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Seminar 學術講座: Yen-Hwei Lin on 15th November 2002 (Friday)
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Topic:  Seminar 學術講座: Yen-Hwei Lin on 15th November 2002 (Friday)
posted itemPosted - 25/10/2002 :  15:56:04

Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics
Institute of Chinese Linguistics
Language Information Sciences Research Centre



Yen-Hwei Lin

Michigan State University

Diminutive Er Affixation in Jinxiang, Yanggu and Pingding

Time: 4:30 - 6:00 pm

Date: 15th November 2002 (Friday)

Venue: B7603 (CTL Multi-purpose Room), City University of Hong Kong


In most Chinese dialects, a diminutive er suffix appears as a separate syllable, or as the coda consonant or an additional feature of the rime in the affixed stem (Lin 1997). Diminutive er affixation in Jinxiang, Yanggu and Pinding is different in that a complex onset can be created in the affixed stem, which seems to suggest that infixation is involved, as the following examples show. ([L] = retroflex lateral)

    Jinxiang (Ma 1984)      na      -->      nrar      'stitch, press down'
    Yanggu (Dong 1985)      tsou    -->      tslour    'go, walk'
    Pingding (Xu 1981)      tsao    -->      tsLao     'plum'

In this talk, I will compare and discuss the prosodic and segmental constraints on the er-affixed stems in these three dialects, and address the analytical and theoretical issues raised by the data.

The first issue concerns whether or not these are genuine cases of infixation. The Yanggu case is controversial since it has been analyzed as floating feature infixation by Yip (1992) and as phonological epenthesis by Chen (1992). I will argue that Jinxiang does not involve infixation but Pingding does.

If we assume that Yanggu and Pingding involve morphological infixation, then such infixation is unusual in that it results in highly marked prosodic structures that do not exist in the phonological systems of these two dialects and in other Chinese dialects. McCarthy and Prince (1995ab) have argued that there are no real infixes, and the so-called infixes are prefixes or suffixes that are minimally misaligned from the edge of the stem to avoid violations of higher ranked markedness constraints. In other words, infixation applies to avoid marked structures. Yanggu and Pingding infixation then seems to constitute a counterexample to McCarthy and Prince's characterization of the nature of infixation. I will (i) demonstrate that prosodic, segmental, and morphological factors can all be involved in determining the implementation of infixation (Crowhurst 1998, Klein 2002, Yu 2002), and (ii) discuss how McCarthy and Prince's original insight might be maintained.

About the Speaker

Yen-Hwei Lin is Professor of Linguistics at Michigan State University. She received her PhD in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin in 1989, and has taught at MSU since then. Her research work has focused on non-linear phonology and morphology, optimality theory, and Chinese segmental phonology/morphology.

Enquiries: 2788-8705

All Are Welcome



Enquiry: LTenquiry@cityu.edu.hk