Journal directory listing - Volume 21-30 (1976-1985) - Volume 26 (1981)

A Study of Interrogative Sentence in Chinese Author: Ting-chi Tang


The present work is a detailed investigation and analysis of interrogative sentences in Chinese. Section 1, an introduction, specifies the objective and scope of the study. Section 2 discusses pragmatic functions of questioning in general and presents a detailed analysis of four types of Chinese questions: particle questions, disjunctive questions, V-not-V questions and interrogative-word questions. Special emphasis is laid on the discussion of concordance between the positive-negative polarities of answer particles and anwer sentences, coocourrence restrictions between in-terrogative particles and various types of questions, and syntactic changes involved in V-not-V questions. It is suggested that all types of questions may be reduced to, or derived from, disjunctive questions. Section 3 gives a detailed analysis of interrogative words in Chinese, their interrogative use and non-interrogative uses, which include the comprehensive use, the indefinite use, the correlative use, the exclamatory use, and the rhetorical question. It is found that the non-interrogative uses of interrogative words bear a close relationship with their interrogative counter-parts in pragmatic as well as semantic function. Section 4 then examines the syntactic behaviors and constraints of embedded questions. It is pointed out that in addition to the embedding of indirect questions, direct questions may also occur as the sentential object of the verbs of direct questions, assumption, and judgment. The pragmatic functions of these verbs, together with the scope of question involved, are discussed in some detail in contrast to other types of verbs. Finally in Section 5, a conclusion, the difference in interpretation of embedded questions is shown to be a natural consequence of the embedded direct and indirect questions, and the difference in the scope of questioning involved.

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