The Interpretation of Elliptical Predicate Constructions in Mandarin: Semantic Underspecification and Pragmatic Enrichment

Yue Yu, Yicheng Wu

Abstract

This paper attempts to present a unitary account of a range of elliptical predicate constructions in Mandarin, such as Null Object Constructions, English-like VP ellipsis constructions, and gapping constructions. It is argued that (i) from an interpretative perspective, the ellipsis site in the above-mentioned elliptical constructions can be uniformly analyzed as a pro-form with underspecified content; (ii) the interpretation of both syntactically and semantically underspecified constructions as such is crucially dependent on context. Within the framework of Dynamic Syntax (Kempson et al. 2001; Cann et al. 2005), the null object in Null Object Constructions, the null verb phrase in English-like VP ellipsis constructions and the null verb in gapping constructions are consistently analyzed as projecting a metavariable whose semantic value is pragmatically enriched from context by means of “substitution”/“re-use”. It is thus shown that syntactic and pragmatic processes interact to determine the underspecified content of elliptical predicate constructions in Mandarin. The dynamic analysis proposed provides a formal and unitary characterization of a variety of elliptical constructions without any stipulations.

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Paper Citation


in Harvard Style

Yu Y. and Wu Y. (2016). The Interpretation of Elliptical Predicate Constructions in Mandarin: Semantic Underspecification and Pragmatic Enrichment . In Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence - Volume 1: PUaNLP, (ORG/PUANLP 2016) ISBN 978-989-758-172-4, pages 323-334. DOI: 10.5220/0005830003230334


in Bibtex Style

@conference{puanlp16,
author={Yue Yu and Yicheng Wu},
title={The Interpretation of Elliptical Predicate Constructions in Mandarin: Semantic Underspecification and Pragmatic Enrichment},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence - Volume 1: PUaNLP, (ORG/PUANLP 2016)},
year={2016},
pages={323-334},
publisher={SciTePress},
organization={INSTICC},
doi={10.5220/0005830003230334},
isbn={978-989-758-172-4},
}


in EndNote Style

TY - CONF
JO - Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Agents and Artificial Intelligence - Volume 1: PUaNLP, (ORG/PUANLP 2016)
TI - The Interpretation of Elliptical Predicate Constructions in Mandarin: Semantic Underspecification and Pragmatic Enrichment
SN - 978-989-758-172-4
AU - Yu Y.
AU - Wu Y.
PY - 2016
SP - 323
EP - 334
DO - 10.5220/0005830003230334