Volume 17, No 1
This article is to simply introduce the goals and main contents of China’s developing language planning, especially focusing on the languages and writing systems of the minority groups in China. At the end of the article are five appendices, they are, respectively, Population and Distribution of Minorities in China, Autonomous Regions and Areas of China’s Minorities, the Language of China and Their Genetic Classification, Types of Minority Language Writing Systems and Their Status, and the Status of Broadcasts in Minority Languages.
Sheng-ping Fang; Shyn-ming Chen; Kuang Mei 梅廣; Fu-wen Lin 林甫文; Jian-hua Huang
This paper proposed a default technique to enhance the efficiency of Chinese text-processing devices using the phonetic alphabet. The principal idea of the default technique is to establish a context-sensitive table of default characters for a given syllable. For example, on receiving an input string li4, the computer would search for the most likely character pronounced as such and display it in the text area, so that the user could decide whether a correction is needed. The default character is determined by the transliteration of the target character and that of its preceding character. The default for a 1i4 preceded by /ju3/ could be 例, while that for li4 preceded by /mei3/ could be 丽. If the preceding context is not included in the default table, the most frequently used li4 (i.e., 力) would be displayed as the default. The rate of successful guessing, that is, the percentage of defaults matching targets, currently averaged 83%.
Intonation interacts with tones. Generally speaking, lexical tones are influenced in their F0 movement by sentence-intonation, but contrary to Chao’s position, their basic contours are preserved. The effect of intonation on tones is manifested by the phenomenon of pitch-neutralization, but not by an addition of a directionally opposite pitch-prolongation.
The negation marker mei in Mandarin can give rise to two opposite readings when it is used with chadianr ‘almost’. The other negation marker bu creates similar ambiguity when it is preceded by intensifier hao and followed by a stative verb. By differentiating the metalinguistic function of negation markers from their descriptive, truth-functional capacity, this paper resolves the ambiguity in those two cases in terms of semantic/pragmatic notions such as conversational implicature, the entailment relation between scalarly evaluated predicates, and the Gricean Maxim of Quantity. The metalinguistic uses all point to an evaluative/expressive marking of the speaker’s involved attitude towards the referent state/event.
Chen Chung-yu 陈重瑜
This paper examines the tonal changes in the XYY and XXYY types of reduplicates between 1932 and 1963. While most of the reduplicates exhibit no particular tonal changes, a substantial minority manifest certain changes with respect to the YY syllables. The dictionaries of the 1932 system have displayed a total of 6 tonal shapes (viz. YY, Y0, 00, 10, Yl and 11) for the YY syllables, which are found to be merely transient variants in rapid speech wherein the Weak Stress has been involved. This may be comparable to the changes occurring in certain tri-syllabic words (e.g. 121 –> 111 for “西洋参”) in rapid speech. In the 1963 system, the changes stride directly into the First Tone, bypassing the turbulent intermediate stage. Such a change is apparently on the rise in the XYY reduplicates, but has declined sharply in the XXYY ones. Onomatopoeia of the colloquial stratum, reduplicated or otherwise, and certain Northern provincial reduplicates carry predominantly the First Tone. There appears to be a correlation between the First Tone reading and the highly colloquial expressions in the language. The fact that only a minority of the XYY and XXYY reduplicates have been changing into the First Tone may very well be attributed to the level of colloquialism. The First Tone readings of the reduplicates may take root and replace the original tonal category of the character, that is, when it is not in reduplication. For instance, according to the dictionary listings, characters “微, 巍, 赳 and 悄”, etc. are gradually changing into the First Tone. Transient shapes emerging in rapid speech should not be confused with, hence taken to replace, the shapes in normal speech. Therefore, apart from a small number of reduplicates wherein the YY syllables carry little or no semantic load (e.g. 羞答答, 稀刺刺), the majority in which the YY syllables do carry distinct semantic load (e.g. 绿油油, 血淋淋) should be annotated in their original tones in the dictionary. Likewise, the so-called “(lexical) Neutral Tone words” should also be annotated in their original tones. The present conception of the norms for the standard pronunciation, which underlies both the Mainland’s readiness for change and Taiwan’s resistence to change, needs revision. The Peking pronunciation should only be a starting point, but not an eternal track, for Standard Mandarin.
We first examine the particle le in Mandarin Chinese and conclude that its semantics forces us to allow the category of aspect to extend beyond the domain of Verbs. Secondly, we find that the semantics of le does not conform to the semantics of Perfective and Imperfective familiar to us from Indo-European languages. Rather, le signals the presence of an interruption, which may be, for example, the boundary of an event, the disruption which occurs upon suddenly recognizing a previously unnoticed entity, or any other circumstance appropriate to this semantics. Extending our investigation, we examine three additional particles in Mandarin Chinese: guo, zai, and zhe. Here, we find that the idea of a semantic interruption recurs, but that there is now a second semantic contrast of immediate: remote. Together, the semantics of presence and absence of interruption and the semantics of immediate: remote allow us to order the four particles into a coherent semantic system of aspect.
New Publication 新书
Volume 17, No 2
The dawn of linguistics in China can be traced to the 4th century B.C. At the time Plato was discussing the nature of words in ancient Greece, Xunzi was writing on the same topic, coming to conclusions which are remarkably similar. The first major study of linguistic geography [by Yang Xiong] was published at the beginning of the Christian era. In contrast, comparable work in linguistic geography in Europe began in the 19th century. Yang’s study was closely followed by an extensive dictionary [by Xu Shen]. Phonological studies emerged as early as in the 3rd century. Impressive results were achieved in the reconstruction of ancient pronunciations, especially toward the end of the 16th century [by Chen Di]. This was some 200 years before comparable work began in the west, with the Indo-European hypothesis. Systematic work on grammar, however, emerged in China as a result of European influence only at the end of the 19th century [by Ma Jianzhong]. The fact that the various parts of linguistics have developed in China at such different rates is related to the three most distinctive characteristics of her primary language: it is tonal, it has no inflectional morphology, and it is written with morpho-syllabic graphs.
This paper is a study of the so-called topic chain, a category that is to be considered as a discourse level phenomenon and excluded from the syntax. It will be argued in this paper that topic chain is actually a basic unit in Chinese syntax. It has all the syntactic functions normally assumed for an S’ in this language, i.e., it can be the subject, the verbal complement, the NP complement, the adverbial and the modifier of an NP in a Chinese sentence. It will also be argued that the definition for the category of topic chain should be interpreted in a more liberal way, so that certain types of topic chain will no longer be excluded. It will be demonstrated that a topic chain is not simply a coordinate construction. It is a separate category in the grammar with its own syntactic properties. Much insight could be gained by the study on this rarely mentioned category.
This paper examines various aspects of antonymous quadrinomials (AQs for short) derived from affixing the bipolar terms to a disyllabic base in Chinese, a ubiquitous device of word-formation that often escapes linguists’ attention. Two questions that are of central concern to me are: (1) How can a proper output of an AQ be derived by inputting the base to the affix? (2) In what ways is the interpretation of an AQ adequately processed? In addressing the first question I explore such issues as the formation of AQs in line with the syntactic and morphological conditions, the output condition which hinges on syntactic categories and functions, co-occurrence and selection restrictions, and the linear order constraints including those of the bipolar affix and the base and the configuration in AQs. Discussion of the second question centers around such topics as the semantics of bipolar compounds and the meaning of the base–totality, zenith and iteration–and the asymmetric behavior of AQs and bipolar compounds. The wordhood and the productivity of AQs are also looked into.
Twelve dialect maps represent the geographic variation of Guiyang dialect, spoken in Guiyan[g], Guizhou Province, China. The dialect in the Guiyang area is considered to be linguistically uniform, and have no significant differences in its subdialects. The isoglosses in the maps clearly show that the linguistics variation in this area is rather complex. In this article the mathed of subgrouping and the historical and cultural background of isolosses are also discussed.
Alain Peyraube 贝罗贝
This paper is mainly on the origin and the development of the passive bei-sentences, but the different types of other passive constructions are also traced according to their chronological order. The verb bei “to receive, to suffer, to undergo, to be affected” begins to be used, under the Han period, in the “Vi + V2” serial verb construction (where V1 = bei), by analogy with the “V1 jian + V2” structure which is common since Late Archaic Chinese, and where jian is an auxiliary verb marking the passive. Like jian, bei has then a verbal status and V2 is the object of V1. There has been a single lexical replacement: V jian > V bei. As for the “bei + Agent + V” form which becomes common only from Sui-Tang times, the “wei + Agent + V” form, widespread since the Han, could also have served as a model, but there was no single lexical replacement. A grammaticalization process intervened changing the verb bei into the preposition bei. This mechanism took place in the “V1 bei + NP-Agent + V2” serial verb construction.
本文主要讨论“被”字被动句的渊源和发展，亦按着发展的先后次序讨论其它各种不同的被动句。有“受”的意思的动词“被”在汉代开始用于“V1+V2”的连动式中（其中V1=被），这个用法是通过与“V1见+V2”结构同类的现象而实现的。而“V1见 +V2”式已普遍用于上古后期的汉语中，其中“见”是表示被动的助动词。与“见”一样，“被”是动词，而V2是V1的宾语。发生的现象是单一的词汇替代：V 见 > V 被。 从隋唐后才出现普遍的‘被+Agent+V’式。亦可能是以在汉代已常见的‘为+Agent+V’式为模范而演遍出来的。但发生的并不是单一的词汇替代，而是将动词‘被’转化为介词‘被’的语法化过程。这个规律性的变化产生在‘V1 被+NP Agent+V2’连动结构中。