On the semantics of the Chinese modal adverb you

  • Jiali Ou

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This study aims to investigate the modal meamngs of you under Kratzer (1981)'s and Xie (2006)'s modality theory. Data is collected from Academia Sinica Balanced Corpus of Modern Chinese (ASBCMC hereafter). In ASBCMC, you has two types of modal meanings. It expresses the divergence between the speaker's expectation and the situation presented by the sentence (labeled as you1 hereafter). It also can indicate the convergence between the expectation and the situation (labeled as you2 hereafter).In respect to you1, the proposition that describes the situation has a truth value opposite to that of the expectation. In this condition, the expectation is from the speaker's presupposition developed upon objective factors. The proposition that describes the situation which you2 presents always has the same truth value asthat of the expectation from the speaker's personal wish. The simple necessity of negation can be put in use to define the truth value of the proposition of you. You1 tends to denote the lexical meaning 'transition' which you2 cannot denote. In declarative sentences, you is the predicate to predicate the proposition. Meanwhile, it is also adverbials to modify the predicate of the sentence. In the negative sentence and rhetorical question sentences, you has no contribution to the sentential contents and is only predicated on the proposition. The speaker frequently uses you to refute the obligation from others and his own ability. You is also employed to indicate the speaker's agreement about his judgment or others' ability.本文主要在Kratzer ( 1 981 )和谢佳玲( 2006 )的情态理论框架下探讨了情态副词“又”的语义特征。语料库显示“又”在实际运用中有两种情态语义。一种是表达说话者的期望与命题事实的背离,另一种是表达期望符合命题事实,但大多数情况下“又”显示第一种情态义。接下来本文从几个方面讨论和对比了这两种语义。本文的研究结论是,“又”在表达期望与命题事实背离时,命题真值与说话者的期望为对立关系:“又”表期望与命题符合时,命题真值与说话者期望相同。“又”的命题真值可用否定必要性未定义。“又”表背离预期时,含有“重复”,“递进”,“并列”及“转折”词汇义,也存在对句子没有语义贡献的情况。而“又”表符合预期时,不含有“转折”义,只含有重复,递进,并列三种词汇义。这与“又”表达的情景有关。另外,在语料库中, “又”用在陈述句型中,都对句子有i吾义贡献,即都含有词汇意义,如“递进”, “重复” 等。此时“又”既修饰句中谓语,又充当高层谓语对整个命题进行评注。而在特殊句型中,“又”无词汇意义,仅作为高层谓语作用于整个命题,表达说话者的主观情态。最后,本文归类了与“又”共现的情态词,结果显示说话者常用“又”来反驳来自外部的义务或否认自身的能力,也用来表达说话者对自身的判断及别人的能力的肯定。
Date of Award1 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorSuying YANG (Supervisor)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Adverb
  • Chinese language
  • Modality

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