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How Subjective Is the Subject?

A Fresh Look at Grammatical Relations in Mandarin Chinese

Anna Morbiato    Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, Italia; The University of Sydney, Australia ORCID iD    

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abstract

This article re-examines the issue of grammatical relations in Mandarin Chinese in light of the results of recent large-scale typological research on grammatical relations (henceforth GRs) worldwide. Specifically, it discusses three syntactic operations and constructions that are cross-linguistically relevant to the definition of grammatical relations, namely relativisation, reflexivisation, and quantifier float. The study adopts a strictly language-internal typological approach and avails itself of natural linguistic data or sentences sanity-checked by native speakers. The aim of this paper is twofold: first, it explores the hypothesis that, in line with various other languages, GRs in Mandarin Chinese are construction-specific. Second, it proposes an alternative approach capable of explaining the conflicting evidence often pointed out in the literature on GRs and subjecthood in Mandarin Chinese.

Published
June 25, 2018
Submitted
Jan. 16, 2018
Accepted
March 2, 2018
Language
EN