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On the Unselectiveness of Subject and Object in Mandarin Chinese

Author: YuanYe
Tutor: NingChunYan
School: Hunan University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: unselectiveness subject object thematic role PASSIVE
CLC: H146
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2004
Downloads: 212
Quote: 1
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This thesis is devoted to seek the syntactic account for the unselectiveness of subject and object in Mandarin Chinese. The linguistic data dealt with in this work is the array of phenomena in Mandarin Chinese that an action verb in Mandarin Chinese can freely take an agent, an instrument, a time or a location etc. as surface subject, and an instrument, a location, a time, or a manner etc. as surface object. In other words, nominals bearing almost any thematic role can be the subject and object of a Chinese sentence. Within the framework of Generative Grammar, and in the light of Universal Grammar, we obtain an account that is parallel to English Dative Shift: First, it is confirmed that the nominals in focus are real syntactic subject and object other than adverbial elements; Then, scrutiny on the relevant facts reveal that there exists transformational relation between the unselective expressions and the sentences with an agent subject and a patient object with a prepositional phrase; In consequence, we postulate an underlying structure on a par with English dative structures, that is, a VP Shell with a prepositional phrase as complement within which the non-agent or non-patient nominal originates; Next, the derivation process is proposed to proceed under the mechanism of PASSIVE which involves two central effects-withdrawal of Case from a complement position, and suppression of thematic role assignment to a subject position, and it is illustrated by numerous instances of unselective subject and object; It is also shown that this transformational analysis is highly explanatory for the linguistic facts in this respect; Finally, a comparative study is carried out on English Dative Shift and Chinese unselectiveness, and the distinct behavior of V Reanalysis is clarified, then we go on to extend the discussion to some constructions which all involve PASSIVE as a central effect. By the argumentation, we manage to bring the explanation of unselectiveness of subject and object in mandarin Chinese within the scope of the established theoretical principles.

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CLC: > Language, writing > Chinese > Grammar > Modern,modern syntax
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