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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 Six - Four Resultative Sentence Structures in Chinese 289


• C H A P T E R S I X • Four Resultative Sentence Structures in Chinese Chapter Six - Resultative Sentence Structures 6.1. Background Knowledge In this chapter we will concentrate on the four syntactic structures in Mandarin Chinese: the Bǎ sentence, the Bèi sentence, the null Bèi sentence and the De complement sentence. We contend that they are structures which encode the no- tion of result of an event, because all the predicates of the four constructions are restricted to result-oriented VPs. Our discussion necessitates some basic knowl- edge about verbs and events. Please refer to the background knowledge provided in the beginning of Chapter Three, also to Chapter One, in which the notion of semantic roles of clause elements has been introduced. Before starting this chap- ter, it would be beneficial and helpful to further familiarize the reader with more information about the few main semantic roles of the subject and object of a sen- tence. Analysis of semantic roles is controversial, it has not reached a general consensus in the literature and there are still many distinctions which need to be further explored. Nevertheless, although some categories are vague and fuzzy, this does not alter the fact that semantic roles are crucial in understanding a great number of syntactic structures, including the four resultative constructions in Chinese. Semantic roles The introduction of the semantic roles is based on Frawley’s discussion of the issue. A sentence describes an event or a situation, stative or active. Between...

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