A Typology of Counterfactual Clauses

違實句的類型學研究

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Author(s)

  • Qian YONG

Detail(s)

Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Award date26 Jan 2016

Abstract

This dissertation aims to discover fascinating properties of the counterfactuals in genetically, geographically and typologically independent1 languages and to further find a common denominator of these properties. Our final goal is to provide an explanation of universal tendencies in terms of correlates of formal features and semantic/pragmatic functions underlying language use and language change.
Chapter 1 provides a brief introduction of some logic properties of counterfactuals and establishes the scope of the thesis. Chapter 2 presents a synchronic survey of counterfactuals. Considering the complexity of counterfactuals in Mandarin, we take a corpus-based method to document and analyze the ways in which counterfactuals are expressed in Mandarin. In Chinese, counterfactuals are not coded by overt grammatical means, but inferred from various cues in the discourse-pragmatic contexts, such as forms referring to the current time of speaking, negators, first person pronouns, proximal demonstratives, modals and so on. We based the investigation of Mandarin counterfactual clauses on the Lancaster Corpus of Mandarin Chinese (1st version), the UCLA Corpus of Written Chinese (2nd edition) and Texts of Recent Chinese (TORCH). Some further statistical analyses are conducted to show that the presence of the abovementioned stimuli is positively correlated with the expressions of counterfactuality in Mandarin. Additionally, CLOB corpus (Brown family, British English), CROWN corpus (Brown family, American English) and English-Chinese Bilingual Parallel Corpus are also introduced to make a contrastive study between counterfactuals in Mandarin and English (British/American). At the end, we try to integrate language-particular and cross-linguistic work together and conclude that counterfactuals in Mandarin are mainly realized by CFEnhancing (counterfactuality enhancing) markers rather than by dedicated CF markers.
Chapter 3 contains a synchronic description of counterfactual constructions, of their lexico- morphological, syntactic, semantic and pragmatic properties. The description is based on a sample of 155 languages which are geographically and genetically representative of the world’s languages.
Firstly, we find that the concept of ‘counterfactuality’ can not be universally defined. Counterfactuality can be either pragmatically implicated or morpho-syntactically coded. Secondly, our data reveal that counterfactual meaning can be realized through various syntactic forms ranging from simple clauses to complex (coordinate, co-subordinate and subordinate) clauses. Thirdly, we catalogue various forms which languages employ to express counterfactuality. Languages exhibit a direct strategy if they use one dedicated CF marker out of six possible types: conjunction, verb, adverb, particle, clitic or affix. Sometimes, languages may involve combinations of forms, such as lexical verbs with particular inflections, compound mood forms, compound TAM forms and so on. Last but not least, besides counterfactual conditionals, we also examine counterfactual wishes and counterfactual obligations. Counterfactual clauses might sometimes develop pragmatic effects such as failed attempt, closely missed event, mistaken identity, and rhetorical question.
Chapter 4 is devoted to a diachronic development of CF markings. Based on the empirical study of the formal features of counterfactuals in chapter 3, we find that the markings of counterfactuals tend to be complex. One frequent combination of markers that shows up in many languages is that of a past tense together with perfect in past counterfactuals. According to Dahl (1997), the stacking use of CF markings consists of elements of varying historical layers. This motivates a closer look at the diachronic history of each marking in the combinations that do occur. Therefore, a diachronic study of frequently used CF markers such as past tense, perfective/imperfective aspect, irrealis mood markers is conducted. We propose a cross-linguistic whole life-cycle of CF markers which start as past tense markers, become fake past tense markers, develop into CF markers and end as future tense markers.
Chapter 5 distills the cross-linguistic findings of chapter 2, 3 and 4. In languages without dedicated marking strategy, counterfactual meaning is produced through pragmatic implicature by hinting at the known factuality. Mandarin analyzed in chapter 2 exemplifies this type. The hearer bases his or her evaluation of counterfactuality on the presence of many CFEnhancing markers like past/perfect tense markers, which locate the hypothetical utterance in the factual past, or like first person subjects and proximal demostratives, which increase the epistemic status of the situation by indicating speaker participation, or like irrealis mood markers which help to indicate a purely hypothetical domain, or like negators which may increase the probability of expressing counterfactuality since things that happen are more real than things that do not happen. However, some languages may have counterfactuality coded either by some specialized opaque markers outlined in chapter 3 or by grammaticalized uses of TAM features (e.g. from the real past to fake one) outlined in Chapter 4 or by lexicalized compounds like yaobushi (要不是, if not be) in Mandarin. In many other languages, the cues for indicating counterfactuality are not salient. The sense of counterfactuality is conveyed by a union of syntactic, morphological and lexical features as mentioned in Chapter 3. It is generated through the gestalt integration of all these different features.
這篇論文旨在揭示世界語言中違實句的多樣性特徵,這些語言大多在起源上,地理上以及類型學特徵上相對獨立。在總結和描寫特徵的同時,進而找到共同的參數。論文的最終目的是關聯句法語義和語用,進而解釋語言的普遍使用和發展規律。
第一章介紹了違實句的邏輯概念以及論文的研究範圍。第二章是對違實句進行共時案例研究。鑒於現代漢語中違實句的複雜性,我們以語料庫為基礎,對現代漢語中違實句的形態特徵進行統計和分析。由於現代漢語中的違實句並沒有被顯性語法特徵所標記,只能借助語用捷徑,包括時制特徵,否定,第一人稱代詞, 近指代詞,情態詞等進行語境暗示。本章使用的語料庫包括蘭卡斯特現代漢語語料庫(第一版),UCLA漢語書面語語料庫(第二版)以及 TORCH語料庫。一些統計學的算法驗證了上述特徵確實與違實句正向關聯。此外,本章還引進了布朗家族的另外兩個語料庫,CLOB(英式英語)和 CROWN(美式英語)以及英漢雙語平行語料庫,以便對英語和漢語中的違實句進行跨語言對比研究。最後,我們試圖將漢語的特性與跨語言共性相結合,並且總結漢語違實句主要依靠違實強化標記而非違實標記。
第三章是對違實句的詞彙形態、句法、語義以及語用特徵進行共時類型學研究。該研究選用的語種庫涉及 155種語言,在地理位置上以及起源上皆具有代表性。首先,我們發現違實概念不具有語言普遍性。違實義既可以通過語用推理形成,也可以通過句法形態予以標記。其次,資料顯示違實義可以實現為多種句法形式,既可以是簡單句也可以是複雜句包括並列,並屬和從屬。再次,資料顯示違實句有多種標記形式。語言既可以使用特定違實標記,如連詞、動詞、副詞、小品詞、附著詞、語素等,也可以使用非特定違實標記,多以組合形式出現,如特定詞彙動詞、複合語氣形式、複合時體態形式等。最後,除了違實條件句,我們也考察了其他典型違實義的表現形式,如違實期望和違實推理,以及非典型違實義如轉折義,“幾乎”義,“以為”義和反問義。
第四章主要研究違實標記的歷時形成軌跡。基於第三章的研究,我們發現違實標記常常以複雜形式出現。最常用的組合形式就是過去時與完成時(體)的組合。Dahl(1997)認為這些堆積的違實標記都各自有其歷史發展軌跡。這些啟發了我們對語言中各種常用的堆積違實標記進行歷時層級研究,包括過去時,完成/未完成體,非現實語氣等。我們認為違實標記的發展延續著統一的迴圈軌跡:始于過去時,演變成虛過去時,進化成可以出現在未來時制中的成熟的違實標記。
第五章總結且深化第二、三、四章的類型學發現。在缺乏違實標記的語言中,違實義可以通過語用推理形成。第二章所列的現代漢語屬於此類。聽話者通過違實強化標記判斷說話者是否進行違實推理,比如過去時、第一人稱主語、近指代詞等可以增加違實判斷的事實基礎,語氣範疇可以增加違實判斷的虛擬基礎,否定範疇可以增加違實判斷的可能性,因為已經發生的事情比沒有發生的事情更真實。然而一些語言可以運用語言手段標記違實義,有些專門違實標記語義透明度較低,如第三章所述;而有些違實標記則是由時體態特徵語法化形成,如從過去時到虛過去時的演變(見第四章);還有些違實標記是由多項臨近特徵詞彙化形成,如現代漢語中的“要不是”。在很多其他語言中,違實標記並不顯著。違實義則是由句法、形態、詞彙特徵(見第三章)共同整合的結果。