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Null Anaphoric Possessor Arguments of Kinship Nouns and Long-Distance Binding in Mandarin PowerPoint Presentation
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TP. T’. NP K. AspP. Asp’. Mickey-Mouse. Null Anaphoric Possessor Arguments of Kinship Nouns and Long-Distance Binding in Mandarin Hezao Ke 1,2 , Ya Zhao 2,3 , Liqun Gao 2 , Shuying Liu 2 The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 1 , Beijing Language and Culture University 2 ,

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slide1

TP

T’

NP K

AspP

Asp’

Mickey-Mouse

Null Anaphoric Possessor Arguments of Kinship Nouns and Long-Distance Binding in Mandarin

Hezao Ke1,2, Ya Zhao2,3, Liqun Gao2, Shuying Liu2The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor1,

Beijing Language and Culture University2,

Northwest University for Nationalities3.

VP

VP

V’

c-command

VP

V

PP

V’

take-ASP

NP

V’

P

NP

son

VP

at

V

PP

hospitalize DE time

Donald-Duck

to island

V

travel

doesn’t c-command

Experiment 1

Experiment 2

Background

Conclusions and General Discussion

Lead-in sentence:

Now, let me say something about this story. In this story, Mickey Mouse talk to Donald Duck about going to an island for a trip. Finally, er……

Test sentence:

3) a. Milaoshu[PP zai Tanglaoya zhuyuan de shihou] dai-le erziqu xiaodao lvyou.

Mickey-Mouse at Donald-Duck hospitalize DE time take-ASP son to island travel.

‘Mickey Mouse, during the time when Donald Duckwas hospitalized, took (his) son to the island for a trip.’

The NP Mickey Mouse c-commands the kinship noun son, but Donald Duck, which is a NP inside the PP, does not c-command son.

Control condition:

  • A similar story was presented except all the occurrences of kinship nouns were replaced with other nouns such as fish, hamburger,etc. At the end of the story, a control sentence was presented:
  • Control sentence:

3)b. Xiaoqingwa[PPzaixiaohemashuijiao de shihou] chidiao-le hanbao.

Frog at Hippo sleep DE time eat-off-ASP hamburger.

‘Mr. Frog, during the time when Mr. Hippo was asleep, ate (his) hamburger.’

  • Results
  • The participants overwhelmingly rejected the test sentences and accepted the control sentences, with a rejection rate of 95.0% and an acceptance rate of 88.3%, respectively.
  • Discussion
  • (The implicit argument of) a RN is bound by its antecedent, which c-commands it. But a non-relational is free from binding.
  • Reasons for rejection of control sentences:
  • Five out of seven occurrences of rejection of control sentence were in the third control sentence, where there is a contrast between possessors of a “fish” in the lead-in sentence.

Test sentence:

2) a. Zhangsan dai-leerziqu Qingdao.

Zhangsan take-ASPsonto Qingdao.

‘Zhangsantook (his) son to Qingdao.’

Control condition:

Used a similar story except all the occurrences of kinship nouns were replaced with other nouns such as schoolbag, dog,etc. At the end of the story, a control sentence was presented:

Control sentence:

2)b. Zhangsanna-le shubaohuisushe.

Zhangsan take-ASP schoolbag to dormitory .

‘Zhangsantook a schoolbag to the dormitory.’

Results

The participants rejected the test sentences with a rate of 89.7%, but accepted the control sentences with a rate of 91.2%.

  • Conclusions
  • Kinship nouns are different from non-relational nouns in that a kinship noun has an implicit anaphoric possessor argument, and this argument is obligatorily bound by some NP which c-commands it.
  • General Discussion
  • The results of the first experiment can be readily explained by assuming an extra syntactic argumentinside the kinship nouns. This argument isanaphoricsince it is obligatorily bound by its antecedent. The results also show kinship nouns are relevant to inalienability.
  • Experiment 2 shows that a syntactic requirement, i.e. a c-command requirement, is involved in the interpretation of kinship nouns. This evidence underpins the idea that the extra argument is syntactic rather than only semantic or pragmatic.
  • Other evidences follow.

Focus of this study: kinship nouns in Chinese, which is a typical kind of relational nouns (RNs).

Definition: RNs, in narrow sense, are Nouns which have more than one argument in their lexical meaning. (Barker, 1995; Partee 1987/1997; etc). As a RN, a kinship noun such as father has a lexically inherent extra argument.

[[father]]=[λxλy. father (x, y)]

[[Mary’s father]]= [λxλy. father (x, y)](m) = λy. father (m, y)

Father picks up Mary as one of its arguments.

Research Questions

Q1: Is the implicit argument pronominal or anaphoric? (Experiment 1)

Q2: Is the implicit argument a theta assigned syntactic argument or only a semantic argument?

A related question: is there any syntactic processing involved in the interpretation of kinship nouns? (Experiment 2)

Intuitions are not sharp enough...

Example: “semi-relational” nouns

1) Zhangsanqizheluotuoqulvxing.

Zhangsan ride camel to travel

‘Zhangsan travelled on a/his camel.’

Are the “semi-relational” such as pets and other human-owned things the same with kinship nouns?

Achimova, Deprez & Musolino (in press): Controlled experimentation should be underscored as an important tool for theory construction.

Supporting a Syntactic Approach

Discussion

  • (The implicit argument of) kinship nouns should be obligatorily bound by their antecedents, where they can pick up their referents, while non-relational nouns do not have boundarguments.
  • Reasons for exceptions:
  • Reasons to accept test sentences:
  • In one out of six acceptances of the test sentence a subject forgot the content of the story.
  • One subject said the test sentences were true in all his 4 answers.
  • Reasons to reject control sentences:
  • There are six rejections of the control sentences. A subject consistently rejected the control sentences because he thought the expressions were ambiguous and not accurate. However, this indicates that the subject realized that non-relational nouns are not obligatorily bound.
  • In another rejection the subject forgot the content of the story.
  • Evidence 1
  • Kinship nouns VS. body-part nouns: Long-distance and local binding.
  • Compare (4) with (5):
  • LisiJxihuanZhangsanKmeitian xi toufa*J/K.
  • Lisi like Zhangsan everyday wash hair
  • ‘Lisi likes that Zhangsan washes his hair everyday.’
  • ZhangsanJrenweiLisiKhen liaojieerziJ/K.
  • Zhangsan think Lisi very know son
  • ‘Zhangsan thinks Lisi know his son very well.’
  • The implicit arguments of kinship nouns can be long-distance bound (5), whereas those of body-part nouns can only be locally bound (4). This distinction can be accounted for if we assume there are two types of anaphora in Mandarin Chinese (MC).
  • Evidence 2
  • A possible correlation between the existence of long-distance bound anaphoric possessor arguments of kinship nouns and long-distance bound reflexives.
  • If a language L has null long-distance bound anaphor, then L will also have overt long-distance bound anaphor (a counterpart to ziji ‘self’ in MC).
  • Sinhala, Korean, Italian, Dutch, Norwegian, Japanese, Russian have both a long-distance bound reflexive and long-distance bound null anaphoric argument, while Spanish and German have neither.

Experiment 1

  • Method
  • Subjects:
  • 17 master’s students in linguistics were recruited from Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU).
  • Procedure:
  • A variant of Truth Value Judgment Task (Crain & Thornton, 1998)
  • An experimenter told a participant a story.
  • Then test/control sentences were presented by the experimenter as a statement concerning the story.
  • The subjects’ role was to determine the truth value of the sentences according to the story.
  • Materials:
  • 8 stories (4 test and 4 control sentences) each followed by a test statement.
  • Typical test item story (in Chinese):
  • Zhangsan and Lisi wanted to bring their sons to Qingdao for a trip. Eventually, Zhangsan took Lisi’s son but not his own son to Qingdao.
  • After the story, a lead-in sentence and test sentence (2a) were presented to the subjects.

Lead-in sentence:

Now, let me say something about this story. In this story, Zhangsan talked to Lisi about going to Qingdao for a trip. Finally, er……

Experiment 2

Method

Subjects:

15 master’s students in linguistics were recruited from BLCU. None of them had participated in Experiment 1.

Procedure:

The same as in Experiment 1.

Materials:

8 stories (4 test and 4 control sentences) each followed by a test statement.

Typical test item story (in Chinese):

Mickey Mouse and Donald Duckwanted to bring their sons on a trip. However before their departure, Donald Duck got a toothache, and was sent to the hospital. Eventually, Mickey Mouse took Donald Duck’s son but not his own son to the island.

HezaoKe, hezaoke@umich.edu