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postgraduate thesis: The syntax of particles in Mandarin Chinese

TitleThe syntax of particles in Mandarin Chinese
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Che, D. [車德偉]. (2014). The syntax of particles in Mandarin Chinese. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5223968
AbstractChinese is noted for its rich inventory of particles that help to form sentences. However, a precise definition of particle is hard to achieve due to its wide range of forms and functions. Most words that are hard to categorize are dumped into this class. Naturally, there are two consequences that come out of this: 1) the difference is huge among groups and subgroups; 2) there seems to be no interconnectedness between groups. In these circumstances, this study mainly aims to address two issues: a) to establish particle as a theoretical construct that is distinguishable from other well-established constructs, and b) to present a unified analysis of the syntax of particles in Chinese. Through a close examination on particles in the cross-linguistic literature, it is found that particles in Mandarin Chinese are characterized by syntactic deficiency, i.e. inability to project. This study thus defines a Chinese particle as a ‘non-projecting word which is adjoined to X^(0,). A systematic account of particles in Chinese has remained as a conundrum due to their diversity. This study concerns two groups of particles in Mandarin Chinese, namely the structural particles and the verbal particles. The former has long been discussed in Chinese literature, while the latter is evolved out of this study. It is adequately shown that the so-called ‘verb-complement compounds’ in traditional Chinese literature are indeed ‘verb-particle combinations’. Accordingly, three types of verbal particles are specified in this study: aspectual, resultative, and directional. The syntactic behaviours of the structural particles and the verbal particles are intensively explored in this study. A unified analysis of these particles is achieved under the framework of Lexical-Functional Grammar. It turns out that all of them share the same representation at c-structure. As a non-projecting category, the particle is head-adjoined to X and thus the formation of a syntactic construct. In other words, the particle is syntactically combined rather than lexically combined, represented by two nodes in a tree diagram. Their grammatical functions can be captured at f-structure with two possibilities: a co-head or an XCOMP. The same analysis is generalized to the syntax of the particle ge and the verbal particles in Cantonese. It is proved that particles in Cantonese also feature syntactic deficiency (i.e. inability to project). This dissertation is among the first of its kind to provide a unified analysis of the syntax of particles in Chinese. It is observed that certain particles are quite distinguishable from other word classes by their phrase structural realization. Different from previous studies that have tried to classify particles mainly according to their meanings and functions, this study explores another possibility: particles in Chinese can be captured structurally as a coherent group.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectMandarin dialects - Particles
Mandarin dialects - Syntax
Dept/ProgramLinguistics
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206676

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorLam, OSC-
dc.contributor.advisorBodomo, AB-
dc.contributor.authorChe, Dewei-
dc.contributor.author車德偉-
dc.date.accessioned2014-11-25T03:53:16Z-
dc.date.available2014-11-25T03:53:16Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationChe, D. [車德偉]. (2014). The syntax of particles in Mandarin Chinese. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5223968-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/206676-
dc.description.abstractChinese is noted for its rich inventory of particles that help to form sentences. However, a precise definition of particle is hard to achieve due to its wide range of forms and functions. Most words that are hard to categorize are dumped into this class. Naturally, there are two consequences that come out of this: 1) the difference is huge among groups and subgroups; 2) there seems to be no interconnectedness between groups. In these circumstances, this study mainly aims to address two issues: a) to establish particle as a theoretical construct that is distinguishable from other well-established constructs, and b) to present a unified analysis of the syntax of particles in Chinese. Through a close examination on particles in the cross-linguistic literature, it is found that particles in Mandarin Chinese are characterized by syntactic deficiency, i.e. inability to project. This study thus defines a Chinese particle as a ‘non-projecting word which is adjoined to X^(0,). A systematic account of particles in Chinese has remained as a conundrum due to their diversity. This study concerns two groups of particles in Mandarin Chinese, namely the structural particles and the verbal particles. The former has long been discussed in Chinese literature, while the latter is evolved out of this study. It is adequately shown that the so-called ‘verb-complement compounds’ in traditional Chinese literature are indeed ‘verb-particle combinations’. Accordingly, three types of verbal particles are specified in this study: aspectual, resultative, and directional. The syntactic behaviours of the structural particles and the verbal particles are intensively explored in this study. A unified analysis of these particles is achieved under the framework of Lexical-Functional Grammar. It turns out that all of them share the same representation at c-structure. As a non-projecting category, the particle is head-adjoined to X and thus the formation of a syntactic construct. In other words, the particle is syntactically combined rather than lexically combined, represented by two nodes in a tree diagram. Their grammatical functions can be captured at f-structure with two possibilities: a co-head or an XCOMP. The same analysis is generalized to the syntax of the particle ge and the verbal particles in Cantonese. It is proved that particles in Cantonese also feature syntactic deficiency (i.e. inability to project). This dissertation is among the first of its kind to provide a unified analysis of the syntax of particles in Chinese. It is observed that certain particles are quite distinguishable from other word classes by their phrase structural realization. Different from previous studies that have tried to classify particles mainly according to their meanings and functions, this study explores another possibility: particles in Chinese can be captured structurally as a coherent group.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshMandarin dialects - Particles-
dc.subject.lcshMandarin dialects - Syntax-
dc.titleThe syntax of particles in Mandarin Chinese-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5223968-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineLinguistics-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5223968-

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