Patient-Subject Constructions in Mandarin Chinese

Syntax, semantics, discourse

| Nanyang Technological University Singapore
ISBN 9789027203403 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
ISBN 9789027262349 | EUR 99.00 | USD 149.00
As a distinctive syntactic structure in Mandarin Chinese, the Patient-Subject Construction (PSC) is one of the most interesting but least well-understood structures in the language. This book offers a comprehensive account of the history, structure, meaning and use of the PSC. Unlike previous descriptions which were framed in terms of pre-existing grammatical notions such as ‘topicalization’, ‘passivization’ and ‘ergativization’, this book offers a fresh look at the PSC, in which its syntactic and semantic as well as its discourse functions are examined within the system of major construction-types of the language as a whole. The PSC, being low in transitivity, serves primarily the function of backgrounding in discourse. Typologically, the PSC bears a resemblance to middle constructions in Indo-European and other languages, raising interesting questions about ways to understand congruent and divergent syntactic structures across the world’s languages. This book will be of interest to students of Chinese Linguistics as well as Language Typology.
[Studies in Chinese Language and Discourse, 12]  2019.  xi, 204 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction
Major chronological divisions of Chinese history
Chapter 2. Previous studies of the patient-subject construction
Chapter 3. What the PSC is not
Chapter 4. Syntactic and semantic properties of patient-subject constructions
Chapter 5. ‘Inactiveness’ and ‘backgrounding’: PSC in discourse
Chapter 6. PSC in typological perspective
Chapter 7. Summary and conclusion
Appendix I. Verbs
Appendix II. Other sources
Appendix III. Dictionary
“He’s style is lucid and highly accessible. She illustrates every point with ample examples. [...] This book will be of special interest to students of Chinese Linguistics as well as of Language Typology, as it is based on the author’s important theoretical discoveries and methodological innovations. Students and researchers of Chinese syntax and of language phenomena from a construction grammar approach are guaranteed an enlightening, and not least pleasant, reading experience.”
“On l’aura compris, cet ouvrage est une importante monographie sur les ‘constructions à sujet-patient’ et le seul à ce jour écrit dans une langue autre que le chinois, ce qui permettra à tout lecteur non sinophone de comprendre les différentes fonctions syntaxiques et sémantiques de ces CSP dont l’auteure a bien montré qu’elles doivent être considérées comme des constructions indépendantes, au même titre, entre autres, que les phrases passives, topicalisées ou autres formes à marqueur différentiel de l’objet.”


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