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LINGUIST List 17.1673

Sat Jun 03 2006

Diss: Syntax: Ai: 'Elliptical Predicate Constructions in Mandarin'

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        1.    Ruixi Ai, Elliptical Predicate Constructions in Mandarin

Message 1: Elliptical Predicate Constructions in Mandarin
Date: 01-Jun-2006
From: Ruixi Ai <raifas.harvard.edu>
Subject: Elliptical Predicate Constructions in Mandarin

Institution: Harvard University
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2006

Author: Ruixi Ressy Ai

Dissertation Title: Elliptical Predicate Constructions in Mandarin

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

Subject Language(s): Chinese, Mandarin (cmn)

Dissertation Director:
Cedric Boeckx
C.-T. James Huang
Andrew Nevins

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation presents a study of elliptical predicate constructions in
Mandarin Chinese (MC). Four types of VP ellipsis have been investigated
across languages. They are: (a) VPE in disguise (alternatively known as
V-Stranding VPE); (b) English-like VPE (vPE); (c) Antecedent Contained
Deletion (ACD) and (d) Pseudo-Gapping (PG). It is shown that the
distribution of these types of VPE constructions is quite impoverished in
MC. For VPE in disguise or V-Stranding VPE, its distribution can only be
detected when the object is [-animate], with the possibility of relating it
to a context called strong pragmatic control. For English-like VPE (vPE),
it is argued that shi ('be')-supported construction is not an instance of
vPE. Instead, it is an instance of deep anaphora, in the sense of Sag
(1976a), and Hankamer and Sag (1976). Genuine vPE constructions in MC,
however, do exist and they are licensed by a particular kind of modals,
which can be (sometimes) combined with certain negative morphemes. This
particular kind of modals refers to those that can indicate (epistemic or
deontic) possibility. Modals indicating (epistemic or deontic) necessity,
on the other hand, cannot license vPE in MC. ACD constructions are also
limited in MC due to: (a) the limited distribution of VPE constructions in
MC; (b) the limited process of relativization and (c) the peculiar
LF-reconstruction of the ellipsis site. PG is impossible in MC because the
syntactic machinery that can derive them is not available.

The study of elliptical predicate constructions in MC supports a mixed
approach in analyzing (VP) ellipsis. That is, we need both the PF-deletion
approach and the interpretive (or the LF-reconstruction/copying) approach.
The identity condition for VPE constructions is argued to be LF-structural
identity of predicates.

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