Dissertation
Dissertation > Language, writing > Chinese > Grammar > Modern,modern syntax

The Semantic Analysis of Chinese Bare NPs

Author LiJing
Tutor WenWeiPing
School Xiangtan University
Course Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords bare NPs generic reading predicate type-shifting “CL+NP(s)”
CLC H146
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Bare NPs has been the focus of linguistics since three decades ago. The thesis isdevoted to a semantic analysis of Chinese bare NPs in a comprehensive perspective. Therelations among predicate types, the syntactic position and the semantic interpretation ofChinese bare NPs are discussed as a main part of the thesis. Considering the number ofChinese NPs is neutralized, we compare Chinese bare NPs with “CL+NP”. And comparisonbetween Chinese and English is carried out in the last part of the theis.In accordance with the analysis mentioned above, our research questions are as follows:(1) How should Chinese bare NPs be semantically interpreted?(2) What is the relationbetween Chinese bare NPs and “CL+NP”?(3) What are the similarities and differencesbetween Chinese and English bare NPs?The thesis at first makes a review on the relevant literature about bare NPs at home andabroad, on the basis of which the semantic analysis of bare NPs between Chinese and Englishis conducted. Based on the characteristics of the Chinese predicate, we classify the predicateinto subclasses, which include A individual predicates, B individual predicates, dynamic stagepredicates, and static stage predicates. The results of our research are:(1) Chinese BNPsubjects with A individual predicates are supposed to obtain generic reading; and generic orexistential reading with B individual predicates; indefinite when with both dynamic or stativestage-level predicates.(2) Chinese BNP objects with A and B individual predicates aresupposed to get generic reading; definite and indefinite when in both dynamic and stativestage-level predicates.The number of Chinese bare NPs is also concerned in this thesis. We get the conclusionas follows: when lexically governed, Chinese bare NPs, just like “CL+NP”, are supposed tobe understood as indefinite, but when out of the reach of lexical government, Chinese bareNPs should be interpreted as genericity.Through comparison of bare NPs between Chinese and English, we can conclude thatChinese bare NPs and English Bare NPs basically refer to genericity and existentiality. Sincethe number of Chinese is neutral, the type-shifting operators can occur freely. However, it isnot available for English bare NPs. That is the reason why English bare NPs cannot get definite interpretation.

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