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Chinese Syntactic Grammar

Loar, Jian Kang

Chinese Syntactic Grammar

Functional and Conceptual Principles

Series: Berkeley Models of Grammars - Volume 9

Year of Publication: 2011

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2011. XXIV, 493 pp., num. fig.
ISBN 978-1-4331-1252-2 hb.  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.830 kg, 1.830 lbs

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Book synopsis

Chinese Syntactic Grammar: Functional and Conceptual Principles is unique in that it discusses the organizational principles of Chinese syntactic structures in terms of conceptual and functional principles, which are iconic and hence are easy to understand and apply. The organizational principles mainly comprise the three Chinese conceptual principles of Temporal Sequence, Temporal Scope, and Whole-Before-Part (Tai, 1985) and the two functional principles of Communicative Dynamism and the Principle of Topic-End Focus. By analyzing the semantic roles of each clause element, Chinese Syntactic Grammar reveals that the conceptual principles play a crucial role in organizing ideas and bringing units (such as subject, verb, and object) together to form grammatical sequences, which manifest S (A) V O (C), which is the basic Chinese word order. The functional principles control and govern variations of the basic sentence structure, which are motivated to facilitate effective communication and achieve specific communicative goals, thus generating several special structures, including the Bá/Bèi/null Bèi sentences, etc. The variant forms are motivated to achieve special communicative goals, and to facilitate effective communication.
Another feature of the book is that it focuses on reasons, rather than merely on a description of rules. The language is lucid, and the arguments are cogent. The scope and depth of the investigation make the volume one of the most thorough and relatively complete pedagogical reference books. Chinese Syntactic Grammar can serve as a textbook for training professional CFL teachers. It is a must-read book for Mandarin Chinese teachers as a handy manual, also for intermediate and advanced Chinese learners if they want to have deeper insight into the nature of the Chinese language. Linguists who are interested in cognitive grammar and specialists across many fields including education, psychology, communication, and information science will find the book enlightening and interesting.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Jian Kang Loar received her BA in English and MA in English and linguistics at Huazhong University in Wuhan, China, where she also became an English lecturer. She came to Boston University on a presidential scholarship, and, subsequently, received her PhD in applied linguistics. Dr. Loar is Associate Professor of Chinese at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. She has been engaged in foreign language teaching her whole life, and she is conversant with foreign language learning and teaching theories and methodology. Her specialty is Chinese grammar and linguistics, primarily in the verbal aspectual system, the sentence information structure, and word order in Chinese. Dr. Loar is the author of several articles that have been published in the Journal of Chinese Linguistics and the Journal of Chinese Language Teachers Association.


Berkeley Models of Grammars. Vol. 9
General Editor: Irmengard Rauch