1st Edition

Semantics of Chinese Questions An Interface Approach

By Hongyuan Dong Copyright 2019
    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    Semantics of Chinese Questions is the first major study of Chinese questions, especially wh-questions, within the framework of Alternative Semantics.

    It takes an interface approach to study the syntax, semantics, and phonology of questions and proposes a phonological scope-marking strategy in Chinese questions, based upon experimental data. It also incorporates historical linguistic data regarding the grammaticalization of sentence-final particles such as –ne and –ma to study the formal diachronic semantics of questions. Primarily suitable for scholars in the field of Chinese linguistics, this book makes new theoretical contributions to the study of questions.

    List of illustrations



    List of symbols

    List of abbreviations

    Chapter 1 Introduction

      1. Main ideas
      2. Questions and Chinese questions
      3. The meaning of questions
      4. Inquisitive semantics
      5. Chapter overview

    Chapter 2 LF Movement and Binding in Chinese Questions

    2.1 Chinese wh-in-situ

    2.2 The LF movement theory

    2.3 The binding theory

    2.4 The status of the particle –ne

    2.5 The diachronic semantics of the particle –ne

    Chapter 3 Alternative Semantics of Questions in Chinese

    3.1 The alternative semantics theory

    3.2 Manner and causal wh-questions

    3.3 Verbal "zenme" questions

    3.4 A-not-A questions

    3.5 Alternative questions

    3.6 Polar questions

    3.7 The grammaticalization of the particle –ma

    3.8 Alternative semantics and inquisitive semantics

    Chapter 4 Scope Marking of Questions by Phonological Prominence

    4.1 Scope marking of questions phonologically in Chinese

    4.2 Experimental data for the scope-marking strategy

    4.3 Cross-linguistic comparisons of scope marking of wh-questions

    4.4 Focus and wh-pronouns

    4.5 Scope isomorphism of focus and its computational derivation

    Chapter 5 Revisiting the Argument–Adjunct Asymmetry

    5.1 Argument–adjunct asymmetry of Chinese wh-in-situ

    5.2 The nominal–adverbial asymmetry

    5.3 Operator movement and its problems

    5.4 A correlational account of island sensitivity

    5.5 A phonological reason for adjoining to scope positions

    5.6 Island constraints of A-not-A questions explained

    Chapter 6 A Distributional Account of Existential Wh-indefinites

    6.1 Distributions of interrogative and existential wh-indefinites

    6.2 Alternative semantics and existential readings of wh-indefinites

    6.3 Syntactic and phonological factors that disfavor existential readings

    6.4 Pragmatic reasoning and licensors of existential readings

    6.5 Scope variability of Chinese existential wh-indefinites

    Chapter 7 Concluding Remarks

    7.1 Theoretical contributions of the interface approach

    7.2 Limitations and further research directions





    Hongyuan Dong is Assistant Professor of Chinese Language and Linguistics in the Department of East Asian Languages & Literatures at the George Washington University.