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Recovery and translation of zero anaphoric subjects in Chinese

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Title: Recovery and translation of zero anaphoric subjects in Chinese
Author(s): Lee, Cher-Leng
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
Abstract: In reading a narrative, it is crucial to know who the writer is referring to. When the subject of each sentence is made explicit, this task of identifying the referent is simple. However, in a discourse-oriented language like Chinese, there is no grammatical requirement to have a subject in each sentence, and so zero subjects are the norm rather than the exception. There could be several entities present in a discourse made up of clauses with zero subjects. The reader will have to decide which entity is being referred to in each clause. The first part of this dissertation examines the cues that help readers identify the correct referent; the second part investigates how these zero subjects are translated into English where the subjects are usually made explicit.It is proposed that the topic continuity of the relevant passage is important to recover the referents of zero anaphoric subjects. The recovery process begins at the predicate of the zero subject, then continues to the closest subtopic continuity, and then the next until the referent is found. Thus, recovery is said to be a bottom-up process. Principles that help decide whether the most recent entity, the opening entity of the passage, or any other entity present is the referent are derived. This is done through the application of the topic continuity, discourse analysis, semantic matching and contextual knowledge.An examination of the translation of the zero anaphoric subjects into English reveals that not only noun phrases, pronouns, and new nouns are used, but passives, cohesive devices such as coordination and subordination are used as well. The reasons that decide one usage or another can be that of specification, non-specification, or connection. The topic continuity again plays an important role, especially in the rearrangement of clauses and editing of a particular passage. In order to restructure the translated clauses, the topic continuity of these clauses has to be identified before dealing with the details of each clause. Thus, the restructuring of translation is a top-down process.
Issue Date: 1990
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/21666
Rights Information: Copyright 1990 Lee, Cher-Leng
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI9026243
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI9026243
 

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