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《Journal of Foreign Languages》 2015-01
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The Linearity of Topic Structures in Chinese

YANG Xiaolong;WU Yicheng;Center for the Study of Language and Cognition,Zhejiang University;  
Over the three decades,there has been considerable debate over the issue of how topic structure is generated,with a particular focus on whether topic is derived through movement or base-generation. Based on the corpus data concerning the usage of various forms of topic constructions,we claim that 1) topic is essentially a discoursal concept,which is naturally elicited during the course of communicative interaction; 2) Topic expresses procedural meaning and sets the frame for the construction of the comment clause; 3) the linear ordering"Topic [Subject + VP]"is the syntactic representation of topic structure. The topic structure containing the parenthetical expression zenmeshuo ne‘what can I say'clearly shows the implausibility of the movement analysis,for the syntactic representation of the comment clause does not exist at all subsequent to the occurrence of a topic expression. Topic-chain and multiple-topic constructions further show the rationality of the linearity as the mechanism behind which topic structure is generated.
【Fund】: 国家社会科学基金规划项目“汉语句法与语义及语用的互动研究”(编号:12BYY091);; 教育部人文社科基金项目“汉语动词标示不足现象的动态研究”(编号:12YJA740079)
【CateGory Index】: H146;H314
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