Journal of East Asian Linguistics

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 329–366 | Cite as

Predication and information structure in Mandarin Chinese

Article

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to show that long-established insights into the close relation between predicate structure and information structure in Mandarin Chinese can account for a number of concrete observations once they are formalized. In the course of the discussion, I will develop formal definitions of the principle I refer to as the Predicate-Comment Mapping Hypothesis and of the copula and comment marker shi. After discussing how they apply to simple assertive clauses, I will show that these definitions allow us to derive the correct predictions about the differences between three different types of polarity questions—the so-called ma questions, shi-bu-shi questions and A-neg-A questions.

Keywords

Focus Polarity questions Topic comment Information structure Chinese Contrastivity Copula Clefts 

Glosses

1

first person

2

second person

3

third person

ACC

accusative

CONT

continuous

COS

change of state

DAT

Dative

DE

sentence final particle de

EXP

experiential aspect

ADV

adverbializing particle

AL

attributive linker

BA

the particle ba

CL

classifier

NEG

negation

PFV

perfective aspect

PL

plural

Q

the question particle ma

QP

a question particle other than ma

FM

focus marker

IP

interrogative particle

MASC

masculine

NA

suffix in Konni

RES

resultative

S

singular

SHI

the copula shi

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS)BerlinGermany

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