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Chinese Syntax in a Cross-Linguistic Perspective$
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Audrey Li, Andrew Simpson, and Wei-Tien Dylan Tsai

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199945658

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945658.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 July 2021

Root Infinitive Analogues in Chinese and Japanese and the Emergence of Full Syntactic Structure

Root Infinitive Analogues in Chinese and Japanese and the Emergence of Full Syntactic Structure

Chapter:
(p.375) 14 Root Infinitive Analogues in Chinese and Japanese and the Emergence of Full Syntactic Structure
Source:
Chinese Syntax in a Cross-Linguistic Perspective
Author(s):

Keiko Murasugi

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945658.003.0014

This chapter argues that Root Infinitives (RIs) and Root Infinitive Analogues (RIAs), the non-finite (infinitival) verbal forms which children at around one to two years of age use in matrix (root) clauses, are produced by both Chinese- and Japanese-speaking children; whether or not the target language is *pro*-drop or argument-drop, children universally go through the very early non-finite verb stage. It argues that the child root clause is not CP like adults’, but the phrase structure may be truncated, and it also argues that there are morphological variations: RI(A)s can be infinitives(e.g., German, Dutch, French), bare verbs (e.g., Chinese, English), or certain (surrogate) full forms(e.g., Japanese, Korean, Turkish, Kuwaiti Arabic) and suggests that the morphological parameter that determines whether or not the stem can stand by itself is acquired at the very early stage of language acquisition. Furthermore, based on the findings of the early emergence of the sentence-ending particles in child Chinese and child Japanese, we suggest that children acquire syntactic structure not only in a bottom-up fashion, but also in a top-down fashion, and the structure of syntactic phrase is bootstrapped by the knowledge of the pragmatic properties of speech act particles that link the addresser and the addressee.

Keywords:   Root Infinitives, Root Infinitive Analogues, surrogate infinitives, truncation, verbal forms, speech act phrase, sentence-ending particles

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