Focus and Background Marking in Mandarin Chinese
System and Theory behind cai, jiu, dou and ye
By Daniel Hole
Routledge – 2003 – 328 pages
This is an investigation into the grammaticalized system of focus-background agreement in Mandarin Chinese. The particles cái, jiù, dou and ye are, in a specific use type, shown to form the core of a highly systematic paradigm.
This book is not just a valuable companion for anyone interested in core aspects of Mandarin Chinese grammar. It caters for the interests of theoretical linguists as well as for linguists from other fields with an interest in information-structure, focus and contrastive topics, and quantification. The outstanding characteristic of this book, viz. its effortless integration of findings from formal semantics without heavy formal load, makes it rewarding reading both for linguists with a less formal background, and for researchers with some knowledge of formal semantics.
'[This] book is an outstanding piece of linguistic literature, with equally important contributions to both Chinese and general theoretical linguistics. It is written in a lucid way and uses formal technicalities only to the extent that they are inescapable … its very honest, yet strict scholarly attitude brings fresh air into the literature of the field, which I appreciate above all of its numerous other merits.' - Cahiers de Linguistique - Asie Orientale
'This study provides a comprehensive, insightful, and responsible scrutiny
on information structure and semantics in Mandarin grammar, completed by a
careful consideration of the syntax-semantics interface … [it] is an outstanding piece of work that I would recommend both to Chinese linguists, and to linguists interested in information structure.' - Linguist List
2. Use types
3. Triggers and constraints: where parametric cái, jiù, dou and ye must (not) be used
4. Cái, jiù, dou, ye and focus semantics
5. Problems and refinements
6. Conclusions and outlook
Daniel P. Hole, born in 1969, holds an M.A. degree in Theoretical Linguistics, Phonetics and Philosophy, and a Ph.D. degree in Linguistics. Following studies in Munich, Cologne, Berlin and Taibei, he now works as an assistant lecturer at the University of Munich. His research interests include information-structure, typology and diathesis alternations, with emphasis put on the integration of results from formal semantics.