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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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Chapter Four – The Order of Clauses in the Compound and Complex Sentence 209


209 • C H A P T E R F O U R • The Order of Clauses in the Compound and Complex Sentence Chapter Four – Order of Clauses 4.1. Compound and Complex Sentences Chapter Two addresses the clause element of adverbials, including their seman- tic roles and positions with respect to the verbs they modify. However, we ha- ven’t touched upon the important semantic relations of cause, reason, purpose, result, condition and concession, which are most often expressed by adverbial clauses rather than by adverbial phrases. Hence in this chapter, we will turn our attention to the adverbial clauses that express the semantic relations as stated above. These semantic relationships involve the general notion of contingency between situations described in the subordinate and main clauses. For instance, in such a conditional complex sentence ‘Rúguǒ tiānqì hǎo, wǒmen jiù qù hǎibiān kǎoròu’ (If the weather is fine, we will go to the seashore to have a barbecue), the conditional clause expresses that the situation in the main clause, namely go- ing to the seashore to have a barbecue, is contingent on the situation described in the conditional clause, that is, whether the weather is fine. Our concern of this chapter is to examine the ordering sequence of adverbial clauses and the main clause they modify. In addition, we will also consider the order of coordinate clauses with each other, because their ordering sequence is closely related to the PTS. As our discussion will revolve...

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