, Emde Boas,Semantics and contextual expression, CSLI Publications, Stanford, 1989) famous generalization that a quantized incremental theme always induces an event-homomorphic completive reading, Singh (Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society 17(1): 469–479, 1991, Journal of East Asian Linguistics 3(2): 107–146, 1998) observes that in Hindi only quantized mass noun phrases entail a completive reading, but unexpectedly quantized count noun phrases can give rise to an incompletive reading. She proposes that count nouns can introduce a partial-affectedness thematic relation, whereas mass nouns introduce a total-affectedness thematic relation. With new data in Mandarin, instead of the count/mass distinction, I argue that referentiality of the direct object is a crucial factor, because incompletive readings are only felicitous with direct objects interpreted referentially for consumption verbs in Mandarin.
This paper investigates two puzzles regarding property concept (PC) lexemes (Dixon in Where have all the adjectives gone? And other essays in semantics and syntax. Mouton, The Hague, 1982) in Mandarin: why degree modifiers such as hen ‘very’ are compatible with gradable adjectives such as gao ‘tall’ as well as PC nominals such as zhihui ‘wisdom’, but not with concrete mass nouns such as shui ‘water’ in simple declarative clauses, and why degree modifiers are obligatory to block comparative interpretation in sentences with gradable adjectives and possessive PC nominal phrases. I demonstrate the data of PC nominals in possessive constructions with positive and comparative interpretations. Following Francez and Koontz-Garboden (Semantics and morphosyntactic variation: qualities and the grammar of property concepts. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2017), I argue that PC nominals and other mass nouns in Mandarin are semantically distinct in such a way that the latter lack inherent measures. Furthermore, I argue that gradable adjectives and possessive PC nominal phrases are model-theoretically equivalent. Moreover, I propose that degree modifiers such as hen are compulsory to block comparative interpretations in PC sentences because possessive PC phrases are Adjective Phrases and require an overt degree modifier or a covert comparative operator to satisfy the T[+ V] constraint in Mandarin proposed by Grano (Nat Lang Linguist Theory 30:513–565, 2012).
This paper analyzes the Mandarin counterpart of a German construction that is initiated with a [degree+determiner] cluster, such as total die Party 'a total party'. It shows that the Deg-to-D head movement in German is also seen in the Mandarin hao+yi+ge construction. Moreover, it argues that in Mandarin, the head cluster moves further out of the DP, explaining why the construction rejects an overt copula and why it is used as a predicate exclusively. Furthermore, it identifies the null subject of the construction in Mandarin, which is exclamative, as a new type of obligatorily silent subject, parallel to the type of null subject that is found in imperatives and exhortatives.
In this paper, I examine a novel type of comparative construction in Korean, namely, reduced NP comparatives (RNC), and consider its implications. On the surface, RNC may appear to be a case of the usual NP comparative construction in that two NPs are involved. But, unlike typical NP comparatives, the element bearing the marker of the standard of comparison in RNC does not directly participate in the comparison, i.e., there is a mismatch between the standard and pivot. I argue this is due to the fact that the standard is reduced to leave only the pivot on the surface, hence the name “reduced” NP comparatives. I also argue that one of the factors that determines the availability of RNC is the notion of comparability, which is based on whether or not the compared elements can be associated with the same scale, where the scale is part of the semantics of the gradable predicate (Cf. Kennedy 2009). The interesting twist is that RNC is possible only if the relevant elements are not comparable with each other, i.e., they should denote different types of objects that cannot be associated with the same scale. Adopting Merchant’s (The syntax of silence: sluicing, islands, and the theory of ellipsis. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001, Linguist Philos 27:661–738, 2004, J Greek Linguist 9:134–164, 2009, among others) move-and-delete approach to various ellipsis constructions, I propose a move-and-delete analysis of RNC, where the pivot undergoes movement, followed by deletion of the rest of the standard. The discussion also has implications for NP-ellipsis in Korean.
Different factors have been claimed to affect the choice of repair on English words with ill-formed Cantonese phonotactics in Cantonese loanword phonology. The first half of this paper presents experimental evidence showing that variation is observed only when repairing different onset cluster types: there is vowel epenthesis for s + consonant (sC) clusters but deletion of the second consonant for other (OR) clusters. I propose that the Syllable Mapping Grammar (SMG), the syllable structure mapping component of the perception grammar, drives such variation: Cantonese speakers assign different phonological representations based on cluster well-formedness. When they perceive words with an sC cluster, their SMG assigns [s] as syllabic. A full OT grammar is also provided. I present evidence for the knowledge of cluster well-formedness from speakers of languages like Cantonese where complex onsets are absent. Potential sources of such knowledge and other alternatives to my proposal are also discussed.
In this paper, I make critical use of certain word order and semantic properties of ditransitive expressions to develop an argument for the LF-copy theory of argument ellipsis (Oku in A theory of selection and reconstruction in the minimalist perspective, University of Connecticut, Storrs, 1998; Saito in Lang Res 43:203–222, 2007; in: Shibatani, Miyagawa, and Noda (eds) Handbook of Japanese syntax, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, 2017; Sakamoto in J East Asian Linguist 25:243–274, 2016; Escape from silent syntax, University of Connecticut, Storrs, 2017). Firstly, I summarize and extend Sakamoto’s (in: Paper presented at the 148th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of Japan, Hosei University, Tokyo, 2014; 2016; 2017) argument based on rigid ditransitive idioms and show that the possible ellipsis of a non-idiomatic argument to the exclusion of the idiom chunks and the ditransitive verb is best accounted for in terms of argument ellipsis. Secondly, I point out a hitherto unnoticed observation, that no internal constituent within ditransitive figurative expressions may undergo ellipsis without losing a non-literal, metaphorical interpretation associated with its containing VP, and I demonstrate how this observation presents critical evidence in favor of the LF-copy theory of argument ellipsis over its competing PF-deletion alternative.
The informal judgments of the well-formedness of phrases and sentences have long been used as the primary data source for syntacticians. In recent years, the reliability of data based on linguists’ introspective intuitions is increasingly subject to scrutiny. Although a number of studies were able to replicate a vast majority of English judgments published in a textbook and in peer-reviewed journal articles, the status of data in many non-English languages has yet to be experimentally examined. In this work, we employed formal quantitative methods to evaluate the reliability of judgments in the widely used textbook, The Syntax of Chinese (Huang, Li, & Li, 2009). We first assessed example sentences based on the acceptability ratings from 148 native Mandarin Chinese speakers. Using a target forced-choice task, we further explored the potentially problematic sentence pairs. Results of the two experiments suggest an eminently successful replication of judgments in the book: out of the 557 data samples tested, only five sentence pairs require further investigation. This large-scale study represents the first attempt to replicate the judgments in a non-English syntax textbook, in hopes to bridge the gap between the informal data-collection in Chinese linguistic research and the protocols of experimental cognitive science.
Summary of the statistical analysis on the response accuracy data
Summary of the statistical analysis on the response time data
The mean response accuracy rates for each condition. The error bars indicate standard errors of the mean
The mean response time (ms) for each condition. The error bars indicate standard errors of the mean
Syntactic properties such as word orders are a major factor determining the difficulty of a sentence. In SO-type languages where the subject (S) precedes the object (O) in canonical word order, there is clear evidence that the SO word order is preferred over the OS word order. We investigate to what extent this SO bias is maintained even in typologically diverse languages like Truku, an Austronesian language, in which the Verb-Object-Subject (VOS) word order is canonical and a syntactically basic structure, and SVO is the derived word order and a syntactically more complex structure. It is important to investigate word order preferences in Truku because such inquiries allow us to determine to what extent these widely observed processing preferences are grounded in properties of the linguistic system and/or somewhat more general human cognitive properties. The syntactic complexity account predicts that, in Truku, the derived SVO word order should be more costly, while the saliency account predicts that the word orders in which an agent precedes a theme is preferred. Our auditory comprehension experiment showed that the OS word order was preferred by native speakers of Truku. This indicates that the often-observed SO preference is not a universal feature of language. Furthermore, the lack of a clear indication of the agent-before-theme preference suggests a correlation between the voice property of a given language and the importance of the saliency factor.
This study shows how what has been originally ascribed to the ‘lexicon’ is ‘distributed’ among different components of syntax and how degrees are compositionally introduced across categories by investigating the syntax and semantics of the Taiwanese Mandarin X hěn dà construction. In this construction, degrees are compositionally introduced by the literally vacuous adjective dà ‘DA’, which contributes a structure-preserving map from entities, events or states to their measures along various dimensions (Wellwood in Linguist Philos 38(1):67–101, 2015). Syntactically, the constituent hěn dà ‘HEN DA’ functions to be predicated of the root of the X component at the root-level, and the root later must move into the corresponding light head position to be categorically defined.
The embodied cognition hypothesis postulates that human cognition is fundamentally grounded in our experience of interacting with the physical world (Barsalou in Behav Brain Sci 22:577–609, 1999). Research has shown bi-directional associations between physical action and the processes of understanding language: language comprehension seems to activate implied visual and motor components (Zwaan and Taylor in J Exp Psychol Gen 135(1):1–11, 2006), and action behavior seems to facilitate the comprehension of associated action-language (Beilock et al. in Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:13269–13273, 2008). Although numerous research studies have reported a link between action and language comprehension, the exact nature of their association remains subject to debate (Chatterjee in Lang Cognit 2:79–116, 2010). Moreover, the role of action in the production of language is under-explored, as are general language production processes in Austronesian languages. The endangered Austronesian language Truku provides typological patterns that are both under-examined in psycholinguistic research and informative for questions of language production. Truku allows flexibility in the relative location of verbs versus arguments in sentence production, and uses a symmetrical voice system that marks the prominence of different participants in an event. Working with native speakers of Truku, we tested whether performing physical motions immediately affects the conceptual saliency of the components represented in a to-be-described event in ways that guide speakers’ visual attention and shape their utterance formulation. More specifically, we investigated whether speakers’ engagement as an agent or patient in a non-speech physical action affects initial eye-fixations on agent versus patient participants in a visual scene, as well as word order and grammatical voice choices in the speakers’ descriptions of simple transitive events. The results revealed significant effects of physical action on the relative location and prominence of agents in subsequent sentence formulation, and on online patterns of eye fixations. These results provide further support for language-action connections in cognitive processing, and shed light on the cross-linguistic patterns of sentence production.
A VP, AP, or NP in a predicate can undergo a clause-internal movement in Mandarin Chinese (e.g., Ta yao mai shu qu 'He wants to buy books', Ta shou de hen 'He is very thin', and Ta shi bendan yi ge 'He is a fool'). The moving element must be predicative, and the landing site must be lower than any functional element in the IP-domain of the clause. The paper shows that there is a formal dependency between a low functional head and the predicate in the clausal spine. The exponents of the functional head for stative predicates are different from those for non-stative predicates, and the predicative category that is attracted by the functional head carries a stativity feature. Similar predicate raising can be obligatory and can land above a subject if the latter remains in situ in some languages. Moreover, the stativity contrasts of predicates are morphologically visible in some languages. The paper severs the syntactic licensing of predicates from the syntactic licensing of other parts of a clause, arguing that while subjects need their formal features such as Case to be licensed, predicates need their stativity feature to be licensed. In both cases, licensing of an element can be achieved by either its relation to a local c-commanding functional head or the movement of an element that bears the relevant feature to the Spec of the functional head.
The Korean VP anaphor (VPA) kuleha or kulay ‘do so’ has often been argued to involve ellipsis of an articulated VP structure, which is replaced with the surface form at PF (e.g., Cho in Lang Res 32:621–636, 1996; Ha in Korean J Linguist 35:471–487, 2010; Park in Linguist Res 32:693–718, 2015). In this paper, we present empirical data that does not support such a characterization, obtained from two experimental studies designed to diagnose the presence of “hidden” syntactic structure. In Experiment 1, building upon Kim and Han’s (in: Grosz, Patel-Grosz (eds) The impact of pronominal form on interpretation. Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, pp 349–373, 2016) finding that quantificational binding of the Korean pronoun ku ‘he’ is subject to inter-speaker variation, we conducted a truth-value judgment task experiment to examine the (un)acceptability of sloppy identity interpretation in the VPA construction. If the VPA is indeed derived from the deletion of an articulated VP, and thus has an unpronounced internal structure to house ku, the distributions of the sloppy reading of ku and the quantificational binding of ku should be correlated across the sampled population; however, such a pattern was not found. In Experiment 2, we conducted a Likert scale rating experiment testing whether extraction out of the VPA site is possible. If the VPA is an instance of ellipsis, extraction from the VPA site should be possible since there would be a syntactic structure that hosts an extractable constituent. This prediction, however, was not confirmed. On the basis of these empirical findings, we argue that Korean VP anaphora are base-generated pro-forms (Bae and Kim in Stud Mod Gramm 70:49–71, 2012; Park in Stud Mod Gramm 72:41–66, 2013), and retrieve their semantic values from the context through interpretive rules (Hoji in Linguist Inq 29:127–152, 1998; Hoji, in: Barss (ed) Anaphora: a reference guide. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, pp 172–236, 2003), as in the case of pronominal resolution.
Locations of some Atayal dialects/varieties
This paper documents and analyzes the alternations between glides and fricatives in Atayal, an endangered Austronesian language spoken in northern Taiwan. Distributional gaps and morphophonological alternations suggest that onset glides in the Jianshi variety of Squliq Atayal do not appear before a schwa or a homorganic vowel. The paper argues that the restrictions on onset glides are motivated by the needs to achieve an optimal sonority profile within a syllable and to avoid homorganic glide-vowel sequences. In the proposed OT account, sonority dispersion and similarity avoidance are formalized as separate constraints, which is supported by the attested typology across Atayal dialects. The strengthening data justify the placement of schwa lower in the sonority hierarchy than high vowels, and the adopted conjoined constraints further suggest that sonority-based co-occurrence restrictions are not necessarily restricted to syllable margins (cf. Steriade in Language 64:118–129, 1988a). The paper also shows that (1) the behavior of j and w is asymmetrical in some dialects, with w combining more freely with the following nucleus vowel than j does; and (2) Atayal phonemic /w/ primarily alternates with velar [ɣ], which is peculiar among Formosan languages. The fact that Atayal consonantal w strengthens to velar [ɣ] instead of a labial falsifies the feature theories in which /w/ is characterized only by the [Labial] articulator (Halle et al. in Linguist Inq 31:387–444, 2000; Halle in Linguist Inq 36: 23–41, 2005; Levi in The representation of underlying glides: a cross-linguistic study, 2004; Lingua 118:1956–1978, 2008).
It is argued in this paper that a sentence should consist of at least three layers, namely proposition, grounding, and response, which are formed by a number of functional categories, such as Event, Temp, Focus, Degree, and CoA. A cartographic analysis of the performative projections can be supported by the data of the sentence-final particles in Cantonese, focusing on the sentence-final particle ho and other members of the h-family, which may allow us to have a better understanding of the syntax of the speech act domain and should have implications for the cross-linguistic study of the performatives and the theory of the Universal Grammar.
This paper proposes an analysis of VP fronting in the VOS Austronesian language Seediq in the theory of Labeling. In the same vein as Massam (Nat Lang Linguist Theory 19:153–197, 2001), I propose that verb-initial word order results at least in part from fronting the verb and object together in the VP when the object is indefinite and nonspecific, but the object vacates the VP when it is specific or definite in order to value case. Following this, either verbal head movement or remnant VP fronting takes place. However, I depart from Massam’s approach when it comes to the motivation for VP fronting. First, I argue that VP movement does not target [Spec, TP] but rather moves no higher than the edge of the clause-medial phase. Consequently, the motivation cannot be satisfaction of the EPP, as Massam claims. Secondly, I show that whether verb-initial word order is obtained through verbal head movement or phrasal VP fronting is a consequence of Labeling. In particular, I go beyond Massam’s approach and account for the fact that when the VP contains more than one internal argument, one of them must move to the case-checking position and the other must be pied-piped with the verb to the phase edge. Otherwise, it will not be possible to label the original VP.
This paper is a study of Japanese and Sinhala wh-questions, both of which employ a special particle called a Q-particle, ka in Japanese and də in Sinhala, forming QP. A Q-particle is normally base-generated adjacent to a wh-phrase or at the edge of an island when a wh-phrase is inside. However, under very restricted circumstances, a Q-particle can merge with TP, and the whole TP can be pied-piped to spec of CP. An information-seeking wh-question normally represents a set of unvalued propositions (i.e. Hamblin set); however, we claim there are cases in which a set of true propositions (i.e. Karttunen set) can be the meaning of an information-seeking wh-question, and this happens when TP pied-piping is applied. Each circumstance in which such pied-piping is possible is carefully analyzed.
In many languages with subject-before-object as a syntactically basic word order, transitive sentences in which the subject precedes the object have been reported to have a processing advantage over those in which the subject follows the object in sentence comprehension. Three sources can be considered to account for this advantage, namely, syntactic complexity (filler-gap dependency), conceptual accessibility (the order of thematic roles), and pragmatic requirement. To examine the effect of these factors on the processing of simple transitive sentences, the present study conducted two event-related potential experiments in Seediq, an Austronesian language spoken in Taiwan, by manipulating word orders (basic VOS vs. non-basic SVO), the order of thematic roles (actor vs. goal voice), and discourse factors (presence/absence of visual context). The results showed that, compared to VOS, SVO incurred a greater processing load (reflected by a P600) when there was no supportive context, irrespective of voice alternation; however, SVO did not incur a greater processing load when there was supportive context and the discourse requirement was satisfied. We interpreted these results as evidence that the processing difficulty of the non-basic word order in Seediq is associated with a discourse-level processing difficulty.
The multimodal perception and production of speech production have gained a lot of attention as a result of various studies in the 1990s up to now. Although there are discussions about the importance of the role of different perceptual systems in speech production, there is agreement over the facilitating role of vision in speech. This experimental study examines the impact of congenital visual deprivation on the production of Persian voiced stop consonants as well as the patients’ compensation strategies for producing these phonemes. The researcher recorded 864 naturally produced speech samples from eight congenitally blind children and eight sighted ones all ranging from 8 to 15 years (mean age: 13±1.69 years old) during the production of the three repetitions of the Persian stop-vowel consonants in a CV sequences. The results of The F2 and F3 formant transition analyses revealed that blindness may have an effect on the difference of offset and onset of the second formant transition. However, the onset and offset of the second and third formant transition and the difference of the offset and onset of the third formant transition were unaffected.
This paper offers an analysis of ka⁴¹, an aspectual element in Changsha Xiang Chinese. It is argued that this element occupies a position in the inner-aspectual structure of the clause, between the higher aspectual marker ta²¹ and the lower elements expressing a lexical result (like clean in wash clean). On the basis of its co-occurrence with various verb types, we treat ka⁴¹ as an achievement marker: when present, it blocks any reading in which the denoted event proceeds along a multi-point scale, allowing only the instantaneous, two-point scale reading in which the beginning and the endpoint of the event coincide. On the basis of its syntactic distribution we argue that the syntactic position ka⁴¹ occupies is an intermediate aspectual projection (Asp2P) in the inner aspect domain, which is sandwiched between the lowest inner aspectual projection dedicated to telicity and the highest one signaling perfectivity (or realization of the end point). We review the implications of the analysis for the aspectual domain of Mandarin clauses and point out that the intermediate inner aspectual projection (Asp2P) we introduce for Changsha appears to be a suitable syntactic position for the structural analysis of the small set of grammaticalized items generally known as “Phase complements” as well.
Cantonese exhibits dislocation copying, a phenomenon whereby some syntactic material in a canonical sentence is repeated after the sentence particle. This paper demonstrates that the familiar Move-and-Elide analysis does not readily accommodate the structural properties of dislocation copying. Instead, the derivation of dislocation copying involves the formation of parallel Ā-chains. The apparent copying character of dislocation copying, accordingly, is the result of neither Move-and-Elide nor spell-out of multiple chain links, both prevalent mechanisms for yielding repetition. The current proposal sheds a fresh light on an ill-understood area of Cantonese syntax with regard to dislocation in general, and lends additional support to utilizing parallel chains in grammar as a syntactic means of yielding repetition.
Lexical tones produced in isolation (adopted from Li and Chen 2016). Lines stand for the mean. Gray areas stand for ±1 standard error of the mean. T1 is illustrated with black line and dark gray area; T2 with white line and dark gray area; T3 with black line and light gray area; T4 with white line and light gray area. Normalized time.
Mean f0 contours of neutral-tone syllables in different tonal contexts with different focus conditions (i.e., On-Focus condition in Column 1 vs. Pre-Focus condition in Column 2).
Mean f0 contours of neutral-tone syllables in different tonal contexts with different prosodic boundaries (Rows a and c for the Below-NP boundary condition, Rows b and d for the Subject-Predicate boundary condition) between neutral tone(s) and the following T1 under different focus conditions (Rows a and b for the On-Focus condition, Rows c and d for the Pre-Focus condition). Column 1 with one neutral tone, Column 2 with two neutral tones,
Estimate of the fixed factor FOLLOWING TONE in the growth curve analysis. Panel a stands for the tonal contexts of T1NTx, panel b for T2NTx, panel c for T3NTx, panel d for
While prosodic boundaries are known to affect the acoustic realization of segments and lexical full tones, no study thus far has examined how the f0 realization of a neutral tone is influenced by different prosodic boundaries. This study set out to fill this knowledge gap by investigating the effect of prosodic boundary on neutral-tone realization in Tianjin Mandarin, a variety which has been reported to exhibit interesting context-dependent f0 variation. Our results showed that the high neutral-tone f0 offset before the low falling tone (Tone 1) does not need to be treated as a special tonal target as claimed in the literature, but rather could be due to the raising effect brought about by the following T1, which can also be observed on the f0 realization of lexical tones. The neutral tone in Tianjin Mandarin has a mid-low tonal target similar to that in Standard Chinese. In addition, by manipulating the prosodic boundary between neutral tone and the following T1, we observed an interesting effect of prosodic boundary on the neutral-tone f0 realization. Specifically, the raising effect due to the following T1 can be blocked by a higher-level prosodic boundary (i.e., a Subject-Predicate boundary) compared to a lower-level prosodic boundary (i.e., a Below-NP boundary). Finally, our study observed both effects of prosodic boundary and focus on tonal implementation. They remain separate mechanisms in speech production, but could interact to modulate the magnitude of f0 changes due to effects of focus and prosodic boundary in neutral-tone f0 realization.
Although Chinese is widely regarded as lacking the movement operation known as scrambling as it exists in languages like Japanese and Korean, this view does not take account of Northwestern dialects, which are known to be highly Altaicized. In this paper, a set of diagnostic tests is applied to object fronting in Xining Mandarin (Qinghai province), and the movement is argued to possess the properties of Japanese style scrambling—and not merely topicalization, which derives OSV order elsewhere among Chinese dialects. An analysis of scrambling in the dialect is proposed, and its anomalous presence in the Xining dialect is explained as a consequence of language contact with non-Sinitic languages in the region.
This article discusses special agentive transitive verbs in Japanese and Korean (such as noru/thata ‘board’) that yield concrete result states (which we call target states) that are under the agentive subject’s control throughout their duration. These verbs (continuous causative (CC) verbs) produce two distinct interpretations: accomplishment and target state readings. The latter surface with several distinct constructions: (i) the aspectual morphemes -te iru (Japanese) and -ko iss (Korean); (ii) the simple past tense; and (iii) nominalization. Intuitively, what the agentive subject does is one continuous act: (i) attaining the target state in question, and (ii) preserving it. The name “continuous causative verb” stems from the fact that the agentive subject continues to behave like an agent throughout the complex eventuality. However, when we utter a sentence containing a CC verb, we either refer to the accomplishment portion or the continuation of the target state, not both at the same time. Our formal proposal posits an aspect shift rule in the lexicon, which is responsible for the target state reading of each CC verb. The target state is indicated by a relation that holds between the agent and the theme entity, which in turn predicts that the agent is responsible for keeping the state intact. Positing a semantic rule in the lexicon to predict the aspect shift allows us to account for the two interpretations of CC verbs. The behavior of temporal adverbials also receives a natural account in our proposal.
This paper argues for the projection of DP for indefinites initiated with yi ‘one’ and indefinites initiated with a classifier in Mandarin Chinese. First, a null numeral for ‘one’ is identified. Second, in yi-initial nominals, an indefinite article is also identified. Third, for classifier-initial indefinites, which have no overt numeral, a head movement of a classifier to D is argued for. Therefore, the head of DP in the language can be realized by either an indefinite article or a raised classifier. No argument is in the structure of a bare Classifier Phrase in the language. The paper supports the idea that numeralless classifier nominals exist because of the availability of null numerals. It also proposes a semantic LF reanalysis approach to the dependency of a classifier-initial nominal on a higher head element in the language.
Top-cited authors
Ning Zhang
  • National Chung Cheng University
Yuta Sakamoto
  • Meiji University
Duk-Ho An
  • Konkuk University
Matt Wagers
  • University of California, Santa Cruz
Brian Dillon
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst