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|Title: ||Additive particles in adult and child Chinese|
|Other Titles: ||Han yu tian jia suan zi de yu fa yu xi de yan jiu|
|Authors: ||Liu, Huijuan (劉慧娟)|
|Department: ||Department of Chinese, Translation and Linguistics|
|Degree: ||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Issue Date: ||2009|
|Publisher: ||City University of Hong Kong|
|Subjects: ||Chinese language -- Particles.|
Children -- Language.
|Notes: ||CityU Call Number: PL1237 .L58 2009|
vi, ii, 343 leaves 30 cm.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2009.
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 326-343)
|Abstract: ||This dissertation contains two parts: the theoretical analysis of Mandarin additive
particles: hai, you and ye; and children’s acquisition of these particles.
Mandarin additive particles are investigated with respect to the information structure
and their interaction with prosody. The major claim is that the various uses of these
particles are related by virtue of their interaction with information structures. When they
are followed by an accented focus in their c-command domain, a default focus structure
arises, and a proposition with different entities from the presupposed one is added in the
discourse. When the particles associate with a preceding accented focus, two
possibilities arise: pure addition of contrastive topic, or scalar addition. If the particles
are accented themselves, they function as focus operated by an ASSERT operator, and
they are also scope particles with different associates.
Mandarin additive particles are claimed to have different scopes and associate with
respect to their interaction with prosodic prominence. Stressed hai and stressed you have
wide-scope which is co-extensive with the whole VP, whereas stressed ye and unstressed
particles have a narrow scope of the accented constituents. These particles have different
presuppositions in these conditions.
The acquisition part explores the production and comprehension of these particles.
A series of experimental studies have been conducted to explore 2- to 8- year-olds’
production and understanding of different variants of Mandarin additive particles. The
experiments of production are mainly elicitation tasks with picture description and video
description, and for children under 3, a game play is designed to create a natural
environment; the comprehension tasks are act-out tasks and truth-value judgment, and
children are asked to give explanations to their judgments. The results show that like
other languages, Mandarin additives are acquired as early as 2 years old for all the six
variants. However, the comprehension pattern split w.r.t. different variants: children
comprehend stressed hai and stressed you as early as 2, though they cannot interpret
stressed ye and unstressed additives correctly until 7 years old, and a few children
wrongly interpret these particles as stressed hai.
Our experimental results seem to suggest that children at very young age have
mastered the linguistic knowledge necessary to produce correct sentences with additive
particles, such as that of scope, focus, c-command relation and even the idiosyncratic properties of different particles. However, children as old as 7 could not understand ye as
well as the additives with a focus following. The incapability is caused by different
presuppositions of stressed ye and stressed hai and you. To understand additive particles,
children have to accommodate some presupposition to the context. Stressed ye
presupposes a proposition which contains a different element from the host sentences of
ye, and so is that of unstressed additives with a focus following. Following Crain &
Thornton (1998), I assume that presenting sentences of stressed ye without its anaphoric
presuppositions will render children’s failure of accommodating correct presuppositions.
The reason why children could do much better in the stressed hai and stressed you cases
is that their presupposition is anaphoric within the host sentence, and children need not
accommodate a presupposition with different elements. In production, the
presupposition is provided in the context, and children need not accommodate the
presupposition, and so they can do well in the elicitation task.
It is further observed in our study that children tend to interpret stressed ye and
unstressed additive particles as stressed hai. The default interpretation of sentences with
additive particles is the wide-scope reading. This pattern conforms to the “principle of
parsimony” proposed by Crain et al. (1994), which states that if the referential
presupposition is outside the context, the parser will make the fewest assumptions about
information that is not given in the sentence. Children adopt the same processing
strategy as adults, and it also provides evidence to the “modularity matching model” of
language processing theory.|
|Online Catalog Link: ||http://lib.cityu.edu.hk/record=b2374888|
|Appears in Collections:||CTL - Doctor of Philosophy |
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