Jump to the main content block
Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


Head-Wrapping and Possessive Objects Syntactic VS. Lexico-Semantic Treatment of Discontinuity

Vol. 18 No. 1   6/1988       


Head-Wrapping and Possessive Objects Syntactic VS. Lexico-Semantic Treatment of Discontinuity 


Chu-ren Huang 









Key words



    This paper studies the discontinuous idiom chunks of the Possessive Objects (POBJ) construction of Mandarin Chinese. Analyses in both GPSG and Head Grammar are discussed. The result illustrates that purely syntactic approaches, even with powerful mechanisms such as Head wrapping, cannot satisfactorily account for this lexically controlled discontinuity. It is shown instead that a lexico-semantic account, following the general account of idiom chunks proposed in Wasow et al (1983), offers a better solution. 

    It is shown that an intuitive GPSG account cannot capture the discontinuous constituency and maintain compositionality at the same time. with a Head Grammar analysis, it is demonstrated that Head-wrapping easily captures the discontinuity but, somewhat surprisingly, fails to account for one of positions of the temporal adjunct. 

    In the lexico-semantic account I adopt in this paper, lexical information of sub-categorization of the POBJ idiom chunks is carried by the second NP, while the verb is semantically translated as a (partial) identity map. This account captures the syntactic facts as well as the semantic fact that idiom chunks show partial compositionality. 



Author: Chu-ren Huang
Genre: Article
Click Num: