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Adverbial Clauses in Mandarin Chinese

A Corpus-based Study


May Lai-Ying Wong

What are adverbial clauses in Chinese? Do they all have subjects as their counterparts do in English? How do the semantic domains of adverbial clauses interact with the distribution of subjects? How do Chinese corpora help us explore these intriguing questions?
The aim of this study is to demonstrate the usefulness of corpus linguistics as a methodology in grammar studies. A problem-oriented tagging approach has been used to enable the exploration of adverbial clauses in the corpus and to identify eleven semantically based classes of adverbial clauses. While it is a well-known fact that Chinese adverbial clauses (CACs) are overtly marked by a subordinating conjunction, their subjects can be left unexpressed and recovered in the prior discourse. By analysing naturally occurring spoken and written samples from various corpora, the author examines this intriguing phenomenon of overt and non-overt subjects in adverbial clauses.


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Acknowledgements 13


13 Acknowledgements The main input for this book arouse out of research done at both the University of Hong Kong and Lancaster University. In the course of carrying out my research, I have been fortunate to have had the oppor- tunity of interacting with a number of leading researchers (either in terms of having studied with them or correspondence via electronic mail) on the subject of adverbial clauses and Chinese grammar, of whom the following merit special mention: Professor Tony McEnery, Pro- fessor Luke Kang-kwong, Dr Owen Nancarrow, Professor Geoffrey Sampson, Dr Willem Hollmann, Dr Richard Xiao, Dr Scott Piao, Mrs Catherine Nancarrow, and Dr Ya-ling Chang. The data and corpora cited in this book have been taken from vari- ous sources. The PFR People’s Daily POS Tagged Chinese Corpus was produced by the joint effort of the Peking University, the People’s Daily newspaper and the Fujitsu Research and Development Centre. I wish to thank the Institute of Computational Linguistics at Peking Univer- sity for permission to draw from the PFR corpus in the book. I am grateful to Professor Tony McEnery and Dr Richard Xiao for permis- sion to use the data drawn from the Lancasater Corpus of Mandarin Chinese (LCMC) created by them and their research team at Lancaster University, and I hasten to add that whatever factual errors made in reporting on the LCMC corpus are mine alone. Parts of Chapter Seven and Eight appeared in my journal article published in Corpora; thanks are due to the...

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