Edited by K.K. Luke and Mei Fang
[Chinese Language and Discourse 12:1] 2021
► pp. 109–134
Cross-linguistic studies on co-production of syntactic units and compound sentence formats have found that the location of predicates affects the projectability of the language, in that languages like English allow early projections while languages like Japanese later projections. In Mandarin Chinese, we found that syntactic parallelism often occurs before co-constructions, impacting the projectability of syntactic structures in one way or another. Based on the theories of dialogic syntax (Du Bois 2007, 2014) and the principles of interactional linguistics, this study explores the relationship between syntactic parallelism and co-production of syntactic structures across turns. The co-production of four syntactic and sentential structures were closely examined, namely, Copula V + Complement, (be) Adjectival Predicate, the conditional IF X THEN Y construction (如果 ruguo……就/会 jiu/hui……), and compound sentences with to-clause of purpose. Also observed is the emergent new sequence as interactionally relevant syntax. Upon inspection, we found that turn units with parallel syntactic structures may help narrow down the category of the projected final component, thus inspiring the second speaker to come in early and jointly complete the syntax-in-progress. Apart from co-producing syntax-in-progress, co-produced structures can also develop into interactionally relevant sequences with independent internal structures, thereby executing new social actions.