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Title: The Syntax of Demonstratives in Taiwan Southern Min
Authors: Wu, Tz-Chying
Keywords: Sino-Tibetan Languages
Chinese Language
Southern Min - Grammar
Issue Date: 2010
Publisher: National Chung Cheng University (Taiwan)
Abstract: This thesis studies the syntactic characteristics and fusion property of demonstratives in Taiwan Southern Min (henceforth TSM). Through the literature, we can see that the demonstrative determiner chit/hit ‘this/that’ may be fused with a classifier into a contracted form (fusion word). Therefore, this thesis begins with the issues related to demonstrative fusion properties. Huang (1961) and Lien (1999) indicate that plural demonstrative determiners chia ‘these’ and hia ‘those’ are fusion words, which are fused by two separate lexical items: demonstrative determiners chit and hit plus the plural classifier kóa ‘some’. Interestingly, the result of fusion may give rise to homophones. The plural demonstrative determiner chia/hia ‘these/those’, and the demonstrative adverb chia/hia ‘here/there’ are two typical examples for homophones. However, the issue of whether the TSM demonstrative determiner and demonstrative adverb should be regarded as homophones has not been reached a consensus. Tang (2007) suggests that the TSM plural demonstratives contain locative pronouns as chia ‘here’ and hia ‘there’, yielding a polysemy, so they can denote dual meanings: both plurality and location. In order to solve this puzzle, I investigate adverbial-elements used in a demonstrative phrase in Romance languages. The cross-linguistic evidence tends to support Huang (1961) and Lien’s (1999) analysis (cf. Bernstein 1997). Second, with respect to the syntactic property of demonstratives, I make a comparison between TSM demonstratives and English d emonstratives to explore if TSM demonstratives encode number as English demonstratives this/that/these/those. If not, then how does the notion of number in a demonstrative phrase derive from? Moreover, I also find out that the singular numeral in both Mandarin Chinese and TSM can occur in a silent form (covert form), namely, an omission in the surface structure. As for the licensing condition and restriction for the silent fom of the numeral chı̍t ‘one’ in TSM, it is another concern for this thesis. Based on Hsieh’s (2008) proposal involving constraints on silent form of the numeral yi ‘one’ in Mandarin Chinese, I try to test if the covert form of the numeral chı̍t in TSM has similar conditions, then the result reveals that these two languages own distinct licensing conditions for the covert singular numeral, and the silent form of TSM chı̍t requires qualified licensors. Third, there exists the (in)compatibility among the elements within a determiner phrase (DP). In TSM, certain quantifiers cannot co-occur with demonstratives and classifiers, and their (in)compatibility can classify quantifiers into different types. This thesis will offer the classification for TSM quantifiers based on their syntactic behavior and try to propose the syntactic position for those internal elements within DP. Due to the fact that there is not much previous literature concerning TSM demonstratives in general, the analysis in this thesis is a comparative study, which builds on the previous research in Mandarin Chinese determiner phrase.
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