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This chapter shows that there were fundamental changes in two types of information structure: one is at the clause level, involving the arrangement of new and given information, and the other is at the predicate level, involving the arrangement of resultative and non-resultative (accompanying) information. The first is cross-linguistically true and can be found in many other languages; the second may be particular to the language and has thus far been known to exist only in Chinese. Throughout the entire history of Chinese grammar, these two principles of information organization are critical for understanding how the grammar has evolved over time. On the one hand, both reflect the results of grammatical developments; on the other hand, they motivated a series of significant changes in history that together have largely shaped the grammatical system of Contemporary Chinese.
It is pervasive today in studies of the Chinese language for spoken instances to be used to support both spoken and written grammars. As made clear in Chapter 3, spoken and written languages require different grammars. Based on the process relations, controversial constructions in written Chinese are analysed in Chapter 7. These constructions include the following in which non-finiteness plays an indispensable role: serial verb construction, the so-called pivotal construction, existential construction, and other controversial constructions. In Chapters 6 and 7, the controversial issues of non-finiteness in English and Chinese are dealt with from the process-relation perspective and new findings are presented. Thus, the answer to the fourth research question is given.
The present article demonstrates how the so far unchallenged misanalysis within Chinese linguistics of a few, but central, data points has led to a distorted picture biasing, inter alia, the general typology of wh-in-situ languages as well as the crosslinguistic study of Quantifier Phrases. This is the case for méi yǒu rén ‘not exist person’, hěnshǎo yǒu rén ‘rarely exist person’, and zhǐ yǒu DP ‘only exist DP’, which are not nominal projections equivalent of ‘nobody’, ‘only DP’, and ‘few people’ as currently assumed, but existential constructions: ‘there isn't anybody’, ‘there is only DP’, and ‘there are rarely people’. In addition, a subset of speakers has reanalyzed hěnshǎo (yǒu) rén with a covert yǒu ‘exist’ as a QP hěnshǎo rén ‘few people’. A corpus study highlights the limited distribution of hěnshǎo rén ‘few people’, which shows that it is not on a par with its antonym hěn duō rén ‘many people’.
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