Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Language Information Sciences Research Centre
Linguistic Society of Hong Kong
University of Arizona
Control Structure in Mandarin Chinese
Time: 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Date: 20th May 2005 (Friday)
Venue: Room B4701,Level 4,Academic Building, City University of Hong Kong
About the Speaker
Feng-hsi Liu is associate professor at the University of Arizona. She teaches Chinese linguistics and language; she also directs the Chinese Language Program at the University of Arizona. Her research interests include quantifier scope, aspectual structure, lexical semantics and information structure.
One issue that has been discussed rather widely in the literature of Mandarin Chinese control structures is whether the complement clauses are finite or non-finite clauses. This question has received much attention partly because Mandarin Chinese is a language with few morphological markings. There is no indication of grammatical tense on the verb; there are also no overt complementizers. Thus there is no obvious way to distinguish a finite clause from a non-finite clause. This makes it a challenge to distinguish between different types of clauses. In this study I will re-examine control complements in Chinese. However, I will not take a position as to whether they are finite or non-finite; rather, I will show that control complements are not uniform in structure. In particular, certain control complements show clause union (restructuring) effects. I will present evidence to show that control complements are of two types. I will offer an account of the differences between the two types of complements in terms of temporal properties. I will also review some arguments that have been used in the finite vs. non-finite debate and show how they reveal the non-uniform nature of control complements. The existence of clause union in Chinese control complements has implications for other areas of grammar. I will explore some of these in the talk.