Author: Cheng, Meng
Title: Chinese dou as a distributive operator in event plurality
Degree: DALS
Year: 2019
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Chinese language -- Adverb
Chinese language -- Semantics
Chinese language -- Syntax
Department: Faculty of Humanities
Pages: vii, 87 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: This thesis attempts a unified analysis of Chinese adverb dou as a generalized distributive operator in the integrated framework of Neo-Davidsonian event semantics and Montagovian quantificational semantics, in addition to its containing an implicit perspectivizing function. In essence, dou not only semantically exerts it distributive quantificational force over relevant event arguments in its domain but also perspectivizes the derived truth-conditional value to subjectivity judgement to the effect that the selected dou-quantified eventuality can be evaluated as positive on a scale of "unexpectedness". On the one hand, adverb dou inherently requires universally distributing quantificational force over atomic parts in a plural eventuality. On the other hand, its explicit and sometimes obligatory presence involves the speaker's perspectivation of the quantified eventuality, viz., whether it exceeds the speaker's expectations. In this sense, the truth-value of dou-sentences is dependent on the linguistic perspectivation, rather than a trivial one uniformly in all possible worlds. The structure of this thesis goes as follows. Chapter 1 introduces the multifaceted semantic representations of adverb dou, and the constraints of its presence and absence which need to be explained away. Previous research has provided partial solutions but a more comprehensive one is still wanting. Chapter 2 introduces the diversified phenomena in relation to the semantics and syntax of adverb dou discussed in the literature of formalism. The starting point is dou's threefold meaning as illustrated in 吕叔湘(1999), namely 1) TOTALITY, 2) MODALITY shenzhi and 3) TEMPORALITY yijing. This thesis maintains that dou's polysemy is interdependent of one another and requires a unified analysis. Chapter 3 focuses on the formal treatment of plural eventuality and the dou-related distributive quantification, in addition to a formal definition of event plurality. The quantification of dou does not impose on any individual entity in the nominal domain as the majority of literature claims to be, but on the entirety of plural eventuality in its domain, be it explicit or hidden. Chapter 4 concentrates on the explication of dou as a distributive operator in relation to various forms of plural eventuality. Dou's function can be treated in unison regardless of the predicates with which it co-occurs. As it is illustrated, plural eventuality provides the core context which makes the presence of dou felicitous. Chapter 5 starts with pointing out that the account for dou's semantic interpretation still falls short of providing a unified analysis of its function, because the dou-quantified eventuality should be further evaluated on the scale of "unexpectedness". Distributive quantification induced by dou is not the sufficient condition to make dou-sentences felicitous but only one necessary condition. It is argued that in addition to dou's core value as a distributive operator, there exists another implicit function of "perspectivation". This latter function is linked with the speaker's change of perspective perspectivation, making sure that the dou-quantified eventuality meets the unexpectedness condition. An observation is made that dou-sentences have corresponding default counterparts, in which dou is non-obligatory, truth-conditionally identical but perspective-wise neutral. Its presence and other particular structures licensed by dou always exhibit an affinity to meet certain unexpectedness, which is here defined as "perspectivation function". The closing Chapter 6 concludes the thesis and points out follow-up work to be done in the future. First, it concedes that plurality and eventuality are encoded in language in a highly complex way. In some cases, they are implicit in argument structure or in presupposition. Second, this thesis only attempts to formalize perspectivation so the subjectivity (such as perspectivity) in language can be treated on a par with other topics in formal semantics.
Access: restricted access

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
991022214658703411.pdfFor PolyU Staff & Students1.27 MBAdobe PDFView/Open


Copyright Undertaking

As a bona fide Library user, I declare that:

  1. I will abide by the rules and legal ordinances governing copyright regarding the use of the Database.
  2. I will use the Database for the purpose of my research or private study only and not for circulation or further reproduction or any other purpose.
  3. I agree to indemnify and hold the University harmless from and against any loss, damage, cost, liability or expenses arising from copyright infringement or unauthorized usage.

By downloading any item(s) listed above, you acknowledge that you have read and understood the copyright undertaking as stated above, and agree to be bound by all of its terms.

Show full item record

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/9975