Variability and stability in Chinese syntax
In this study I examine a large number of verbalizations in the Chinese Pear narratives and find that for each scene examined there is usually one or at most two favored and stabilized verbalizations, with variability around the stabilized forms. These favored verbalizations are the preferred states of the system for expressing concurrent events, transfer of objects, perfectivity in event construal etc., and they may be thought of as strong attractors in the behavior space in terms of complexity theory. These attractors exert a force on the grammatical system, and impose a frame on them and model the development of new forms. Further research in Chinese grammar into the wide ranging, dynamic and systematic variability as well as stability within and across individuals is urged.
Keywords: variability, variation, attractor, complexity, stability
Published online: 02 August 2013