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Object noun phrase dislocation in Mandarin Chinese Qu, Yanfeng

Abstract

This dissertation studies leftward dislocation of object Noun Phrases in Mandarin Chinese within the framework of Government and Binding theory. Although the canonical word order in Chinese is S(ubject)-V(erb)-O(bject), it also exhibits OSV and SOV word orders. After an introduction in Ch. 1, I discuss OSV constructions in Ch.2. I argue that the S-initial object NP is moved there, since its association with a gap in the canonical object position obeys the subjacency condition. Based on several diagnostic tests, I propose that Chinese has two kinds of short-distance NP fronting: one is A’-movement and the other is A-movement. Adopting the Split Infl Hypothesis, I postulate a fully articulated clause structure for Chinese. In particular, I propose that the fronted NP in A-movement lands in [Spec AgrOP] as a kind of overt raising, while the one in A’-movement further leaves that spec position and is CP-adjoined. I also examine long-distance NP fronting, showing that it is invariably A’-movement. In Ch. 3, I investigate object shift, which yields SOV constructions. I argue that this syntactic process represents a type of A-movement, not A’-movement as concluded in previous studies. Specifically, I propose that the subject NP and the object NP in this construction overtly raise to [Spec AgrSP] and [Spec AgrOP] respectively. In Ch.4, I examine the interactions between an object wh-NP and dou, the adverb of universal quantification. I propose that wh-phrases, like indefinites, can be either presuppositional or existential. If they are within VP (i.e. remain postverbal), they are subject to existential closure and get an existential/interrogative reading. If, however, they are outside VP (i.e. shifted to the left of dou), they define the range of the quantifier dou and obtain the presuppositional/universal reading. The conclusion is that there is a strict correlation between the S-structure positions of the wh-phrase and its interpretations. The exhaustive list reading of the in-situ wh-object associated with the interrogative reading is derived from the fact that it is in the scope of dou at S-structure. In Ch. 5, I summarize the major findings of this dissertation and raise several issues for future research.

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