Date of Degree

10-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

Linguistics

Advisor

Robert W. Fiengo

Subject Categories

Linguistics

Keywords

Chinese, incompleteness, questions, semantics, speech-acts, syntax

Abstract

This thesis re-examines the four main question-types in Mandarin Chinese, namely, particle questions, háishì questions, A-not-A questions and wh-questions, whose previous accounts are argued to be unsatisfactory due to various faulty assumptions about questions, particularly the stipulation of `Q'. Each of the four Mandarin Chinese question-types is re-accounted based on the view that questions are speech-acts, whose performance are done by way of speakers' subconscious choice of sentence-types that mirror their ignorance-types, as proposed in Fiengo (2007). It is further demonstrated that viewing questions as speech-acts instead of a structurally marked sentence-type allows a simpler and more intuitive account for expressions that occur in them. Two expressions are re-evaluated for that matter: the sentential adverb dàodi in Mandarin Chinese and wh-the-hell in English.

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