Pragmatic interpretations of structural topics and relativization in Chinese

Chen P. (1996) Pragmatic interpretations of structural topics and relativization in Chinese. Journal of Pragmatics, 26 3: 389-406. doi:10.1016/0378-2166(95)00042-9

Author Chen P.
Title Pragmatic interpretations of structural topics and relativization in Chinese
Journal name Journal of Pragmatics   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0378-2166
Publication date 1996-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/0378-2166(95)00042-9
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 26
Issue 3
Start page 389
End page 406
Total pages 18
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 1203 Design Practice and Management
3205 Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
3310 Linguistics and Language
Abstract The correlation between the topic construction and the relative construction has long been observed in the literature. This paper demonstrates that, in Chinese, this correlation is best accounted for not in terms of the syntactic characterization, but in terms of the pragmatic interpretation of the syntactic topic involved. Specifically, independent of the syntactic characterization of the topic construction in question, three pragmatic interpretations of syntactic topic are identified in Chinese, namely, instance topic, frame topic, and range topic, each characterized by its special thematic structuring of the topic construction involved. It is established that whether and how the topic construction can be converted into a relative construction in Chinese depends crucially upon the differentiation between the three types of pragmatic interpretation of syntactic topic. The findings reported here suggest that what is defined as a syntactic topic does not constitute a homogeneous grammatical function in Chinese. They may also suggest further investigations of how the pragmatic differentiations of syntactic topic relate to other grammatical processes in Chinese, and whether and how such differentiations are established in other languages.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Scopus Import - Archived
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 10 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 14 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Tue, 14 Jun 2016, 15:33:41 EST by System User