Exhaustivity or contrastivity? A comparative study of the semantics of Mandarin shi sentences and English it-clefts
Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62) › 21_Publication in refereed journal › peer-review
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|Original language||Chinese (Simplified)|
|Journal / Publication||外语教学与研究|
|Publication status||Published - Sep 2019|
In this study, we compare the semantics of English it-clefts and Mandarin focus-marking shi sentences, with special attention paid to two closely related notions: exhaustivity and contrastivity. While three types of analysis(the assertion analysis, the presupposition analysis, and the conversational implicature analysis) have been proposed to account for the semantics of it-clefts, none can adequately account for the semantics of Mandarin shi sentences. Therefore, we propose that (i) Exhaustivity should not be viewed as a separate meaning component encoded in the semantics of shi sentences, but is a kind of epiphenomenon derived from contrastivity.(ii) The presupposition of shi sentences involves two propositions: its prejacent and a contextually salient alternative. Shi sentences presuppose a strong contrastive discourse relation discussed in Repp (2016), namely, an exclusive disjunction between these two propositions. Meanwhile, shi sentences assert that the prejacent is true. The advantage of the current account is that it could provide a unified analysis towards different types of shi sentences (i.e. sentence initial vs sentence medial shi) and several types of shi related structures like propositional assertion pattern and verum focus.
- “是”字句, it-分裂句, 穷尽性, 对比性