Journal directory listing - Volume 21-30 (1976-1985) - Volume 25 (1980)

Cleft and Pseudo-Cleft Constructions in Chinese:Structure,Function and Constraint Author: Ting-chi Tang


The present work attempts to give a detailed investigation and analysis of two heretofore unexplored syntactic constructions in Chinese: cleft sentences and pseudo-cleft snetences. Folowing Section 1, an introductions, Section 2 discusses the communicative function of cleft and pseudocleft sentences in Chinese and makes a tentative distinction between them. Se-ction 3 investigates the syntactic as well as semantic func-tion of the copula shr in various types of Chinese sentences sentences and concludes that shr serves as 'assertive verb'in all these sentence-types. Section 4 then examines the meani-ng and function of the particle de in various syntactic con-structions in Chinese. Several pieces of evidence are given to show that the de occurring in a cleft construction functions as a subordinate marker, while the de appearing in a pseudo-cleft construction serves as a final particle. It is also claimed that pseudo-cleft sentence dderive from underlying structures containing a relative clause by deleting the antecedent ren (person), dungsyi (thing), or shrjing (matter ). Cleft sentences, on the other hand, may derive from under-lying structures in which the higher predicate shr is low-ered into the position immediately before the focused element in the embedded sentence, or, alternatively, from underlying structures in which the focused element is raised out of the sentential subject into the dummy node in the matrix equation sentence. Scetion 5 is devoted to the discussion of how a cleft sentence, its stylistic variant, and a pseudo-cleft sen-tentence are related in their syntactic structure and communi-cative function, and thus may result in structural ambiguity Finally, Section 6 deals with various constraints on clefting and pseudo-clefting in Chinese, exploring in passing the basic constituent structures of Chinese. It is suggested that these constraints may best be treated as constraints on surface structures rather than constraints on deep structure or tra-nsformational rules

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