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Title: The BA-construction in modern standard Chinese : some problems of constraint
Authors: Chan, Kin-hong
Keywords: Sino-Tibetan Languages
Issue Date: 1985
Publisher: Hong Kong University
Abstract: Among the problems concerning the BAconstruction in Modern Standard Chinese, the problems of constraint - under what conditions a verb or a noun can appear in the BA-construction - are the most essential ones. They are the most essential because they are the foundation upon which alone other related problems can be solved with greater credit. Por instance, the attempt to represent the BA-construction in formalisms such as that of Transformation Grammar or Case Grammar will hardly be possible had the problems of constraint not been solved. The problems of constraint have been dealt with by many linguists. They have done a lot of indepth and invaluable work that is directed towards the core problems of constraint. Although the observations and contentions linguists made are often penetrating and extensive, they are, for me, not without insufficiency. They are rather disconnectedly discussed. Let us assume that four constraints have been hypothesized governing the use of the BA-construction. The four constraints should, if they are well enough designed, be able to support one another or to jointly explain a certain linguistic phenomenon or even a single BA-sentence* One of the two aims of this paper is to hypothesize a set of constraints which are interrelated to one another and which can explain the grammaticality or ungrammaticality of a large number of BA-sentences, some of which are marginal and disputable as regards their grammaticality. When hypothesizing these constraints, some ideas will be borrowed from linguists eminent in this field. The borrowed ideas will then be, however, incorporated into the fresh network of mine. Many linguists have noted without much elaboration that complements play an important role in the contribution of grammaticality of the BA-construction. The second aim of this paper is to explain how some complements turn the otherwise ungrammatical BAsentences in which they occur into grammatical ones by means of the set of constraints designed. The four constraints discussed in this dissertation rely solely on semantic interpretation. The reason why syntactic interpretation is not involved here is that the syntactic constraints of the BA-construction have been discussed by many distinguished linguists whose contentions are already too sophisticated to be improved here.
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