1st Edition

Nouns and Verbs in Chinese I Facts and Theories

By Shen Jiaxuan Copyright 2023
    312 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    As the first volume of a two-volume set that re-examines nouns and verbs in Chinese, this book proposes the verbs-as-nouns theory, corroborated by discussions of the nature and relationship between nouns and verbs in Chinese.

    Seeking to break free from the shackles of Western linguistic paradigms largely based on Indo-European languages and to a great extent inappropriate for Chinese, this two-volume study revisits the nature of nouns and verbs and relevant linguistic categories in Chinese to unravel the different relationships between nouns and verbs in Chinese, English, and other languages. It argues that Chinese nouns and verbs are related inclusively rather than in the oppositional pattern found in Indo-European languages, with verbs included in nouns as a subcategory. Preliminary to the core discussion on the verbs-as-nouns framework, the author critically engages with the issues of word classes and nominalization, as well as problems with the analysis of Chinese grammar due to the noun-verb distinction. Through linguistic comparisons, the following chapters look into noticeable differences between Chinese and English, the referential and predicative natures of nouns and verbs, the asymmetry of the two, and the referentiality of predicates in Chinese.

    The volume will be a must-read for linguists and students studying Chinese linguistics, Chinese grammar, and contrastive linguistics.

    1. Introduction: Between Discarding and Recovering  2. Breaking with Earlier Assumptions  3. The Problems  4. The Verbs-as-Nouns Framework in Chinese  5. Realizational Relations and Constitutive Relations  6. The Asymmetry Between Nouns and Verbs  7. The Referentiality of Predicates


    Shen Jiaxuan is Professor of Linguistics at Institute of Linguistics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. His main research interests include contrastive studies between Chinese and English and grammatical theories.