Journal of Chinese Linguistics Vol.49 – 2021

Volume 49, No 1

Message from the Editors 编辑寄语

Welcome to the first issue of Journal of Chinese Linguistics (JCL) in 2021. This year marks a milestone in the development of the journal with some important announcements. First, we are pleased to announce the formation of a new editorial board, with 12 new members joining us and 9 existing members continuing to serve JCL. The new members are as follows:


Bo Hong (洪波)

          Capital Normal University, Beijing

Guillaume Jacques (向柏霖)

          CNRS (CRLAO)-INALCO-EHESS, Paris 

Bit-Chee Kwok (郭必之)

          The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Yen-Hui Audrey Li (李艳惠)

          University of Southern California, Los Angeles

Yafei Li (李亚非)

          University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison

Barbara Meisterernst (梅思德)

          National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu

Xiangdong Shi (施向东)

          Nankai University, Tianjin

Wei-Tien Dylan Tsai (蔡维天)

          National Tsing Hua University, Hsinchu

Fuxiang Wu (吴福祥)

          Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing

Charles Yang (杨鹏)

          University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia

Boping Yuan (袁博平)

          University of Cambridge, Cambridge

Qingzhi Zhu (朱庆之)

          The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong


It is our pleasure to welcome these internationally recognized scholars to join the editorial board. With their influential scholarship and world leading stature in their respective areas of expertise, they bring further prestige and renown to JCL.


We also take the opportunity to thank the existing long-serving distinguished members of the editorial board who have rendered steadfast support to JCL through the years and have kindly agreed to remain on the editorial board:


Hilary M. Chappell (曹茜蕾)

          EHESS-CRLAO, Paris

Chin-Chuan Cheng (郑锦全)

          University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Chu-Ren Huang (黄居仁)

          The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Jingxia Lin (林静夏)

          Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Tsu-Lin Mei (梅祖麟)

          Cornell University, Ithaca

Alain Peyraube (贝罗贝)

          CRLAO, Paris

Jiaxuan Shen (沈家煊)

          Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing

Ovid J. L. Tzeng (曾志朗)

          Academia Sinica, Taipei

Feng Wang (汪锋)

          Peking University, Beijing


We pay a special tribute to the senior members who have served on the editorial board during the period when Prof. William S-Y Wang served as Editor from 1973-2018. We look forward to working with all the editorial board members to make JCL a vibrant and stimulating international platform for dissemination of new findings. With a stellar cast and an expanded editorial board encompassing a much broader range of expertise and diversity of theoretical approaches, we hope to gather momentum, create greater impact and raise the visibility of JCL.


On another note, we are glad to inform you that JCL has adopted the ScholarOne Manuscripts system for online submission and peer review as of January 1, 2021. This is a timely move that will greatly facilitate the submission and review process. From now on, please submit to JCL via the following link: We highly value your contributions to the journal and wish to provide you with the highest possible level of service. Please also visit JCL’s new official website at We look forward to receiving your comments and suggestions.


We’d like to welcome a new member, Yujiao Han (韩宇娇) to the editorial team. Yujiao is our new Managing Editor based at the Beijing office of JCL at the Beijing Language and Culture University. We are happy to have Yujiao’s support in managing the JCL’s editorial office in Beijing which complements the one in Hong Kong.


Last but not least, we would like to thank each and every colleague who reviewed one or more papers for Journal of Chinese Linguistics during the period from January 2019 to November 2020. Their names are listed on the next page. We thank all the reviewers for their support.



Shengli and Virginia

December 2020

Article 文章

Abstract 摘要

This study investigates the syntactic behavior of disyllabic localizers in Modern Chinese. Recent studies (Huang et al. 2009; Djamouri et al. 2013; Liu and Oakden 2014) point out the boundness nature of disyllabic localizers, but to date there has been no consensus on what syntactic status they have. We examine a wide range of disyllabic localizers and find that disyllabic localizers do not all behave the same. While some can be used both as independent words and as phrasal bound forms, others are always bound at the phrasal level. Nonetheless, there are two characteristics that are shared by all disyllabic localizers: they are all nominal, and they are all bound when occurring at the end of a phrase. The best way to characterize the entire class of disyllabic localizers is that they are nominal phrasal bound forms with some of them also functioning as nouns in certain environments.

本文探讨现代汉语中双音节方位词的语法表现。近年研究 (Huang et al. 2009; Djamouri et al. 2013; Liu and Oakden 2014) 指出双音节方位词具有黏着性的特点,但未对其词性达成共识。通过观察和测试多种双音节方位词,本文发现其语法表现并不相同。其中一部分方位词既可独立使用,又可出现在词组尾端有黏着性,而其他方位词只能用作黏着形式。但所有双音节方位词都具备以下两个特点:具有名词性;出现于词组尾端时,都为黏着形式。因此,双音节方位词整体应定性为名词性的词组尾端黏着形式,而其中一些在特定环境中可作名词用。


Keywords 关键词

Disyllabic localizer Bound vs. free Phrasal bound form Locative

现代汉语 双音节方位词 黏着vs. 自由 词组尾端黏着形式

Abstract 摘要

The word de 得is generally used to express capability in the affirmative forms of Chinese potential structure. But the negative potential structure V-bu 不-C without de can also express the meaning of capability. What the origin of potential interpretation in V-bu-C is remains to be a mystery in the research of Chinese syntax. This paper proposes that there is a syntactic position in V-bu-C expressing the potential meaning. However, the reason de does not appear in the phonological form depends on prosody. Specifically, de cannot appear in the syntactic environment with both object and complement. This can be attributed to the mechanism of the nuclear stress assignment in Mandarin. Being the nuclear stress assigner, V-bu-C must be in conformity with the minimal word condition (not greater than or equal to three syllables), as a result of which de cannot show up in the phonological form. Such an analysis not only answers the question of what the source of the potential interpretation of V-bu-C is from the view of syntax, but also deduces and interprets various forms of potential structures.



Keywords 关键词

Potential Structure  De  Negative Forms  Nuclear Stress  Minimal Word

能性结构 得 否定形式 核心重音 最小词

Abstract 摘要

The formal structure of the construction formed by a numeral (Num), a sortal classifier (C) or mensural classifier (M), and a noun (N), is controversial, as both left-branching [[Num C/M] N] and right-branching [Num [C/M N]] structures have been argued for in the literature. In this paper we report two psycholinguistic experiments on speech production and perception in Mandarin to investigate this branching issue. First, we applied the syntax-phonology interface of tone 3 (T3) sandhi and performed a phonological analysis of native speakers’ tone sandhi patterns of [Num C/M N] phrases composed of T3 monosyllabic words. Second, we conducted a click-detection experiment to see how native speakers would perceive a click inserted in a C/M phrase composed of monosyllabic words, as compared to when it is inserted in other syntactic structures with attested left or right-branching. Results from both experiments supported the left-branching structure of classifier phrases.



Keywords 关键词

Classifier phrase Left-branching Right-branching Speech production Speech perception

量词词组 左分支 右分支 语言产生 语言感知

Abstract 摘要

This study examines the application of two Mandarin tone sandhi rules on real and wug words varying in degrees of phonological and semantic dependency. Using two statistical methods, we examined the surface f0 contours and underlying pitch targets. For the third tone sandhi, a lexical effect was discovered on the relationship between “word-likeness” of stimuli and completeness of rule application. The degree of application for the half-third sandhi tone, however, was less consistent. This study offers new insights in the debate between categorical and gradient views of sandhi rules. We propose three hypothesized situations and argue that the Mandarin tone sandhi rule application involves computation of sandhi forms, though it becomes more incomplete on wug words containing more illegitimate morphemes. Finally, between the two rules, the application of the third tone sandhi rule is less phonetically motivated and more biased in wug words, exhibiting differences between real words and wug words.



Keywords 关键词

Mandarin tone sandhi Growth curve analysis Underlying pitch target Computation mechanism Wug test

普通话三声变调 增长曲线分析 底层音调目标 计算机制 假词测试

Abstract 摘要

This article presents an alternative argument that Mandarin distributor GE (GEDIS) is a pro-form to be merged as an appositive to a plural nominal, verb or adverbial. GEDIS performs a distributive function of matching a set of individuals to a set of predications, thus requiring the obligatory co-occurrence of a distributive host, i.e., an antecedent plural nominal, verbal or adverbial phrase, and a distributive target, i.e., a following syntactic constituent that helps to separate the predication. The canonical syntactic position of GEDIS is immediately to the right of the distributive host. An appositive analysis of GEDIS is proposed to the effect that GEDIS is merged as an appositive to the distributive host. This new analysis improves upon the existing adjunct analysis, which takes GEDIS as a quantificational adverb that adjoins to VP or vP. The appositive analysis is further supported by the convincing view that GEDIS is a pronoun rather than an adverb and can be extended to cover two new facts about GEDIS, where the distributive host is a plural verb phrase or a plural adverbial phrase. The conclusion reached is that GEDIS is a pro-form that is semantically associated with and syntactically apposed to a plural antecedent in the capacity of a nominal, a verb or an adverbial.



Keywords 关键词

GE Distributor Mandarin Appositive Syntax

各 分配词 普通话 同位语 句法

Abstract 摘要

This paper examines a special locative phrase formed by reduplication in Lianjiang Yue dialect. The locative phrase is composed of reduplicated location nominals and locative pro-forms, with the locative pro-form occurring obligatorily. It is observed that (i) the reduplicated location nominal must be definite and can be easily identifiable in the context; (ii) the grammatical meaning of the location nominal changes from “location” to “next to/near” after reduplication; (iii) locative pro-forms occurring in the reduplicated locative phrase are restricted to those similar to here and there in English. It is argued that there is a functional category NEAR in the reduplicated locative phrase. Location nominals, being the reference point of “near”, must be clearly specified, which results in the definiteness requirement imposed on them. The paper assumes that the locative pro-form is the head of the whole phrase, with the reduplicated location nominal as its modifier, which accounts for why the locative pro-form occurs obligatorily. The reduplicated locative phrase provides us with an opportunity to explore the internal structure of the locative phrase in Chinese and to learn the grammatical function of reduplication and the syntactic structure of reduplicative phrases.

本文研究的是廉江粤语中由重叠形式构成的一种特殊方位短语,这种方位短语由重叠的处所名词短语与方位指示语组成,并且处所名词短语之后的方位指示语必须强制性出现。调查发现重叠部分必须是有定的、易于被说话人指认的处所名词短语,重叠之后表达“靠近/在…附近”的语法意义,而方位指示语仅限于类似英语here, there的非常有限的几个方位指示语。分析认为,重叠处所名词短语中包含一个功能性成分“附近”,而处所名词由于是“附近”的参照点,必须所指明确,导致了处所名词的有定性语义要求。本文同时认为,重叠处所名词是整个方位短语的修饰语,方位指示语才是整个方位短语的中心语,由此解释了方位指示语为何必须强制性出现的问题。这种特殊的重叠方位短语作为一个绝佳的观察窗口,使我们一方面得以窥探汉语方位短语的内部句法结构,另一方面可以了解重叠的语法功能与重叠短语的句法结构。


Keywords 关键词

Lianjiang Yue dialect Locative phrase Reduplication Syntactic structure Spatial Syntax

廉江粤语 方位短语 重叠 句法结构 空间句法

Abstract 摘要

It is observed that the morpheme TAU 到 in Xiaolongmen, a Xiang dialect, appears in two distinctive positions to give sentences a past tense interpretation. The preverbal TAU (tau1213) indicates that the subject went/came to a location to participate in an event, and the subject has already left the location and the actions/events have been terminated by the speaking moment; the clause-final TAU (tau2213) indicates actions or states happened at least once in the past and they have stopped at the speaking time; it also implies that that is the reason for the current situation. We argue that tau1213 is a perfective aspect marker which assigns a past tense interpretation by using the non-coincidence relationship between the event location and the location of the event initiator. As for tau2213, it is argued to be a resultative perfect aspect marker indicating an action/state happened at least once at some time in the past and it has resulted in the current situation.



Keywords 关键词

TAU到 +VP Clause-final TAU到 Tense Aspect Xiang

动词前“到” 子句尾“到” 时 体 湘语

Abstract 摘要

Chinese scholars 莎彝尊 (Sau Yi Tsun) and 莎梦岩 (Sau Mang Yian) published an English-Chinese bilingual textbook Yingyu guanhua hejiang《英语官话合讲》 (Tones of the Mandarin dialect are given in English and Chinese) in 1865. The phonetic scheme used in this book was designed by earlier Chinese scholars. The spelling scheme is a Latin phonetic scheme used to spell the Beijing dialect at that time. This phonetic alphabet scheme has a unique value for us to understand the appearance of the Beijing dialect and the formation history of Chinese phonetic alphabet. From the perspective of phonetic characteristics, the scheme is conservative to a certain extent and reflects the literary reading system of Mandarin. At the same time, influenced by the environment of the author himself, this scheme also reflects characteristics of Cantonese. This scheme was influenced by the modern Protestant Missionary Morrison’s phonetic scheme and absorbed the achievements of traditional Chinese phonology.



Keywords 关键词

Beijing dialect Chinese traditional phonology Pinyin Missionary

北京话 音韵 拼音 传教士

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