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Title: Current Issues in Chinese Linguistics

Ed. by: Yun Xiao

            Liang Tao

            Hooi Ling Soh

Publication Year: 2011

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing


Chinese is the most commonly spoken language in the world and one of the very few contemporary languages whose history is documented in an unbroken tradition extending back to the second millennium. Compared with Western languages, Chinese has a typology with distinguished features in sound system, syntax, and discourse that have a strong impact on Chinese linguistics studies and language learning. Drawing on theoretical models from formal and functional linguistics, discourse analysis, computer-assisted corpus studies, language socialization, and second language acquisition, this volume presents new advances and addresses a broad range of current issues in the study of Chinese linguistics with research studies that originated from the proceedings of the 21st North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-21).

As globalization presses on, more and more people are interested in Chinese its history, structure, research, and new developments. This volume aims to be instrumental. Written in a coherent and structured style, each section is concentrated on a particular linguistic area, and each chapter is self-contained with a clear focus and theoretical framework. It will be valuable to linguists, educators, administrators, specialists, teachers and students of Chinese as a native, second, heritage, or foreign language.



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Ed. by: Andreas Musolff 

           Fiona MacArthur 

           Giulio Pagani 

Publication Year: 2014

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (formerly The Continuum International Publishing Group)


Metaphor and Intercultural Communication examines in detail the dynamics of metaphor in interlingual contact, translation and globalization processes. Its case-studies, which combine methods of cognitive metaphor theory with those of corpus-based and discourse-oriented research, cover contact linguistic and cultural contacts between Chinese, English including Translational English and Aboriginal English, Greek, Kabyle, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, and Spanish.

Part I introduces readers to practical and methodological problems of the intercultural transfer of metaphor through empirical (corpus-based and experimental) studies of translators' experiences and strategies in dealing with figurative language in a variety of contexts. Part II explores the universality-relativity dimension of cross- and intercultural metaphor on the basis of empirical data from various European and non-European cultures. Part III investigates the socio-economic and political consequences of figurative language use through case studies of communication between aboriginal and mainstream cultures, in the media, in political discourse and gender-related discourses.

Special attention is paid to cases of miscommunication and of deliberate re- and counter-conceptualisation of clichés from one culture into another. The results open new perspectives on some of the basic assumptions of the ‘classic' cognitive paradigm, e.g. regarding metaphor understanding, linguistic relativity and concept-construction.



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Title: Peaches and Plums C.-T. James Huang

          Feng-hsi Liu

Series: Language and Linguistics Monograph Series 54

Publication Year: July 24, 2014

Publisher: Academia Sinica 

ISBN: 978-986-04-1666-4(paperback)


Table of Contents

Part 1: Syntax and Semantics

On Secondary Predication and Specificity in Mandarin Chinese

    Francesca Del Gobbo

On the Status of the Compared Elements in Chinese Comparatives

    Yang Gu and Jie Guo

Remarks on Classifiers and Nominal Structure in East Asian

    C.-T. James Huang and Masao Ochi

On the Position of Adnominal Adjectival Expressions in Korean

    Min-Joo Kim

Justifying Adjectives in Chinese

    Chen-Sheng Luther Liu

Mandarin Comparative Constructions

    Chi-Ming Louis Liu

Quantification and the Count-mass Distinction in Mandarin Chinese

    Feng-hsi Liu

On the Syntax and Semantics of zhe and le in the Existential you-coda Construction

    Na Kristy Liu

Syntax-Semantics Mismatches, Focus Movement and Light Verb Syntax

    Wei-Tien Dylan Tsai

Chinese Null Subjects: A View from the Top

Barry C.-Y. Yang


Part 2: Phonology and Prosody

From Ripples to Waves, Tides and Beyond

    Chiu-yu Tseng and Chao-yu Su

Tone as a Syllable Feature in Mandarin Chinese

  1. Samuel Wang


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Books: Chinese Linguistics in Leipzig 漢語語言學在萊比錫


Chinese Linguistics in Leipzig 漢語語言學在萊比錫

Edited by: Redouane Djamouri, Barbara Meisterernst & Rint Sybesma

This is the second volume in the Chinese Linguistics in Europe (CLÉ) series. It was published in 2008, by the EHESS/CRLAO, as the twelfth volume in the Collection des Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale. 250 pp. ISSN 1956-4295, ISBN 978-2-910216-09-8. Regular price: € 30 / US$ 35; EACL members: € 25.

The volume contains a refereed selection of the papers that were presented at the 5th bi-annual meeting of the EACL which was held at the Max Planck Insitute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany, 4-7 September 2007.

Table of contents and abstracts


Table of contents

Bernard Comrie: The areal typology of Chinese: between North and Southeast Asia

Roman Shapiro: Glottochronology for the study of Beijing and Sichuan dialects of Mandarin Chinese

Haeree Park: A revision of the Old Chinese chuān 川 phonetic series through discovered texts

Yu-Cheng Huang 黃育正: 現代漢語「爆」的歷時語義與語法功能的演變過程

Elisabeth M. de Boer: The Middle Chinese tones through Japanese eyes

Patricia Mueller-Liu: Revisiting “successive tonal addition” – the forms and functions of rising utterance-final edge tones in Mandarin Chinese

Linda Badan: The “even”-construction in Mandarin

Robert Iljic: A unified account of the aspectuo-temporal marker guo in Mandarin Chinese

Jiun-Shiung Wu & Wen-Hsing Tseng: Locating antecedents to zero anaphora in Mandarin: an SDRT approach

Nai-Fai Wong:Scale, maximality and the Cantonese particle saai3 晒 ‘all’

Stephen Matthews & Virginia Yip: Passive, unaccusative and pretransitive constructions in Chaozhou

I-Hsuan Chen & Chinfa Lien: The interaction between the construction kóng + topic and its thematic markers in Taiwanese Southern Min

Chenju Chen & Chinfa Lien: Transfer of possession verbs in Taiwanese Southern Min: a case study of lexical and constructional effects

Jenny Yichun Kuo, May-Ling Lee & James H.-Y. Tai: Categorization patterns of classifiers in Taiwan Southern Min

Chinfa Lien: Special types of passive and causative constructions in TSM 

 Abstracts (in alphabetical order according to author’s last name)

The even-construction in Mandarin

Linda Badan

This paper aims to provide an analysis of the lian… dou construction. I first show that lian-XP can appear in the Left Periphery, in the CP area, but when it is on the right of the subject, it is in a position situated in the Low Periphery, within the IP (see Ernst & Wang, 1995; Paul, 2005 among others). I propose that sentence-initial lian and sentence-internal lian have different syntactic behaviours; the former has more Topic-like properties than the latter. Secondly, I show that lian and dou together contribute to the intepretation of even and that the presence of lian is not really optional. When lian is present, the XP on the left of dou has to be necessarily stressed in order to receive the even interpretation; otherwise, we get a quantificational meaning of dou. Finally, along the lines of Cheng & Giannakidou’s (2006) proposal, I define the even-dou as the overt realization of a Maximality OP which yields a set of totality of properties expressed in the sentence. I argue that Chinese must overtly express the set of alternatives that the Focus induces. On the contrary, in other languages this set is covertly realized.


The Middle Chinese tones through Japanese eyes

Elisabeth M. de Boer

The description of the Late Middle Chinese tones by the Japanese monk Annen in his work Shittan-zō (880) is an important source for the reconstruction of the tones of Late Middle Chinese. Annen’s text moreover, formed the starting point of a long tradition of Chinese phonological study by Buddhist monks in Japan. In due course, the Japanese Buddhist tone theories became increasingly theoretical and symmetrical. So much so that what were supposed to be the tones of Late Middle Chinese, eventually had little to do with the tones of a natural spoken language any more. The Japanese interest in the tones also led to the compilation of dictionaries that included tone dot markings; this material forms the most important source on the Middle Japanese tone system. Modern scholarship has however, failed to realize that an unnatural and idealized Chinese tone system rather than Late Middle Chinese formed the basis of the tone dot markings. This has led to serious misunderstandings in the interpretation of the materials. If accepted, the analysis of the nature and purpose of the Japanese tone theories outlined in this paper would call for a fundamental revision of the reconstruction of the Middle Japanese tone system.


Transfer of possession verbs in Taiwanese Southern Min: a case study of lexical and constructional effects

Chenju Chen & Chinfa Lien

This paper aims at exploring the distribution of transfer of possession verbs in a range of double object constructions in Taiwanese Southern Min. The transfer of possession verbs can be classified into three groups according to the direction of transfer of possession. The double object construction concerning the transfer of possession in Taiwanese Southern Min embraces four variants. The meaning of each syntactic variant is not straightforward and has to be arrived at on the basis of the interaction between the inherent senses of the verbs regarding the direction of transfer of possession and the construction of each variant. The constraints of each variant will also form focal points in our discussion. The factors underscoring the interaction between the inherent lexical properties of verbs and constructional patterns can help explain why a group or groups of verbs can or cannot enter certain types of constructional variants.


The interaction between the construction Kóng + topic and its thematic markers in Taiwanese Southern Min

I-hsuan Chen & Chinfa Lien

The inherent semantic property of the kóng ‘to say, talk, tell’ + topic constructions in interaction with peripheral elements is reflected on the selection of the types of markers such as kā ‘to’, kah/kap ‘with’, khit h³ (passive agentive marker), and thè ‘for’. The markers imply directionality, delivery mode and affectedness. Furthermore, as argued in this paper, the mapping of semantic structure to syntactic structure can be best accounted for in terms of the mechanism of profiling and shading. In brief, this paper aims to tease out the semantic and syntactic properties of kóng+ topic constructions in Taiwanese Southern Min.


The areal typology of Chinese: between North and Southeast Asia

Bernard Comrie

Examination of the geographical distribution of typological features provided by the World Atlas of Language Structures shows clearly that Chinese occupies an intermediate position between North and Southeast Asia.



Yu-Cheng Huang 黃育正



A unified account of the aspectuo-temporal marker guo in Mandarin Chinese

Robert Iljic

This is the first integrated approach of the aspectuo-temporal marker GUO in Chinese. One distinguishes between the suffix -guo (the experiential aspect GUO1) and the phase complement guo (GUO2). The unification of the two aspectuo-temporal values is carried out at a theoretical level. In the positive form, GUO marks in all cases that an event took place : either (GUO1) that in the (relative) past there is at least one occurrence of this type of event or (GUO2) that an expected, particular event took place, i.e. has entered the class of the past events, is over. The first reading is generic, the second is specific.


Categorization patterns of classifiers in Taiwan Southern Min

Jenny Yichun Kuo, May-ling Lee & James H.-Y. Tai

The correlation between nouns and classifiers in Taiwanese is conventionalized, but not arbitrary without cognitive motivations. The classifiers reflect the unique categorization patterns which its speakers have. Meronomy, shape, arrangement, and composition are all important cognitive bases in Taiwanese classifiers. Components of an integral object are often used to represent the whole, and become classifiers for the noun, such as bue (尾), and nĩã (領). Shape is the other important cognitive principle. The cognitive basis for tiau (條) and ki (枝) is longness; for tĩũ (張) is flatness, and for liap (粒) is roundness. Natural arrange¬ment is another base for categorization as in tsaŋ (叢), sui (穗), pi (枇?), and pha (葩). At last, kha (腳?) refers to a single container and a single part of a pair, referred as composition. This study is the beginning of a cognition-based study of the classifier system in Taiwanese. It is hoped that the cognitive principles uncovered will contribute to deeper understanding of categorization in numeral classifier languages, and provide valuable information for language teaching as well.


Special types of passive and causative constructions in TSM

Chinfa Lien

The paper aims at teasing out the semantic and syntactic properties of special types of passive and causative constructions in TSM. Passives featuring khit4-hoo7 or hoo7 as a grammatical marker fall into two subtypes: (1) passives with transitive verbs, and (2) passives with intransitive verbs. Type (1) involves an agent-patient relationship, whereas Type (2) denotes an affectee relationship. Transitivity is argued to be explicitly marked by ka7 in transitive passives. Special causatives embracing the explicit causative verb hoo7 are interlocked with the irrealis mood. Hierarchical structure has been established for both passives and causatives on the basis of the presence of hoo7 (or khit4-hoo7) and ka7, though in reversed order. Furthermore, the co-existence of khit4-hoo7 and hoo7 in TSM is construed as an intermediate stage in keeping with the principles of grammaticalization.


Passive, unaccusative and pretransitive constructions in Chaozhou

Stephen Matthews & Virginia Yip

We consider a set of grammatical constructions involving transitivity in Chaozhou dialects. Passives are marked with k’ih or k’eh, being grammaticalized forms of the verb ‘give’, as in many southern dialects. In Chaozhou the use of kih/keh is extended to overt marking of unaccusative predicates in the form k’ih i/k’eh i, in which the pronominal i is argued to be expletive. Pretransitive sentences are quite distinct in form from passive and unaccusative constructions. Alongside various counterparts of Mandarin ba constructions, pretransitive sentences include those with kai i where i again appears to be non-referential in irrealis contexts, but can be assigned an object-indexing function. From a typological perspective, we show that pretransitive constructions occur in head-marking, dependent-marking and double-marking configurations; in this perspective, Chaozhou kai i and Mandarin gei are head-marking indicators of transitivity. The discussion is intended to contribute to a fuller understanding of the grammatical diversity of Min dialects.


Revisiting “successive tonal addition” – the forms and functions of rising utterance-final edge tones in Mandarin Chinese

Patricia Mueller-Liu

Since its description by Y.R. Chao as an intonational means of signalling moods and emotions (1933, 1968), “successive tonal addition“ has been one of the most elusive and controversial issues in Mandarin Chinese language research. Despite the large number of follow-up studies prompted by Chao’s work, for a long time only inconclusive evidence in favour of Chao’s claims was found (Egerod 1956, Abe 1971, Rumjancev 1972, Shen 1990). The issue thus remained unresolved until recently, when pitch-phenomena reminiscent of Chao’s falling and rising “successive tonal additions” were discovered in an investigation of spontaneous German and Chinese speech (Mueller-Liu 2004). Instrumental analyses of these phenomena, termed “utterance-final edge tones”, showed them to consist of falling and rising pitch-movements added onto utterance-final syllables in much the same manner as stipulated by Chao for “successive tonal additions”. Following the analysis of the first, falling type (Mueller-Liu 2006a, b), whose communicative functions were highly compatible with the labels suggested by Chao, this study investigates the forms and functions of the second, rising, type. Among the central questions asked is the possible identity of these newly-discovered phenomena with Chao’s successive tonal additions.


A revision of the Old Chinese chuān 川 phonetic series through discovered texts

Haeree Park

Textual variations in early Chinese texts provide data for Old Chinese phonology comparable to the xiéshēng phonetic series or rhymes in the Shījīng. Excavated texts from the Warring States and Early Han periods that have transmitted counterparts in particular can reveal information that calls for revisions to OC word reconstructions based on received sources. For instance, the chuān 川 in the Măwángduī manuscript of the Zhōuyì 周易 corresponding kūn 坤 in the received version suggests that the phonophoric 川 stands for the syllable type *Kәn with a velar initial. This supposition is further supported by Zhou bronze inscriptions and Warring States variant character forms that involve the graph 川.


Glottochronology for the study of Beijing and Sichuan dialects of Mandarin Chinese

Roman Shapiro

The purpose of this paper is to identify the time of splitting between Sichuan and Beijing dialects of Chinese using the glottochronology method. According to this method, first introduced by M. Swadesh (1952) and modified by other scholars, the time of cognate language divergence is defined through the number of differing vocabulary items in their basic word lists. Following the common procedure, basic lists for Sichuan and Beijing dialects have been compiled in this study on the basis of the standard 100-word English list. A refinement of the glottochronology method has been suggested.


Scale, maximality and the Cantonese particle saai3 晒 ‘all’

Nai-Fai Wong

It is well known, that Cantonese has particularly rich particle systems in the sentence final and postverbal domains. This paper investigates the semantic properties of the postverbal particle saai3, conventionally translated as ‘all’ in English. In the literature it has been observed that saai3, despite its fixed postverbal position, appears to be associated with a wide range of constituents in the sentence including object, subject, adverbials, verbal particles, verbal complements and different types of predicates. This paper argues for a unified analysis, which incorporates the claim that saai3 is a maximality operator taking an ordered set of events or degrees as its argument.


Locating antecedents to zero anaphora in Mandarin: an SDRT approach

Jiun-Shiung Wu & Wen-Hsing Tseng

This paper argues that the crucial step to locate the antecedent to zero anaphora in Mandarin is to identify the most appropriate attachment site for a clause containing a zero anaphor. We propose that the Available Attachment Points in Segmented Discourse Representation Theory is required to find the possible attachment sites and that Maximize Discourse Coherence is used to identify the most suitable attachment site from the available ones. All the NPs in the most suitable attachment site are potential antecedents to the zero anaphor. Other information, such as selectional restriction, domain knowledge and world knowledge, can help to choose the accurate antecedent, or perform a summation of the discourse referents when there is a lexical entry in the discourse which requires the ZA to have a plural antecedent.



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Title: Learning Chinese: Linguistic, sociocultural, and narrative perspective

Ed. by: Patricia Duff

          Timothy anderson

          Roma Llnyckyj

Series: Trends in Applied Linguistics

Publication Year: 2013

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter

The acquisition of Mandarin Chinese, one of the most important and widely spoken languages in the world today, is the focus of this innovative study. It describes the rise of Chinese as a global language and the many challenges and opportunities associated with learning it. The collaborative, multiple-case study and cross-case analysis is presented from three distinct but complementary theoretical and analytic perspectives: linguistic, sociocultural, and narrative. The book reveals fascinating dimensions of Chinese language learning based on vivid first-person accounts (with autobiographical narratives included in the book) of adults negotiating not only their own and others' language and literacy learning, but also their identities, communities, and trajectories as users of Chinese.