Journal of Chinese Linguistics vol.1 (1973) 中国语言学报 1 卷 (1973)
Volume 1, No 1
The language and dialects of China present a complicated linguistic picture. In this article these languages are systematically classified into families and branches according to their characteristics. The simplified picture looks thus:
1.Indo-Chinese: a) Chinese, b) Kam-Tai, c) Miao-Yao, d) Tibeto-Burman;
3.Altaic: a) Turkish, b) Mongolian, c) Tungus;
4.Indo-European: Tokharian (extinct).
The syntactic characteristics of and the interplay between the perfective aspect le and its homophonous sentence particle are investigated in Mandarin. The perfective aspect is not derived in the underlying structure from the existential yǒu but is embedded under it, as are other aspects. The sentence particle is reanalyzed as an inchoative verb, which may dominate or be dominated by negation. This departure from the traditional assumption accounts systematically for the syntactic irregularities of negative sentences with the particle. Cases of indeterminacy relating to the aspect and the inchoative verb are resolved through negation. Pertinent data from Amoy and Cantonese are also discussed.
Matthew Chen 陈渊泉
The author examines the gradual attrition of the syllable final consonants (p, t, k and m, n, ) which is manifested in its various phases in a large number of contemporary Chinese dialects. The results of this case study provide a starting point for discussion on issues of general interest to a phonological theory: (1) the reality of universal metarules which define the general pattern underlying similar processes in individual languages and the margin within which these processes may vary from language to language; (2) the phonetic motivation of recurring phonological processes; (3) the concept of coherent ‘rule systems’ reflecting the functional unity of formally quite diverse rules; (4) the hypothesis of ‘latitudinal’ reconstruction based exclusively on coexisting reflexes in related languages; and (5) a standard for measuring the distance between two given phonological systems.
Traditional methods of subgrouping such as the tree method, the wave method, and the lexico-statistic method sometimes fail to apply, particularly when the material involves incomplete sound changes–changes that are still in progress or have terminated prematurely. The author proposes the diffusion overlapping method as a phono-laxico-statistic procedure of subgrouping to replace traditional methods where they do not apply or to supplement them where they do apply but the results need further confirmation. This method is based on a collorary of the concept of lexical gradualness in sound change: that the more phonological forms two or more dialects share with respect to a commonly initiated but independently executed sound change, the longer they must have developed together, and hence the more closely related they are.
Some majority and minority tendencies of tonal patterns have been obtained through the use of a computer file of 737 dialect locations. For the first time, the study statistically validates the claim that with the exception of the ‘entering tone’ the tones derived from syllables with Middle Chinese voiced initial consonants are lower than those derived from syllables with Middle Chinese voiceless initial consonants. This study also shows, among other things, that northern dialects have fewer tones and higher pitch values than southern dialects, that high tones predominate in most dialects, and that the falling tone occurs more frequently than any other tonal contour. Historical reconstruction of tones and dialect affinity are discussed in the light of these general tendencies.
It has long been apparent that Old Chinese had sets of words which were related in meaning and similar, but not identical, in sound. B. Karlgren conjectured that such ‘word families’ represented the relics of morphological processes but concluded that it was impossible to reconstruct what these processes had been. Advances in the reconstruction of Old Chinese allow us to see the nature of at least some of these processes. The best established affix is (a) the suffix *-s, which left its reflex in Middle Chinese as the departing tone. One may also recognize: (b) prefix -, cognate to Tibetan a-čhung, giving rise to alternations of voiced and voiceless obstruent initials, (c) prefix *s-, (d) prefix *r-. There were also (e) ablaut between close and open vocalic nucleous (ә/а), (f) alternation between accent on the first half or the second half of the syllable. More remote word family relationships, which cannot easily be accounted for by such morphological processes, may reflect a stage in which there were uniconsonantal root morphemes which could combine to form syllabic units. Comparisons are made to Northwest Caucasian and Indo-European.
Volume 1, No 2
A reconstruction of Ancient Chinese retroflex endings (syllable-final consonants) is proposed. The hypothesis is based on internal phonological evidence in Chinese. Assuming retroflex endings for the Tōng rime-group, we endeavor to account for the complete merger of the inner and the outer subgroups in this rime-group and some related phonological phenomena in Sino-Korean and Sino-Japanese. Supplementary dialectal evidence justifies changes from the proposed Ancient retroflexes to velars and labials in the modern dialects. Inventories of Ancient Chinese initials and finals of our latest reconstruction are attached.
Sandra A. Thompson
Tā bǎ dùzi kū-de dōu téng le He cried so much that his stomach hurt where dùzi ‘stomach’ is the underlying subject of téng ‘hurt’. Both of these types of cases can be shown to be quite regular if the semantic notion of transitivity is taken into account. In this view the direct object is the noun phrase ‘to which something is done’. Thus, júzi ‘orange’ and dùzi ‘stomach’ are both direct objects in this broader sense and may be preposed by means of a bǎ transformation. In this paper, I will show that the notion of transitivity can help to solve two otherwise anomalous problems in the description of bǎ sentences.
The reconstructed Qieyun language has long been used as the basis for Chinese dialectal comparison. The present study demonstrates that the Qieyun language is an inadequate historical reference for the comparison of the Min dialects.
John H-T. Lu 陆孝栋
This paper deals with the Verb-Verb construction in Mandarin with a directional complement. It is argued that the construction in question can be best derived through a transformation proposed here as PREDICATE-LOWERING, that certain types of constraints with regard to the semantic properties of the lexical items involved should be observable in the underlying representation, and that directional complements should be distinguished from resultative complements.
Táishān is an important dialect of the Sì-yì subgroup of the Yue dialects of China. Though not entirely mutually intelligible with Cantonese, Taishan bears great resemblance to the latter, both systematically and in terms of historical development. This report is intended to cover only its phonology. A synchronic description is first given with reference to the phonological system of Cantonese. Then certain aspects of the diachronic development of Taishan initials, finals, and tones are discussed with special reference to the phonological system of Middle Chinese as represented by Qie-yun. Parallels in Cantonese are also pointed out.
Volume 1, No 3
Hung-nin Samuel Cheung 张洪年
The BA-construction has long attracted the attention of many Chinese grammarians whose investigations and analyses have continued to improve our understanding of the nature of the construction. This paper is a review of several different treatments proposed by syntacticians and semanticists during the past decade. Their formulations and discoveries are presented together with their shortcomings. New suggestions are also made in the course of the discussion.
Middle Chinese ts- (and its voiced and aspirated counterparts) and s- can sometimes be traced back to clusters of s- plus stop, either by the evidence in O.C. phonetic series, or by comparison with Tibetan forms like st-, sd-, etc. From the first type of evidence alone, F.K. Li has reconstructed clusters like *sk-, skh- and *sg-; from similar evidence and especially from comparison with Tibetan, it is seen that *st-, and *sp- (with their voiced and aspirated counterparts) should also be set up for Old Chinese. The reason for the dual development in later Chinese of types ts- and s- is unclear, although it is possible that in some complex clusters like *skr- the stop was skipped resulting in the s- type of reflex. Clusters of s- with nasals and *sr- and *sl- are also assumed, but only dealt with here in passing. Diversity in apparently related Old Chinese forms is sometimes explainable as dialect variation, while other cases show traces of original morphological alternations as members of ‘word families’.
James H-Y. Tai 戴浩一
A general derivational constraint on the placement of predicates is proposed to account for the surface distribution of Chinese adverbials, negatives, and auxiliaries which can be appropriately derived from underlying predicates. It is observed that in Chinese, a preverbal adverbial is always understood as having the main verb in its scope, while a postverbal adverbial is never understood in this way. It will be shown that the proposed constraint and an independently motivated assumption of universal characterization of the semantic scope relation can excellently explain the facts of linear order of multiple adverbials and their corresponding semantic scope interpretations in Chinese. By assuming that the proposed constraint holds for Chinese, but not for English, it is possible to account for the differences between Chinese and English with respect to the placement of adverbials and other surface constituents which can be derived from underlying predicates.
In every Chinese dialect, there is the phenomenon of literary and colloquial readings of characters. But in Amoy, the difference of the literary versus colloquial pronunciation is so great that they might be treated as two parallel phonological systems of one language. In the present study, in addition to an observational comparison of these two systems, the date of waves of immigration from Northern China into the Southern Min area, the intersecting relationships, and the different rates of sound changes as causes of their differences, are proposed. A considerable amount of heterogeneity, as the result of the on-going process of sound change in the stop and nasal endings of the literary and colloquial Amoy, support Chen’s (1973) parallelism hypothesis of the evolution of the stop and nasal endings in Chinese dialects. They are also taken as an empirical evidence for Wang’s (1969) lexical diffusion theory.
The passive construction in Mandarin Chinese is viewed as consisting of (a) a higher sentence with the verb bèi ‘to receive’, (b) a still higher sentence with a stative verb to be realized as an adverb/auxiliary, or with the verb yǒu, to be realized as le in a positive context, (c) a resultative complement, if the higher verb is yǒu, and (d) a complement sentence embedded in the bèi- sentence. Furthermore, a feature [Passive NP-Deletion] is proposed to account for the numerous ungrammatical passive sentences which would otherwise agree with the structural analysis. Along the same lines of investigation, the English passive is examined. The analysis suggests possible directions in such areas as a systematic way of selecting the surface subject, a logical interpretation of ‘colorless’ negative passives, and a syntactic distinction between the be-passive and the get-passive.