Journal of Chinese Linguistics Vol.37 – 2009

Journal of Chinese Linguistics vol.37 (2009) 中国语言学报 37 卷 (2009)

Volume 37, No 1

Article 文章

Abstract 摘要
Cross-modal semantic priming and lexical judgment methods are adopted in this research to examine the cognitive process of the referent of Chinese reflexive ziji and the relationship between the two properties of “local binding” and “long-distance binding”. It was found that there exist several temporal stages of the processing of ziji. At the early stage of sentence processing (SOA=0ms), ziji is bound to the embedded subject within the Governing Category, which is consistent with Binding Principle A. However, at the second stage (SOA=160ms), ziji is bound to the matrix subject, namely long-distance binding. As to the third stage (SOA=370ms), the difference of the binding relationships between ziji and the two alternative subjects is not prominent any more. Both kinds of subjects give rise to semantic priming to target words. It means that the syntactic analysis of sentence processing has been finished and the semantic integration stage begins.

本文采用跨通道语义启动和词汇判断等实验的方法,考察了汉语反身代词「自己」回指的认知理解过程,并进一步分析了汉语反身代词「自己」的「 局部约束 」和「长距离回指」这两个特点之间的关系。实验结果发现对「自己」的加工存在有几个不同的阶段:在句子加工早期阶段 (SOA=0毫秒),「自己」在管辖语域内受到约束,与约束A原则相符;而在第二个阶段 (SOA=160毫秒),「自己」已经表现出受到主句主语的约束,即「长距离约束」;在句子加工的第三个阶段(SOA=370毫秒),主句主语与「自己」的约束关系以及从句主语与「自己」的约束关系之间的差别已经不显著,但两类主语都表现出了对目标词语义上的启动。说明句子的理解已完成句法分析,进入语义整合阶段。

Keywords 关键词

Reflexives 反身代词 Local binding 局部約束 Long-distance binding 长距离约束 Cognitive processing 认知加工

Abstract 摘要
This paper provides more evidence for the genetic relationship between Austronesian and Kam-Tai. After an examination of the previous studies, it is preferred to compare modern languages directly at current stage, though some reconstructed Proto-languages are also used with caution. Dehong Dai, as a representative of Kam-Tai, and Indonesian, as a representative of Austronesian, have been compared, and systematic sound correspondences between them are established. According to Rank analysis, there are more Dai-Indonesian related words in High rank than those in Low rank, which indicates genetic relationship. Updated evidence and rank analysis show that both Kam-Tai languages and Austronesian languages are genetically related, respectively. Therefore, according to transitivity of genetic relatedness, Kam-Tai and Austronesian should be genetically related. Moreover, sound correspondences between Proto-Tai and Indonesian have been worked out. And Rank analysis confirms the genetic relationship. Finally, via the similar procedure, it is found that the genetic relationship between Austronesian with either Chinese or Tibeto-Burman are not confirmed because the related words between them in High rank are less than those in Low rank.


Keywords 关键词

Genetic relationship 亲缘关系 Kam-Tai侗台 Austronesian 南岛语系 Rank analysis 排位分析

Abstract 摘要
This paper shows that punning (shuāngguān) is commonly found in Hong Kong Chinese media, especially adverts. As a rhetorical device and a form of language play, punning – monolingual or bilingual – is generally used to enhance the communicative impact of what is said. Linguistically a punning effect may be achieved through homonymy or (near-) homophony. In the literature published in English, research on punning straddles stylistics and linguistics. With reference to Heller’s (1980, 1983) linguistic typology of punning, our analysis of selected examples from Hong Kong Chinese media shows that most instances of punning may be characterized as ‘retentional – non-disambiguational’ puns. Orthographic puns are very common, in that the punning effect is only apparent in the printed, but not in the spoken medium. Functional shift in the signaling device of the pun is another salient feature.


Keywords 关键词

Punning 双关语 Ambiguity 歧义 Advertising 广告 Language play 文字游戏 Homophony同音异义字 Homonymy 同形同音异义字

Abstract 摘要
The most prominent meaning of le has been conventionally recognized as the ‘perfective’ marker, although its non-perfective reading occasionally draws researchers’ attention. This paper starts with viewing the ambiguity of aspectual le in Chinese from the perspective of syntax-semantics interplay, showing that the structural ambiguity results in le’s semantic ambiguity to be interpreted as perfective or imperfective. I argue that the ambiguity of a sentence-final le is predetermined by its syntactic scope over a predicate or a sentence. After the distinction is clear, the special interest is particularly paid to examine the imperfective use of le. I list many examples and grammatical constructions to show that le is able to express imperfectivity, and such analysis can also be accounted for by various theories about the nature of aspect.



Keywords 关键词

Le 了 Perfective 完成貌 Imperfective 分割貌 Inchoative 起始 Progressive 进行 Telicity 密闭

Abstract 摘要
With the spreading of Chinese in the world, the study of the second language acquisition of Chinese is intensifying. It developed quickly after entering 21st century, and gave promotion to the study of the second language acquisition based on English and other western languages. The present paper includes a short comment on the theory of second language acquisition, an overview on the second language acquisition of Chinese, and some considerations to enhance the study of the second language acquisition of Chinese.


Keywords 关键词

Second language 第二语言 Acquisition 习得 Study 研究 Chinese 汉语

Abstract 摘要
This paper argues for the necessity of the separation of written Chinese from spoken Chinese after the May Fourth Movement by examining the formal function of these languages. It is then shown how modern formal Chinese has newly developed and what principles formal grammar must observe. Finally, a quantitative method is developed for measuring the degree of formality.



Keywords 关键词

Written Chinese 书面语 Formal Style 正式语体 Prosodic grammar 韵律语法 Degree of formality 正式度



John DeFrancis, renowned teacher and linguist of Chinese, died at the age of 97 on January 2, 2009. In this tribute to John, I shall not dwell on the extremely interesting story of his life, inasmuch as that has been covered well in obituaries in the New York Times (January 19, 2009, p. A21), online at>

and elsewhere, e.g., Yale Daily News (January 16, 2009)

There is also a wonderful Website for John at

with plentiful biographical details and lots of photographs. Suffice it to say here that John was a socially committed and politically active individual who also was unusually adventurous and gregarious. What I wish to do in this necrology is give a brief accounting of John as a teacher and scholar of Chinese. Perhaps the easiest way to approach John’s academic career is to divide it into four stages: student, teacher, researcher, and lexicographer.



Volume 37, No 2

Article 文章

Abstract 摘要
The modern metropolis of W3uh4an comprises three earlier cities, i.e., H4ank3ou, H4any2ang, and W3uch1ang. For modern W3uh4an we have several different phonological descriptions, and for pre-modern H4ank3ou there are romanized records reaching back 125 years. On the basis of these sources it is possible to trace the history of the H4ank3ou sound system for the past century and quarter. Such a study reveals that the phonological history of this dialect was quite complex and reflects contact and convergence as well as simple historical sound change.


 Keywords 关键词

Hankou dialect 汉口方言 Wuhan dialect 武汉方言 Historical dialectology 方言历史 Language contact 语言接触

Abstract 摘要
The She language is a member of the Hmong-Mien family, spoken in mountainous areas in eastern Guangdong of China by about 1,500 people. Its long history of contact with the Hakka dialects of Chinese is well acknowledged in literature. In this paper, we investigate how contact governed the evolution of She initial system, making it become a Hakka-like pattern. It is thought that Hakka-She, the second language spoken by the Hakka people when they came into contact with the She, played a particular important role in shaping the present She initials.

畬语属于苗瑶语的一支。使用者分布在广东省东部的增城、博罗、惠东和海丰四个县的村子里,人口约一千五百。畬语和客语有长期接触的历史。本文以王辅世等 (1995)拟构的原始苗瑶语为出发点,解释畬语在发展的过程中,它的声母怎么样受到客语的影响。我们提出了「客族畬语」的概念,认为这种由于沟通需要而发展起来的客家人第二语言是导致畬语声母趋向简化的主因。

Keywords 关键词

She Language 畲语 Hakka dialects 客家方言 Language contact 语言接触 Language change 语言变化 Initial consonants 字首辅音


Abstract 摘要
This paper examines various grammatical properties of two postverbal approximative adverbs in Cantonese, viz mat1zai6 and gam3zai6 and the discontinuous constructions they constitute. Mat1zai6 is used to describe the frequency or degree denoted by the predicate in negative form while gam3zai6 focuses on the process approaching the endpoint of the event. Both of them are heads projected above the predicate underlyingly and their occurrence in the sentence-final position is a result of movement of the entire predicate step by step on the surface. Postverbal and preverbal adverbs form discontinuous adverbial phrases in Cantonese, which can be stacked and should be in a strict hierarchical order in the clausal structure. The findings of this paper may shed light on the syntax of Cantonese postverbal adverbs and the theory of discontinuous construction.


Keywords 关键词

Cantonese 粤语 Syntax 句法学 Adverbs 副词 Discontinuous construction 框式结构 Analyticity 分析性

Abstract 摘要
Three experiments tested the role of an emerging syntactic tone in spoken word recognition of Beijing Mandarin Chinese. The study examined the role of the new syntactic tone in lexical access and how synchronic change is perceived in the task of word recognition. Experiment 1 used an information-deprived condition where information for the standard interpretation of the word was provided prior to the crucial tone, but the syntactic tone based interpretation was not provided. Experiment 2 used a prosody-reduced condition where the prosodic cues were unclear while information for both standard and syntactic tone based interpretation was provided. Experiment 3 involved a story retell task to further assess tone comprehension. The results show that the emerging syntactic tone had an impact on participant’s lexical interpretations, although the impact was more obvious when prosody information was clearly provided. The results also confirmed participants’ tone comprehension through story retells. The results support the hypotheses that a) there is a new syntactic tone in spoken Beijing Mandarin whose function goes beyond lexical tone, which has become a precursor for word recognition in discourse processing; and, b) language processing reflects asymmetry in that speakers prefer the traditional grammatical interpretation more than the interpretation derived from the newly developed syntactic tone when prosodic information is unclear. The study demonstrates how usage-based grammatical changes affect speaker’s mental model of lexical access.


Keywords 关键词

Syntactic change 句型发展变化 Syntactic tone 句调 Lexical tone 词调 Spoken Beijing Mandarin 北京话 Psycholinguistics 心理语言学 Language processes 词处理

Abstract 摘要
This paper describes the semantics of six complex aspects composed of two imperfective simple aspects in Chinese, with the focus on aspectual functions, temporal structures, and semantic applicability conditions of the aspects. Based on the results of an investigation into the combination potential of simple aspects in Chinese, we show characteristics of the Chinese complex aspects and formulate two conditions of aspect combinations. We also propose a set of rules for constructing the temporal structures of the complex aspects. A selection order principle is used in designing the system network of the Chinese aspects to guarantee the grammaticality of the produced complex aspect expressions.


Keywords 关键词

Classification of Chinese aspects 汉语时态分类 Aspectual features 时态特征 Aspectual functions of aspects 时态功能 Temporal structures of aspects 时态的时间结构 Semantic application conditions of aspects 时态的语义应用条件 Combination of individual aspects 简单时态的复合

Review 书评

Abstract 摘要
This paper reviews various sources of literature on the languages of the She minority. Previous scholarship can generally be divided into three aspects: those that study the genetic affiliation of the She language (Sheyu); those that study the relation between the She speech (Shehua) and Chinese dialects, or between Shehua and Zhuang-Dong languages; and those that study languages of the She people as an endangered language. The paper points out the future development of She research, which will aim at safeguarding languages of the She minority. The status of Sheyu and Shehua and their interrelationship will be better clarified when studies proceed with the perspective of basic core vocabulary. Furthermore, studies on languages of the She minority require interdisciplinary methodologies that combine language competition and mathematical modeling to explore factors contributing to the endangerment of She people’s languages.




Report 报告

Conference in Evolutionary Linguistics I (首届演化语言学研讨会2 / 演化音法学讨论会) was held in Guangzhou, from 28th to 30th March, 2009. The conference was organized by Fangyan Journal from Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) (中国社会科学院《方言》季刊), Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) (香港科技大学《中国语言学集刊》), and Dongfang Yuyanxue from EISU (上海高校比较语言学e-研究院《东方语言学》), and co-organized by Guangdong Polytechnic Normal University (广东技术师范学院) by which venue and facilities for conference discussions were provided.

Participants were mainly scholars and postgraduate students from universities (e.g. 湖南大学, 广东技术师范学院) / research institutes (e.g. CASS) all over mainland China. Besides, there were also research students and scholars from HKUST and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

The working language of the conference was Chinese. The conference consisted of three days of oral presentations, with no parallel session, such that audience did not have to miss any talk of interest. A large variety of languages and dialects spoken in China, with a wide geographical coverage, were talked about in presentations, ranging from Lai (来语) on Hainan Island in southern China, dialects in central China like Cantonese, Xiang, etc., to Tibetan used in western China and Mongolian in the north.

Although the conference title does not suggest a heavy focus on phonetics, a considerable portion of research reports presented in the conference made use of instrumental measurement in obtaining evidence to verify research hypotheses. Traditional acoustic methods like formant and fundamental frequency trajectories, duration measures, power analysis, waveform inspection were widely used (e.g. studies of Chaozhou entering tones by Zhu Xiaonong (朱晓农) and Hong Ying (洪英), Zhuang vowels by Zhou Xuewen (周学文), and Lhasa Tibetan glottal stops by Long Congjun (龙从军)). Besides, other physiological measures during speech production were also talked about, like electro-palatography (EPG), oral / nasal air-flow measurement, and electromagnetic articulography (EMA) data.

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