Syntax-pragmatics interface: Mandarin Chinese wh-the-hell and point-of-view operator

Chao Ting Tim Chou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Based on previously unnoted data concerning wh-the-hell attitude-bearing questions in Mandarin Chinese, I argue that integrating the pragmatic notion "point of view" into the syntactic computation enables us to capture certain properties of wh-the-hell questions in Mandarin Chinese in a systematic and illuminating way. The two central phenomena analyzed are (1) causal zenme'how come' is not compatible with daodi'the-hell' in Chinese, and (2) in Chinese wh-the-hell questions, when daodi'the-hell' takes matrix scope while staying overtly in the embedded clause, the person feature of the matrix subject cannot be third person. I argue that explaining these phenomena depends on recognizing the logophoricity of the negative attitudes carried by daodi and causal zenme. The valuation relation that I postulate between the Point-of-View operator and an unvalued Point-of-View feature of daodi and causal zenme not only explains these data but also formally captures certain properties of the Chinese logophor ziji (cf. Huang & Liu 2001).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-24
Number of pages24
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Language and Linguistics


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