LSCHL 05: Elliptical Predicate Constructions in Mandarin

Artikel-Nr.: ISBN 9783895861499
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Elliptical Predicate Constructions in Mandarin

Ruixi Ressy Ai
Harvard University

This book presents a study of elliptical predicate constructions in Mandarin Chinese (MC). Four types of VP ellipsis have been investigated across languages. They are: (a) VPE in disguise (alternatively known as V-Stranding VPE); (b) English-like VPE (vPE); (c) Antecedent Contained Deletion (ACD) and (d) Pseudo-Gapping (PG). It is shown that the distribution of these types of VPE constructions is quite impoverished in MC. For VPE in disguise or V-Stranding VPE, its distribution can only be detected when the object is [-animate], with the possibility of relating it to a context called strong pragmatic control.

For English-like VPE (vPE), it is argued that shi ('be')-supported construction is not an instance of vPE. Instead, it is an instance of deep anaphora, in the sense of Sag (1976a), and Hankamer and Sag (1976). Genuine vPE constructions in MC, however, do exist and they are licensed by a particular kind of modals, which can be (sometimes) combined with certain negative morphemes. This particular kind of modals refers to those that can indicate (epistemic or deontic) possibility. Modals indicating (epistemic or deontic) necessity, on the other hand, cannot license vPE in MC. ACD constructions are also limited in MC due to: (a) the limited distribution of VPE constructions in MC; (b) the limited process of relativization and (c) the peculiar Lfreconstruction of the ellipsis site. PG is impossible in MC because the syntactic machinery that can derive them is not available.

The study of elliptical predicate constructions in MC supports a mixed approach in analyzing (VP) ellipsis. That is, we need both the PF-deletion approach and the interpretive (or the LF-reconstruction/copying) approach. The identity condition for VPE constructions is argued to be LF-structural identity of predicates.

ISBN 9783895861499. LINCOM Studies in Chinese Linguistics 05. 284pp.2008.

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