Linguistic Analysis

A research journal devoted to the publication of high quality articles in formal phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics. In continuous publication since 1976. ISSN: 0098-9053


ATB-topicalization in Mandarin Chinese: An Intersective Operator Analysis

In this paper, I discuss so-called “ATB-movement” in Chinese. I will show that these are in fact instances of topicalization, since they show the characteristics of both nominal topicalization and of wh-topicalization. For example, the ATB-extracted elements can be marked by the so-called “topic markers” in Chinese. An ATB-extracted wh-element shows D-linking effects, which is a general property of wh-topics. ATB-topicalization in Chinese obeys all the independent syntactic constraints that apply to general topicalization, such as island effects. It has been shown that TopP exists in the left periphery in Chinese; it is the landing site for all topicalized materials. I will argue that it is also the landing site of ATB-topicalized elements. Semantically I will concentrate on the question of how an identity answer is generated in Chinese ATB-movement. I will show that an Intersective Operator is generated at TopP and that it extracts the common variable from the conjuncts. The common variable is generated in the intersection of the range (not the domain) of the coordinated functions. Only one copy of the two occurrences of the extracted elements is conserved at TopP due to the economy principle. I will show that Chinese ATB cases differ from English ones in that the Intersective Operator is the only interpretation tool that we need to obtain an identity reading in Chinese since there is no independent syntactic selectional restrictions on the nature (subject/object) of the exacted materials from both coordinates.