Semantic-Communicative Structure and Word Order in Mandarin Chinese


In some languages more than in others, communicative considerations—such as what a message is about, what information is new or old, and whether this or that participant is in the Speaker’s focus of attention—constrain the structure of a sentence. The goal of the present paper is to describe how different Semantic-Communicative Structures affect word order in simple mono-transitive sentences without coverbs or adverbial phrases in Mandarin Chinese. The discussion is couched in the Meaning-Text framework, relevant parts of which are clarified at the onset of the paper. We argue that Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) sentences are communicatively unmarked in that they do not signal any particular communicative consideration. Other word orders, however, specifically encode certain communicative considerations. This is the case of Prolepsisi-Subjecti-Verb-Object (PiSiVO) and Object-Subject-Verb (OSV) sentences, which are discussed here.

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Tremblay, A. & Beck, D. (2013). Semantic-Communicative Structure and Word Order in Mandarin Chinese. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 3, 79-86. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2013.31010.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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