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Discourse connectives and discourse structure in Mandarin Chinese

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Title: Discourse connectives and discourse structure in Mandarin Chinese
Author(s): Kuo, Pin-Min
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Cheng, Chin-Chuan
Department / Program: Linguistics
Discipline: Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Language, Linguistics Literature, Asian Language, General
Abstract: Discourse connectives are regarded as the main linguistic device for the writer to guide the reader's inference toward the texts. Conversely, the reader's interpretation of the logical flow of the discourse is largely based on the distribution of discourse connectives. My primary concern in this research is to explore the relationship between discourse connectives and patterns of inference in a coherent plan in order to establish the discourse structure of a text. This study performs three important tasks: an investigation of discourse connectives in Mandarin Chinese beyond the syntactic level, an investigation of relationship patterns in a coherent plan, and an analysis of the contribution of connectives to a higher level of discourse structure.A significant way to study the uses and functions of connectives is to examine their correlation and distribution. Several quantitative measurements are designed to capture more specific and thorough phenomena of the distribution of discourse connectives. They are investigated from two aspects: each single discourse connective and the groups of connectives which denote the same inferential relation. The former provides us with the specific clausal (or syntactic) and macroclausal (or macrosyntactic) information, and the latter reflects a better picture of the logical linkages within discourse. These two aspects of discourse connectives are examined under three different discourse scopes: the proposition, the basic topic continuity, and the complex topic continuity.By analyzing the quantitative measurements, three principles are generalized: the principle of Connectives' Scope, the Binding Principle, and the Adjacency Principle. Based on these three principles, a procedure for establishing the discourse structure in terms of logical linkage is proposed.Finally, different strategies involved in the point-marking function (the function reflecting the writer's point) of discourse connectives are discussed, and the extent to which the patterning of connectives can reflect a discourse structure is investigated. This study suggests that the discourse connectives as an indicator in interpreting the logical linkages in complex topic continuities is much more limited than in a basic topic continuity.
Issue Date: 1994
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/19084
Rights Information: Copyright 1994 Kuo, Pin-Min
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI9416389
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI9416389
 

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