Journal of Chinese Linguistics Vol.50 – 2022

Volume 50, No 1

Message from the Editors 编辑寄语

Welcome to the first issue of Journal of Chinese Linguistics (JCL) in 2022. We are pleased to announce the launch of a new section called Insight which includes two articles. Special thanks go to Prof. Yafei Li for serving as editor of Insight. It is our goal that the Insight section becomes a forum for constructive exchanges of different ideas and views.

Another important announcement is that we are publishing a third issue, scheduled to appear in October 2022. The additional issue of JCL enables more accepted papers to get published without waiting too long.

We’d like to thank colleagues who reviewed one or more papers for JCL during the period from December 2020 to November 2021. Their names are listed on the next page. Thank you for your support.

We wish everyone a very Happy New Year!


Shengli and Virginia

December 2021

Article 文章

Abstract 摘要

This study investigates to what extent English-speaking learners of L2 Chinese can establish form and meaning connections in their L2 acquisition of the Chinese sentence-final question particle ba (baq) and suggestion particle ba (bas). As features of the baq and the bas in Chinese are configured differently in English, successful acquisition of baq and bas by English speakers requires reconfigurations. An acceptability judgment task, a dialogue completion task, a sentence assembly task, and a translation task were adopted in the study. Results obtained from 58 English-speaking learners of Chinese (at intermediate and advanced levels) show that learners do not have much difficulty in reconfiguring features attached to the bas and the form-meaning connections are established early and easily. In contrast, they show great difficulty in reconfiguring features on the baq. It is argued that the reconfiguration of features is a prerequisite for the successful form-meaning mapping in L2 grammars and that the ‘one-to-many’ form-meaning mapping imposes great difficulties for L2 learners.




Keywords 关键词

Sentence-final particle Form-meaning mapping Syntactic and discourse features English-speakers’ L2 Chinese

末助词 式-语义映射 法和语篇特征 语母语者

Abstract 摘要

In the Chinese art song repertoire, “How can I help but think of you” has long enjoyed enormous prestige since its publication in the 1920s. The song is memorable not only because of its innovative use of language by Liu Bannong in the lyrics but also because of the ingenious arrangement of tonalities, forms, and melodies by Chao Yuen Ren in the music. This essay will be devoted to a cultural and empirical analysis of the song, with the aim of understanding the efforts made by eminent scholars at the early stage of modernization of Chinese music and language. To this end, we will first explore how the lyrics are structured phonetically and syntactically. Tonal complexity and ambiguity in the music will then be analyzed, followed by the discussion of qǐ-chéng-zhuǎn-hé in the musical form. The pentatonicism embedded in the song and its relationship with what generally makes music “sound Chinese” will also be examined. In the end, we will also review an essential concept, yìjìng (or mindscape), in Chinese aesthetics and philosophy to better appreciate how various components in the music and lyrics together contribute to the aesthetic success of the song.




Keywords 关键词

Ambiguity Modulation -chéng-zhuǎn-hé Pentatonic Yìjìng (Mindscape)

承转合 声调式

Abstract 摘要

Mandarin Chinese has a modifier [V-de X] construction with a cluster of properties: X is both syntactically and semantically a predicate of the event denoted by V, unique per clause and demonstrably in the complement position of V. Whereas these properties collectively set X apart from postverbal adverbials in European languages, X not only can be interpreted as if it were one of a wide range of adverb classes but also interacts with actual preverbal adverbials of certain types and yields a minimality effect. We present an explanation that makes use of the probe-goal theory of syntactic dependencies and the association of adverb classes adv to their corresponding licensing heads H. It will be shown that the morpheme –de embodies agreement between adv and H. When coupled with a strict Kayne-style clausal structure that Chinese has, this characterization of –de helps explain all the properties of the modifier [V-de X] construction.


传统语法中描写性补语结构[V-de X]中的X有一系列区别于印欧语中动词后副词的特征:X是谓词性成分,语义上描述事件的特征,这些特征不仅限于表示频率、方式和结果等对应于印欧语言中低位副词的特征,也可指事件施事者特征及对事件的评论等高位副词特征;在句法上X是动词V的唯一补足语。在此基础上,本文发现此结构中动词前出现A-de类副词时,A-de类副词只能是比X更高位的副词而不能是更低位的副词,本文认为这是极近效应的作用,并用目标‒探针理论对这种现象进行了解释:语素de语义上表修饰,句法上激发修饰语A/X(探针)与核心词H(目标)之间一致关系的确立,位于X的C-统治域内的低位副词A会阻断X搜寻到相对应的核心词H因而产生极近效应。


Keywords 关键词

Probe-goal Minimality Modification V-de Adverbial

标–探针理论 近效应 饰关系 V-de

Abstract 摘要

This study investigated the relationship between two critical cognitive factors in constructing alternative ba sentences and SVO sentences in Mandarin Chinese: locality effects that predict a processing advantage for sentences where distances between syntactically related words are minimized, and predictability that predicts heavy processing difficulty for a word when its possibility of occurrence is low. Locality effects were measured by dependency distance and predictability was quantified by n-gram surprisal and Dependency Grammar (DG) surprisal. The results showed that locality effects and predictability co-exist in sentence construction: (a) there is a competitive relationship between dependency distance and n-gram surprisal in constructing naturally occurring ba sentences and the corresponding SVO sentences; (b) the competition between dependency distance and n-gram surprisal was also found in constructing ba sentences and SVO sentences respectively; (c) there is a competitive relationship between dependency distance and n-gram surprisal as well as a competitive relationship between dependency distance and DG surprisal in constructing naturally occurring ba sentences and ba sentences converted from SVO sentences. It is worth noting that, in some cases, dependency distance and DG surprisal cooperate with each other. These findings have important implications for theories of language production and cognition.


本文基于普通话中能相互变换的把字句及主动宾句,探讨局域效应与预测性两个认知因素在句式构建中的关系。局域效应指出有句法关系的词之间的距离越小,句子越容易处理;预测性则指出单词出现的可能性越小,处理难度越大。本文以依存距离衡量局域效应,以n元惊异值和依存句法惊异值衡量预测性。研究结果显示,在句式构建过程中,局域效应与预测性共存:(1) 依存距离与n元惊异值在构建把字句与同义主动宾句时存在竞争关系;(2) 这种竞争关系也分别出现在把字句及主动宾句的构建过程中;(3) 依存距离与n元惊异值以及依存距离与依存句法惊异值在构建自然出现的把字句与由主动宾句转换得到的把字句时也有竞争关系。值得一提的是,依存距离与依存句法惊异值在某些情况下存在合作关系。这些发现对语言产出和认知理论具有重要意义。


Keywords 关键词

Locality effects Predictability Competitive relationship Language production Processing difficulty

域效应 测性 争关系 言产出 理难度

Abstract 摘要

-Haa5 (吓) ‘a bit’ is a frequently used affix attached to verbal and adjectival phrases in Cantonese. The investigation of the distributions, grammatical properties and functions of -haa5 reveals that all usages of -haa5 are derived from its original meaning ‘a stroke, a bit, or a tiny amount’. The distributions of -haa5 are highly restricted: predicates eligible to co-occur with –haa5 are verbs/adjectives with an innate event/degree argument, excluding those whose semantics are of extreme/polarity reading. The function of -haa5 is to delimit events when following verb phrases (henceforth VPs) and make slight adjustments of degree when attached to adjective phrases (henceforth APs). Moreover, -haa5 is of the function of subjectivity encoding. -Haa5 has been grammaticalized from a verb classifier, event delimiter/degree adjuster to a subjectivity marker and is syntactically at the left periphery of the extended projection of predicative lexical categories.




Keywords 关键词

Cantonese –haa5Event Degree Subjectivity Left-peripheral marker

语“-吓” 观性 缘标记

Abstract 摘要

Nie 乜, the merging syllable of renjia 人家, is a pronoun in northwestern dialect and an obviative or middle demonstrative pronoun in some dialects of Shandong province. In Wuji County of Hebei province, which is located between northwestern China and Shandong province, nie is both personal and neutral demonstrative pronoun. This regional distribution reflects not only the conceptual cognitive mapping of personal register and demonstrative register of Chinese dialects, but also the evolution of nie from personal pronoun to demonstrative pronoun. The evolution results from the generalization of nie from referent to object. And the mapping of the two conceptual registers makes the demonstrative pronoun system develop into “proximate, middle and obviative” in some dialects. Thus nie evolved into an obviative or middle demonstrative pronoun.




Keywords 关键词

Nie” Pronoun Demonstrative pronoun Generalization of anaphora Transition

“乜” 称代词 代词 指泛化

Abstract 摘要

Embodiment has been the tenet of several linguistic theories accounting for how language conceptualizes cognitive and bodily experiences. Studies on linguistic synesthesia and sensory lexicon strengthened the embodiment account by showing that the mapping patterns amongst sense modalities likewise exhibited a tendency from the more embodied to the less embodied. This paper reports a corpus-based study of gustatory vocabulary in Mandarin Chinese to explore the interaction between embodied senses and conceptual embodiment. We first observed that the perception of 辣 ‘spicy’ and 麻 ‘numbing’ was chemesthesis derived from a chemical reaction from the body. In addition, the concept of taste was found capable of being depicted by variegated non-taste lexical items from less embodied sensory domains. This study posits that gustatory properties as abstract cognitive categories are likely to be derived from more embodied senses, yet when the quality of gustatory sensation is the focus, less embodied senses can be adopted to modify it. Corroborated with other recent studies, this study underlines and clarifies the role of embodiment as a versatile tool of linguistic conceptualization among multiple conceptual layers instead of being a fixed set of conceptual objects to select from.


具身认知(Embodiment)是研究人类语言概念表征的重要途径。前人对语言中的通感(linguistic synesthesia)及感官词汇的实证研究发现感官之间会因感官体验(bodily sensation)程度的不同呈现不同的映射规律。一般来说感官体验度较高(more embodied)的感官(如触觉、味觉)会更趋向于映射至体验度较低(less embodied)的感官(如视觉、听觉等)。本文基于语料库对汉语味觉词汇进行详尽考察,并对感官体验与具身认知问题展开讨论。我们主要分析两种现象:1)从生理学角度看不属于味觉感知的“辣”和“麻”长期被汉语母语者视为味觉;2)汉语母语者在描述食物味道时,会使用大量不属于味觉的其他感官词汇,而这些词汇有些更是来自感官体验度较低的感官。本文提出,味觉作为较为抽象的认知范畴,可借助感官体验度较高的词汇对其进行描述;但当人们需要强调味觉特性时,体验度较低的感官词汇同样也可对味觉加以表达。本文的分析进一步说明了具身认知对语言概念化研究的多重功能。


Keywords 关键词

Embodiment Mandarin gustatory vocabulary Linguistic synesthesia Sensory modality

身认知 语味觉词汇 官体验

Abstract 摘要

In the history of Chinese general language, with the back vowel raised chain shift, the front vowel raised chain shift occurred in the early period of the Middle Ancient. This front raising is a push chain started slightly later than the back vowel raised chain shift which also happened in the Eastern Han Dynasty. Comparing the front and back vowel raised chain shift, the symmetrical and non-symmetric sound-change output patterns can be observed. A series of vowel rephonologization resulted from front vowel raised chain shift was characterized by the differentiation and merging of rhyme groups Ge11 Ge33, ZhiGe22, and Zhi22 Zhi11, which formed Ma-Er 麻二, Jia 佳, Jie 皆, Ma-San 麻三, Zhi 支, Zhi 脂, and Qi 齐 rhymes in the Middle Ancient with fronting and collaboration of rhyme groups Wei11 Wei22 and Zhi 之. As for the patterns in Qieyun 切韵 of rhymes, Jia 佳 and Qi 齐 were shaped in Liu Song Dynasty, while the formation of Jie 皆 rhyme was after the Liu Song, and the Zhi 支 and Zhi 脂 rhymes were not earlier than the Jin Dynasty. The form of front vowel raised chain shift is incomplete and belongs to localized chain shift. The structural adjustment of Chinese vowel system occurred after the start of the long vowel raising and before the completion of the short vowel lengthening.




Keywords 关键词

Sound change Front vowel raised chain shift Rephonologization Vowel system configuration Phonology of Middle Ancient Chinese

高化链移 系重组 音系统构型 古音系

Insight 洞悟与心得

Abstract 摘要



Keywords 关键词

感实验 歌结构

Abstract 摘要

本文讨论与结果句相关的三个难题。其中一个是由众所周知的可在普通话结果句中观察到的定指效应(definiteness effect)构成的。另外两个难题涉及粤语和普通话之间的差异,其一涉及两种语言之间的词序差异,另一个则与两种语言在定指性上的差异有关,即在粤语中似乎无法观察到普通话中存在的定指效应。为了解释词序差异,我们提出处所介词短语在粤语中处于VP内的位置,而它在普通话中则为高阶施用短语(high applicative)。至于定指效应,我们提出包含不定DP的表达结果意涵的结构不同于包含有定DP的结构,即前者为范围短语(extent phrase),而非纯粹的结果结构,在句法上嵌于VP结构内。照此逻辑,所谓粤语中没有定指效应的说法就无法成立了。正如普通话,粤语中带不定宾语的结果句的深层结构(base structure)也不同于带有定宾语的结果句。换言之,两种语言在此方面并无差异。产生此种误解的根源在于,在粤语中,两种结构中的处所介词短语都处于结构中较低的位置,深层结构中存在的差异无法于表层结构中显现出来,因此产生了粤语中不存在定指效应的假象。


Keywords 关键词

果短语 通话 较句法 指效应

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