Limits...
Who is who? Interpretation of multiple occurrences of the Chinese reflexive: evidence from real-time sentence processing.

Shuai L, Gong T, Wu Y - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: The general interpretation patterns observed showed that the majority of participants associated both zijis with the same local antecedent, which was consistent with Principle A of the Standard Binding Theory and previous experimental findings involving a single ziji.In addition, mixed readings also occurred, but did not pattern as claimed in the theoretical linguistic literature (i.e., one ziji is bound by a long-distance antecedent and the other by a local antecedent).Based on these results, we argue that: (i) mixed readings were due to manifold, interlocking and conflicting perspectives taken by the participants; and (ii) cases of multiple occurrences of ziji taking distinct antecedents are illicit in Chinese syntax, since the speaker, when expressing a sentence, can select only one P(erspective)-Center that referentially denotes the psychological perspective in which the sentence is situated.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Massachusetts, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Theoretical linguists claim that the notorious reflexive ziji 'self' in Mandarin Chinese, if occurring more than once in a single sentence, can take distinct antecedents. This study tackles possibly the most interesting puzzle in the linguistic literature, investigating how two occurrences of ziji in a single sentence are interpreted and whether or not there are mixed readings, i.e., these zijis are interpretively bound by distinct antecedents. Using 15 Chinese sentences each having two zijis, we conducted two sentence reading experiments based on a modified self-paced reading paradigm. The general interpretation patterns observed showed that the majority of participants associated both zijis with the same local antecedent, which was consistent with Principle A of the Standard Binding Theory and previous experimental findings involving a single ziji. In addition, mixed readings also occurred, but did not pattern as claimed in the theoretical linguistic literature (i.e., one ziji is bound by a long-distance antecedent and the other by a local antecedent). Based on these results, we argue that: (i) mixed readings were due to manifold, interlocking and conflicting perspectives taken by the participants; and (ii) cases of multiple occurrences of ziji taking distinct antecedents are illicit in Chinese syntax, since the speaker, when expressing a sentence, can select only one P(erspective)-Center that referentially denotes the psychological perspective in which the sentence is situated.

Show MeSH

Related in: MedlinePlus

Example sentences showing the blocking effect on ziji.Sentence (1) has one occurrence of ziji. Sentence (2) has two occurrences of ziji (from [16], pp. 340 (36)). Sentences (3) and (4) show the exceptions to such blocking effect (from [2]). For each sentence, the first line shows the Roman spelling of this sentence, the second line shows the word gloss, and the third line shows the English translation. (a)–(g) are possible interpretations of the two zijis in sentence (2). (h) and (i) are unacceptable ones, thus marked by “*”.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection


getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3760907&req=5

pone-0073226-g001: Example sentences showing the blocking effect on ziji.Sentence (1) has one occurrence of ziji. Sentence (2) has two occurrences of ziji (from [16], pp. 340 (36)). Sentences (3) and (4) show the exceptions to such blocking effect (from [2]). For each sentence, the first line shows the Roman spelling of this sentence, the second line shows the word gloss, and the third line shows the English translation. (a)–(g) are possible interpretations of the two zijis in sentence (2). (h) and (i) are unacceptable ones, thus marked by “*”.

Mentions: As is well discussed in the theoretical linguistic literature, there is a linguistic puzzle in Mandarin Chinese, the notorious reflexive ziji ‘self’ can take an antecedent across a clausal boundary, which contradicts Principle A of the Standard Binding Theory [1]. Meanwhile, ziji is subject to a blocking effect, i.e. a local 1st/2nd-person noun phrase (NP) may block a remote NP from being a long-distance antecedent, as illustrated by sentence (1) in Figure 1. Note that some scholar also pointed out that a local 3rd-person NP does not fully block a remote 1st/2nd-person NP from being a long-distance antecedent [2], as shown in sentences (3) and (4) in Figure 1.


Who is who? Interpretation of multiple occurrences of the Chinese reflexive: evidence from real-time sentence processing.

Shuai L, Gong T, Wu Y - PLoS ONE (2013)

Example sentences showing the blocking effect on ziji.Sentence (1) has one occurrence of ziji. Sentence (2) has two occurrences of ziji (from [16], pp. 340 (36)). Sentences (3) and (4) show the exceptions to such blocking effect (from [2]). For each sentence, the first line shows the Roman spelling of this sentence, the second line shows the word gloss, and the third line shows the English translation. (a)–(g) are possible interpretations of the two zijis in sentence (2). (h) and (i) are unacceptable ones, thus marked by “*”.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3760907&req=5

pone-0073226-g001: Example sentences showing the blocking effect on ziji.Sentence (1) has one occurrence of ziji. Sentence (2) has two occurrences of ziji (from [16], pp. 340 (36)). Sentences (3) and (4) show the exceptions to such blocking effect (from [2]). For each sentence, the first line shows the Roman spelling of this sentence, the second line shows the word gloss, and the third line shows the English translation. (a)–(g) are possible interpretations of the two zijis in sentence (2). (h) and (i) are unacceptable ones, thus marked by “*”.
Mentions: As is well discussed in the theoretical linguistic literature, there is a linguistic puzzle in Mandarin Chinese, the notorious reflexive ziji ‘self’ can take an antecedent across a clausal boundary, which contradicts Principle A of the Standard Binding Theory [1]. Meanwhile, ziji is subject to a blocking effect, i.e. a local 1st/2nd-person noun phrase (NP) may block a remote NP from being a long-distance antecedent, as illustrated by sentence (1) in Figure 1. Note that some scholar also pointed out that a local 3rd-person NP does not fully block a remote 1st/2nd-person NP from being a long-distance antecedent [2], as shown in sentences (3) and (4) in Figure 1.

Bottom Line: The general interpretation patterns observed showed that the majority of participants associated both zijis with the same local antecedent, which was consistent with Principle A of the Standard Binding Theory and previous experimental findings involving a single ziji.In addition, mixed readings also occurred, but did not pattern as claimed in the theoretical linguistic literature (i.e., one ziji is bound by a long-distance antecedent and the other by a local antecedent).Based on these results, we argue that: (i) mixed readings were due to manifold, interlocking and conflicting perspectives taken by the participants; and (ii) cases of multiple occurrences of ziji taking distinct antecedents are illicit in Chinese syntax, since the speaker, when expressing a sentence, can select only one P(erspective)-Center that referentially denotes the psychological perspective in which the sentence is situated.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Massachusetts, United States of America.

ABSTRACT
Theoretical linguists claim that the notorious reflexive ziji 'self' in Mandarin Chinese, if occurring more than once in a single sentence, can take distinct antecedents. This study tackles possibly the most interesting puzzle in the linguistic literature, investigating how two occurrences of ziji in a single sentence are interpreted and whether or not there are mixed readings, i.e., these zijis are interpretively bound by distinct antecedents. Using 15 Chinese sentences each having two zijis, we conducted two sentence reading experiments based on a modified self-paced reading paradigm. The general interpretation patterns observed showed that the majority of participants associated both zijis with the same local antecedent, which was consistent with Principle A of the Standard Binding Theory and previous experimental findings involving a single ziji. In addition, mixed readings also occurred, but did not pattern as claimed in the theoretical linguistic literature (i.e., one ziji is bound by a long-distance antecedent and the other by a local antecedent). Based on these results, we argue that: (i) mixed readings were due to manifold, interlocking and conflicting perspectives taken by the participants; and (ii) cases of multiple occurrences of ziji taking distinct antecedents are illicit in Chinese syntax, since the speaker, when expressing a sentence, can select only one P(erspective)-Center that referentially denotes the psychological perspective in which the sentence is situated.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus