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Chinese Syntactic Grammar

Functional and Conceptual Principles


Jian Kang Loar

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.


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Acknowledgments xxi


xxi Acknowledgments As the author of a book which covers a wide range of topics, I owe a great deal to the linguists and grammarians whose research and theories have helped shape the present work on the study of syntactic grammar of Mandarin Chinese. Among a number of linguists and scholars who have contributed to the field of linguistics, and to the study of the Chinese language, I am deeply indebted to linguist James H.-Y. Tai, whose proposal of the three Chinese conceptual princi- ples and whose many insightful observations and thoughts in the filed of cogni- tion-based functional grammar have formed the foundation for my work; to Quirk et. al., whose monumental grammar book on contemporary English is not only a contribution to the study of English, but to that of all natural languages of mankind, as many semantic rules and generalizations are applicable to common languages as well; to linguist Frawley (1992), as many of my ideas can be traced directly to his explication of some semantic notions; to Lambrecht and to F. F. Tsao, whose study of the notion of topic provides the theoretical basis for my investigation of the topic-prominent nature of Mandarin Chinese. My sincere thanks are also due to linguist Bingfu Lu, who was so generous to let me share his painstakingly acquired knowledge by sending to me his dissertation and pa- pers, the result of his research enlightened me on the principles underlying the sequencing order of multiple premodifiers of a NP, and...

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