LINGUIST List 13.1873

Mon Jul 8 2002

Qs: Chinese "ziji", Babel Myths

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Directory

  1. Tibor Kiss, Distribution of Chinese ziji in subject position
  2. Aaron Koller, Babel myths

Message 1: Distribution of Chinese ziji in subject position

Date: Mon, 08 Jul 2002 06:25:15 +0000
From: Tibor Kiss <tiborlinguistics.ruhr-uni-bochum.de>
Subject: Distribution of Chinese ziji in subject position

Hi,

I have some questions concerning Chinese reflexive ziji:

Tang (1989) claims that _ziji_ has to be interpreted as an intensifier
if it is (apparently) realized in subject position, as illustrated in
(1).

(1) Ziji mai cai.
 self buy food

So if Zhangsan says (1), this apparently cannot mean that Zhangsan
will buy food. (Tang assumes that ziji does not occupy the subject
position but is adjoined to the empty (dropped) subject of the
clause.)

I was not able to find further discussion on ziji in subject position
and would be happy to an answer to the following question: can ziji be
logophorically used in subject position (similar, e.g. to Portuguese
ele prĂ³prio)?

A related question: It is well-known that ziji can be related to an
experiencer object if it is contained in a theme-subject, as
illustrated in (2).

(2) [Ziji de xiaohai mei de jiang de xiaoxi] shi Lisi hen nanguo.
 self DE child not get price DE news make L. very sad
 'The news that his child will not get the price makes Lisi very sad.'

Three questions:

1) Is it also possible to discourse-relate ziji in (2) instead of
coindexing it with Lisi, or do we have to use 'ta' instead?

2) Can ziji in general be realized inside subject position in Chinese,
e.g. in a translation of 'His wife is nice.'?

3) Huang/Tang (1991) claim that ziji contained in theme-subjects can
even be coindexed with the experiencer object if it is a-commanded
inside the theme, as in (3).

(3) [Zhangsan taoyan ziji de xiaoxi] shi Lisi hen nanguo.
 Zhangsan dislike self/him DE news make Lisi very sad.

Is (3) actually grammatical with a coindexing of ziji and Lisi?

Thanks for your answers.	

Tibor 
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Message 2: Babel myths

Date: Mon, 08 Jul 2002 13:48:41 +0000
From: Aaron Koller <akollersas.upenn.edu>
Subject: Babel myths

I am working on the biblical story of the Tower of Babel and its
later Jewish interpretations. I'm looking for studies on various
ancient myths/views (other than the Sumerian material) regarding the
origins of language and languages.

Thanks very much. 
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