Time in Mandarin: The Fingerprints of Tense and Finiteness
CitationHe, Yuyin. 2020. Time in Mandarin: The Fingerprints of Tense and Finiteness. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation offers a systematic investigation of the temporal interpretations of root clauses and complement clauses in Mandarin involving functional projections of tense, aspect and modality, with a focus on the semantic analysis for root clauses and a syntactic analysis for complement clauses.
This dissertation argues that a two-null-tense analysis captures the Mandarin facts as good as a non-future tense approach. The two-null-tense approach can also account for the non-future constraint on time adverbs with bare predicates and the Mandarin-type PEDT phenomenon (plural eventualities in different temporal locations). Other than the empirical coverage, the two-null-tense hypothesis easily captures the parallelism between English and Mandarin that the perfective aspect reports past events, by maintaining a simple, unified analysis for the aspectual system and a regular analysis for the tense system.
This dissertation also provides a thorough investigation about future readings in Mandarin, taking into account the following factors: constraints on eventualities, time adverbs, tense and aspect. Specifically, we argue that the overt future morpheme hui and the covert future morpheme PLAN in futurate constructions (constructions that express a future reading without an overt future modal) contain both a futurity component and a modal component, with specific presuppositions that account for their restrictions in aspect and eventualities.
Following Wurmbrand and Lohninger (2020), this dissertation categorizes complement clauses into three groups based on their temporal/subject referential (in)dependence: Propositions, Situations and Events. A Proposition complement contains at
least a CP, a future irrealis Situation complement contains at least a wollP and an Event contains at least a vP. Though all three types of complements have the option to project a syntactic CP (headed by the trivial complementizer shuo), only the Proposition complements
contain the semantic Operator domain (CP), allowing sentence final particles, epistemic modals and functional projections related to the Operator domain. This dissertation suggests that Proposition complements contain semantic tenses as root clauses do, hence are
able to license hui and overt referentially-independent subjects. Situation complements and Event complements lack the (semantic) Operator domain. Furthermore, we propose that finiteness in Mandarin can be defined by tense. Proposition complements are tensed
and finite while Event complements are non-finite. Situation complements can have the finite form and the non-finite form, though most of them in Mandarin are non-finite. Finiteness, clausal independency, complexities and transparency of complement clauses follow the Implicational Complementation Hierarchy (ICH).
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37368956
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