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Title: Noun Phrase Substitutes and Zero Anaphora in Mandarin Chinese
Authors: Roberts, Thomas Hughes
Keywords: Sino-Tibetan Languages
Mandarin Chinese
Chinese Languages
Issue Date: 1968
Publisher: University of Hawaii
Abstract: This study is ooncerned with the ~ystem of anaphora in Mandarin Ohinese, i.e., with the ways succeeding references to the same person, thing, or oonoept, eto., are made wi thin a discourse. Evidenoe based. on the examine.tion of texts of dialogues and narratives, supplemented with work with an informant, is presented for the following patterns. A subjeot (topio) of a olause, whether or not a goal of the aotion in the verb, may be left unexpressed, with the referenoe still olear, if the sUbjeot of the preoeding clause (within the same sentenoe or in the preoeding sentenoe) has the same reference. Suoh subjeots are oalled zero sUbjeots. Other restriotions on, or oonditions for, the use of zero subjeots are disoussed, as well as the degree to whioh it is optional, in the oase of referenoes to persons, to use a pronoun rather than zero. This study also includes disoussion of the use of pronouns rather than noun phrases (inoluding single nouns) in referenoe to a person or persons other than the speaker or listener or groups of people involving them. With oertain exoeptions, a pronoun refers to the same person or persons as the nearest preoed~ng pronoun or noun phrase, as long as the person and number are appropriate. The degree to whioh it is optional to use a pronoun or a noun phrase is discussed as well. Objects (i.e., goals which follow verbs) with specific, non-human referents may be left unexpressed if the object of the preceding verb is the same (the verb itself may be different). Where such objects must be overtly expressed, the pronoun ii is sometimes used with either singular or plural reference. Objects with unspecified, non~human referents (unspecified as to number as well as to identity) may be left unaxpressed if the object of the preceding verb is the same. It is argued that these 'z-e-ro Subjects and objects have to be accounted for in an adequate description of the formal linguistic structure of the sentences in which they are found. In these terms, it appears that there is a significant class of transitive verbs in Chinese that ~ have a goal (either in SUbject or object position). The conditions under which a noun that is head of a noun phrase may be left unexpressed are also presented in this stUdy. Usually, there is some contrastive emphasis on the modifier of that noun and the same noun appears in a previous noun phrase. The patterns for noun phrases used in succeeding references to the same referent are also described. Of special interest is the use of ~n unmodified noun as a type of substitute. Finally, it is argued that a consistent immediate constituent analysis cannot account for the necessary distinction between goal sUbjects and non-goal subjects or for the structurally significant zero substitutes. Nor can the type of structure generated in the phrase structure component of a transformational grammar d.o so. The possibilities of accounting for these things in a semological network which is one of several structures corresponding to different strata in the system of grammar are explored.
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