Dramatized Discourse: The Mandarin Chinese ba-construction by Zhuo Jing-Schmidt

By Zhuo Jing-Schmidt

Language is a symbolic method of meanings evoked through linguistic varieties. the alternative of kinds in verbal exchange is non-arbitrary. relatively, audio system decide these varieties whose meanings most sensible express their discourse goal. The which means of the Mandarin ba-construction, argues Jing-Schmidt, is discourse dramaticity, an idea that incorporates excessive conceptual salience and subjectivity. The ba-construction and its "syntactic diversifications" are by no means interchangeable simply because distinction of their meanings determines distinction of their capabilities. Quantitative analyses according to real info validate the postulation of discourse dramaticity. by way of taking discourse pragmatics heavily, the dramaticity speculation permits a unitary rationalization that transcends sentence grammar.
The diachronic remedy unearths the syntactic swap of the ba-construction as an adaptive strategy of pragmatization, which increases the difficulty of linguistic evolution because of socio-cultural development.

This e-book could be of specific price to readers drawn to the interplay among grammar and pragmatics and to academics confronting the talk of the ba-construction in international language pedagogy.

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Additional info for Dramatized Discourse: The Mandarin Chinese ba-construction

Sample text

Resemble (13) ‘They – since they are not allowed to know what tomorrow will be like – Chapter 3. ’ Tamen ba guoqu de yiqie dou xiang qi-lai. pl. ba past assoc everything all think rise-come The suffix qi-lai is used more abstractly in (12) and (13) than in (11). While the directive suffix in sentence (11) qi-lai ‘rise-come’ still refers to the upward direction of the physical movement, the same suffix in (12) can no longer be understood in terms of physical direction. It rather signals the fulfillment of the action gaifu ‘cover’.

A clarification of the nature of aspect suffixes in relation to the ba-construction is due here. First, aspect suffixes are postverbal constituents that are neither formally nor semantically “empty”. They are not dummy items, rather, they signal how the speaker views the event being described. Second, the presence or absence of the aspect suffix is not the single criterion by which the grammaticality of a ba-clause is judged. We have observed that non-aspectual monosyllabic complements such as jin in (1) and si in (2) can be used to modify the main verb without having to take any aspect suffix because they perform the same bounding function as aspect markers do.

Introduction of the development, which shows a strong tendency of semantic-pragmatic enrichment in the sense that a propositional meaning has come to express subjective messages (see Traugott 1982, 1989, 2003). The discussion of the diachronic development of the ba-construction will invalidate the notion of an “object marker”, which has been imposed upon the morpheme ba by previous approaches, synchronic and diachronic. Given our assumption that structural preference is always motivated by the communicative intent of the speaker, we view linguistic constructions as signs with indexical meanings, which the speaker uses to make instructions for the hearer to make appropriate inferences in communication.

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