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Title: The structure of nouns in Old Xining and Modern Standard Chinese
Author: Wang, Qi
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 5017
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2018
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The goal of this thesis is to articulate a theory which can account for the structure of content words in Modern Standard Chinese and Old Xining Chinese, the traditional dialect of Xining in North West China. Various types of nominal compounds in Modern Standard Chinese and Old Xining Chinese will be described and analyzed, including endocentric attributive compounds and several types of coordinative compounds. Word formation by derivational affixation in the two languages will also be described and discussed. Reduplicated nouns in Old Xining Chinese will be described and analyzed, and shown to have particularly interesting consequences for morphological and syntactic theory. The initial question concerns the number of components in the structure of a word in Modern Standard Chinese. Following much recent work in generative syntax and morphology, the Root is defined as a primitive without word category, which can therefore never form a word on its own. A Root can form a Minimal Word only together with a categorizer, which is typically a phonologically null morpheme. A condition is proposed that there are always at least two components in the structure of a free content word in Modern Standard Chinese and Old Xining Chinese. This implies a new analysis of the items, typical of Chinese, often called Bound Roots in the literature. They are not Bound Roots (all Roots are bound), but Bound Words, a primitive with inherent syntactic category, and therefore unable to occur with a categorizer. To meet the two-component condition they have to be merged with another item, such as another word or derivational affix. It is characteristic of Old Xining Chinese that simple nouns are always reduplicated. Therefore, a stricter condition is proposed for Old Xining Chinese nouns than for Modern Standard Chinese nouns: they must always have at least two pronounced components. It is argued that the reduplicated simple nouns in Old Xining Chinese have a structure where the base is the acategorial Root and the reduplicant is the null Nominalizer which copies the phonological content of the base Root. Old Xining Chinese thereby provides strong empirical evidence that words, particularly nouns, have minimally two components, a Root and a Nominalizer. It also provides evidence that a nominal iv attributive compound is made up of a Root and a noun, not by two nouns. This hypothesis can explain, among others, the following facts: First, Bound Words cannot be reduplicated, which follows if they have inherent category. Second, the base of an affixed noun cannot be reduplicated if the affix is the head, but can be if the affix is not the head. Third, the head of a nominal compound can be reduplicated, the modifier cannot. The absence of recursive nominal compounds in Old Xining Chinese will also be discussed.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available