Logical Relations in Chinese and the Theory of Grammar

C.-T. J. Huang, 1982

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The nature of Logical Form is studied through an examination of the syntax and semantics of a range of constructions in Chinese that pertain to scope phenomena, anaphora, and the syntax of empty categories.

At a descriptive level, we provide an extensive account of Chinese quantificational sentences, wh questions, A-not-A questions and cleft sentences.  Several aspects of anaphora are also discussed.  At the theoretical level, we consider what the observed facts would mean for an optimal theory of Universal Grammar (UG) and linguistic typology.

An important intuition captured in traditional treatments of scope phenomena is that the surface order among quantifiers corresponds directly to their scope order in LF.  A direct formulation of this idea is a principle of scope assignment, however, has been found to be insufficient in important respects.  Certain recent accounts have now abandoned this idea, thus treating scope order of elements in simple sentences as essentially free.  Consideration of na important typological distinction between Chinese and English, however, suggests that the more recent accounts are quite defective: while English exhibits scope ambiguity over a wide variety of construction types, Chinese does not.  We propose to incorporate and modify the traditional idea as a principle of UG and explain the typological difference by the postulation of Restructure a, which applies freely in the construction types in question in English, but not in Chinese, due to an independent language-specific phrase structure principle.

A comparison of certain facts of anaphora in English and Chinese shows some problems with the binding theory.  We propose a minimal modification of the notion of governing category.  The “pro-drop” phenomenon in Chinese is examined, as well as certain facts concerning pronominal anaphora.  Some similarities and differences between coreference and pronominal binding are also discussed.

The bounding theory embodying Subjacency and a condition on extraction domain is observed to obtain only in Syntax, not in LF.  The Empty Category Principle (ECP) is shown to obtain both in SS and LF.  Although Chinese lacks a full range of standard ECP effects, we argue on learnability grounds not to take the ECP as a parameter, but as a property of UG.  This assumption is suppoted by our analysis of a range of data concerning an important argument/adjunct asymmetry under movement both at SS and at LF.  Our account thus treats familiar subject/object asymmetries as but a special case of a more complement/non-complement asymmetry.

Thesis Supervisor:         Kenneth Hale

Title:                             Ferrari P. Ward Professor

Table of Contents

Chapter 1         Overview                                                                                 9

Chapter 2         Phrase Structures and the X’ Theory                                         25

            2.0       Introduction                                                                              25

            2.1       Basic structural patterns                                                            26

            2.2       Autonomous typology and X’ typology                         32
            2.3       Head-initial constructions                                                          41

            2.4       Head-final constructions                                                            61

                        2.4.1    Noun phrases                                                               61

                        2.4.2    Predicates                                                                    73

            2.5       Quantifier phrases and supersentences                           79

                        2.5.1    Quantifier phrases                                                         79

                        2.5.2    Supersentences                                                 83

                           Complementizers                                              83

                           Topic-comment and topicalized sentences         86

Footnotes                                                                                                         90

Chapter 3         Phrase Structures and Scope Relations                          109

            3.0       Introduction                                                                              109

            3.1       Scope relations                                                             110

            3.2       Characterizing scope relations                                       124

                        3.2.1    Linear representations                                                   124

                        3.2.2    Hierarchical representations                                          126

                        3.2.3    Comparing the two approaches                         132

            3.3       On the notion of configurationality                                             152

                        3.3.1    Scrambling and its correlates                                         152

                        3.3.2    “Flat” vs. configurational structures                                155

                        3.3.3    A government theory of configurationality                      159

                        3.3.4    The sentential structure of Chinese                                 166

Footnotes                                                                                                         173

Chapter 4         Some Mappings in LF                                                              185

            4.0       Introduction                                                                              185

            4.1       Quantificational sentences                                                         187

                        4.1.1    Sentences with Q-NPs contained in Other Q-NPs        187

                           Sentential scope and NP-internal scope 187

                           Two theories of NP-internal quantification         192

                           NP-internal scope and the syntactic nature

of LF                                                                196

                           An account of the Chinese/English contrasts      202

                        4.1.2    Other quantificational sentences                         235

            4.2       Wh questions                                                                            251

                        4.2.1    Wh words as Q-NPs                                                    251

                        4.2.2    Move Wh in Chinese                                                    254

                        4.2.3    The wide scope property of wh words              263

            4.3       Conjunction, disjunction and A-not-A questions                        269

                        4.3.1    Conjunction                                                                  269

                        4.3.2    Disjunction                                                                   275

                        4.3.3    A-not-A questions                                                        277

                        4.3.4    A note on non-objectual quantification               286

            4.4       Cleft sentences                                                             289

                        4.4.1    The construction                                                           289

                        4.4.2    An LF account of clefts                                     292

                        4.4.3    On the analysis of SHI                                      299

Footnotes                                                                                                         307

Chapter 5         Anaphora and Binding                                                  315

            5.0       Intoduction                                                                               315

            5.1       How the Binding Theory works                                     317

            5.2       Some problems with the Binding Theory                                    323

            5.3       A modification                                                              336

            5.4       On PRO in Chinese and the pro-drop parameter                       348

                        5.4.1    The distribution PRO: some problems               348

                        5.4.2    The Pro-drop principle                                     365

            5.5       On the non-coreference rule                                                      377

                        5.5.1    Coreference and referential dependency                        377

                        5.5.2    Pronoun anaphora in Chinese                                        388

            5.6       Definite pronoun anaphora and pronominal binding                    400

                        5.6.1    Some similarities                                                           400

                        5.6.2    Some properties of pronominal binding              406

                        5.6.3    Why the properties of pronominal binding                      426

Footnotes                                                                                                         439

Chapter 6         Move a, Subjacency and the ECP                                            450

            6.0       Introduction                                                                              450

            6.1       Subjacency                                                                               455

            6.2       The Empty Category Principle                                       470

            6.3       On Kayne’s ECP extensions                                                     482

                        6.3.1    Kayne’s reformulation                                       482

                        6.3.2    Some problems with Kayne’s ECP                               488

            6.4       The condition on extraction domain                                           503

Footnotes                                                                                                         515

Chapter 7         Further Extensions of the ECP                                      524

            7.0       Introduction                                                                              524

            7.1       Some island effects in LF                                                          525

            7.2       A subjacency account                                                               534

            7.3       Inadequacies of the subjacency account                                    543

            7.4       An ECP account                                                                       550

            7.5       Problems solved                                                                       565

            7.6       Some consequences                                                                 569

            7.7       Some problems raised                                                              574

Footnotes                                                                                                         581