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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


“ Abouthness ” and Clause-Linking : Two Separate Functions of Topic in Mandarin ﹡

Vol. 27 No. 1   6/1997  


“Abouthness ”and Clause-LinkingTwo Separate Functions of Topic in Mandarin


Chauncey C. Chu









Key words

political tutelage, revolution, nation-building


      This paper identifies two separate functions of the Mandarin topic:“Abouthness”and“Clause-link”. Quite a few strong correlations are found between these two functions and the structural forms that perform them.“Aboutness” is mainly carried out by heavily coded structures: full NPs accompanied by stress and morphological makings.“Dclause-linging” is mainly carried out by lightly coded structures: Weakly stressed pronouns or zero anaphors without morphological markings. While the respective structural forms many well be termed marked and unmarked topics, they do not lend themselves to discrete categories. They are rather two opposite ends of a continuum with lesser marked and lesser unmarked forms in-between

    Once application of his distinction is to explain why some Mandarin topics can occur in focus positions such as lain ... dou/ye. They must be marked topics that carry a large amount of information. Another application is to solve the question of whether or not the ba-construction is a topic marker. It is found that though the NP following ba may perform the function of “clause-linking”, function is not derived from the ba-construction.



Author: Chauncey C. Chu
Genre: Article
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