LSCHL 15: Topics, Topic Chains, and Null Subjects Interpretation in Mandarin Chinese

Artikel-Nr.: ISBN 9783969392072
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Topics, Topic Chains, and Null Subjects Interpretation in Mandarin Chinese
Marco Casentini
University of Verona
The present analysis builds upon and extends proposals from recent research regarding the interpretation of null subjects (NSs) in consistent and partial NS languages. These proposals suggest that the interpretation of a NS depends on its connection to a specific type of Topic, notably the Aboutness-Shift Topic (A-Topic), which initiates a Topic chain (cf. Frascarelli 2007). The investigation seeks to determine: (i) whether NSs in Chinese are interpreted within a topical chain headed by an A-Topic, and (ii) if different types of Topics occupy distinct positions in the left periphery of sentences and exhibit specific prosodic features, despite the tonal nature of Chinese. This work will present an analysis demonstrating the necessity of distinguishing between Aboutness-Shift, Contrastive, and Given Topics in Chinese, based on a prosodic and contextual examination of 852 tokens obtained from an oral production experiment specifically designed for this study, in addition to data from the analysis of two unscripted interviews. The collected data will also be analyzed to establish the existence of a Topic hierarchy in Chinese. Additionally, the data will demonstrate that even in a radical NS language like Mandarin Chinese, NSs rely on a linking relation with the A-Topic heading a Topic chain.
ISBN 9783969392072. LINCOM Studies in Chinese Linguistics 15. 93pp. 2024.
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