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LINGUIST List 16.2325

Wed Aug 03 2005

Diss: Discourse Analysis/Syntax: Wang: 'A Corpus- ...'

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        1.    Jianhong Wang, A Corpus-Based Discourse Analysis of the Bei-Construction in Chinese Written Discourse: a study with special reference to the be-passive in English


Message 1: A Corpus-Based Discourse Analysis of the Bei-Construction in Chinese Written Discourse: a study with special reference to the be-passive in English
Date: 03-Aug-2005
From: Jianhong Wang <jhwangsuyahoo.com>
Subject: A Corpus-Based Discourse Analysis of the Bei-Construction in Chinese Written Discourse: a study with special reference to the be-passive in English


Institution: Ball State University
Program: Department of English
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2005

Author: Jianhong Wang

Dissertation Title: A Corpus-Based Discourse Analysis of the Bei-Construction
in Chinese Written Discourse: a study with special
reference to the be-passive in English

Linguistic Field(s): Discourse Analysis
Semantics
Syntax

Subject Language(s): Chinese, Mandarin (CHN)
English (ENG)


Dissertation Director(s):
Elizabeth M. Riddle

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation is a corpus-based analysis of the bei-construction in
Chinese written dicourse with special reference to the English be-passive.
It provides both quantitative and qualitative analyses of the
distributions and discourse functions of the affectedness, sense of
adversity, old vs. new NP status, agency and the humanness of the patient
and agent within and across a large variety of genres, registers text types
from the one-million word English FROWN corpus and the corresponding
one-million word Chinese LCMC corpus.

I propose a unitary functional analysis of the bei-construction in that the
use of the bei-construction is motivated by the cognitive role prominence
of the patient NP referent in a situation. Values for the semantic,
pragmatic and discourse factors listed above contribute to the role
prominence required for use of the bei-construction. Syntactically, the
patient and agent NPs (when an agent NP is present) are in marked
positions, which makes them both textually salient and highligts their
respective patient and agent properties, in contrast to the unmarked order.
In agentless structures, the patient property is even more prominent.

How the bei-construction compares to the English be-passive semantically
and functionally is also explored. It is argued that the two constructions
share the function of expressing role prominence of the referent of the
patient NP, but they differ in the extent to which particular pragmatic
factors contribute to that role prominence. In Chinese, the
bei-construction is relatively more strongly associated with the expression
of personal emotional attitude than with objective management of
information flow. The English be-passive, in contrast, is used relatively
more frequently than the bei-construction is in Chinese for objective
dicourse flow consideration.


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