Modern Chinese Parts of Speech: Classification Theory

1st Edition

Guo Rui

March 13, 2019 Forthcoming
Reference - 256 Pages - 18 B/W Illustrations
ISBN 9781138576711 - CAT# Y382753
Series: Chinese Linguistics

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What is the nature of part of speech? Why is it difficult to divide parts of speech? What are the bases and criteria for dividing them? How should they be divided? In doing so, how should a conversional word be dealt with? How should nomonalization be treated? These are just some of the questions answered in this book.

The division of parts of speech in Chinese is a tough job due to its lack of morphological differences. Based on the analysis of nearly 40,000 Chinese characters, this book thinks that essentially, a part of speech is not of distributional type and that its intrinsic basis is expressional function and semantic type. In nature, the large categories such as substantive word, predicate word and modification word are classes of words divided according to their expressional functions. The basic categories such as noun, verb and adjective are classes that combine semantic types with syntactical functions. In dividing parts of speech, the book pays attention not to identifying a single distributive characteristic that is internally universal and externally exclusive but to clustering the grammatical functions that have the same division value through the “reflection-representation” relationship among distribution, expressional function and semantic type (distribution reflects expressional function and semantic type, which are represented as distribution), thereby identifying the division criteria. It uses distributional compatibility and correlation principle to analyse which distributional differences represent differences in part of speech and which do not. In this way, grammatical functions that have equal division values are collected into one equivalent function cluster, each of which represents one part of speech. 

The book uses four strategies to divide parts of speech, namely homogeneity strategy, homomorphical strategy, priority homomorphical strategy and consolidation strategy. It may be a valuable reference for Chinese linguistic researchers and students as well as Chinese learners.

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