Prosodic Syntax in Chinese : History and Changes book cover
1st Edition

Prosodic Syntax in Chinese
History and Changes

ISBN 9780367728991
Published December 18, 2020 by Routledge
262 Pages

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Book Description

In the two volumes of Prosodic Syntax in Chinese, the author develops a new model, which proposes that the interaction between syntax and prosody is bi-directional and that prosody can not only constrains syntactic structures but also activates syntactic operations. All of the facts investigated in Chinese provide new perspectives for linguistic theories as well as the insights into the nature of human languages. The subtitles of the two volumes are Theory and Facts and History and Change respectively, with each focusing on different topics (though each volume has both theoretical and historical descriptive concerns).
In this volume, the author first introduces the relevant theories and concepts of Metrical Phonology, Prosodic Phonology and Formal Syntax, and formulates the Government-based Nuclear Stress Rule in Chinese which can explain how and why Mandarin Chinese sentences are structured in a particular way. It is proposed that prosody can not only blocks the legitimate syntactic structures but also activates the potential syntactic operations. The former can be seen from the ungrammatical sentences that are caused by the inoperable NSR in these structures while the latter can be seen from sentences that are derived from syntactic movements which, however, are operable only when being motivated by prosody. 

Table of Contents

List of tables

List of abbreviations


Chapter 1 Word Order Change and Stress Shift

Chapter 2 Prosodic Structure and the Origin of bei Constructions

Chapter 3 Prosodic Structure and the Birth of ba Constructions

Chapter 4 Prosodically Constrained Localizers in Classical and Modern Chinese

Postscript to the Chinese Edition



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Feng Shengli is Professor of Chinese Linguistics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His research interests include prosodic syntax, poetic prosody, historical syntax and exegesis.