Cantonese jihgei: Subject-object asymmetry and non-subject antecedent potential

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Thesis type
(Thesis) M.A.
Date created
Subject orientation is generally viewed to be a cross-linguistic core property of long distance anaphors (LDAs). This property has an important bearing on theories of Chinese LDA which predict only subject antecedents. However, the claim that LDAs are strictly subject-oriented has been discredited in at least Korean, where recent experimental studies have demonstrated that Korean caki can potentially take an object as antecedent. The current study explores the non-subject antecedent potential of the Cantonese LDA, which has not been experimentally studied in the Chinese literature. Two experiments involving forced-choice tasks were conducted to investigate if jihgei could potentially take a non-subject antecedent. It was found that jihgei indeed has non-subject antecedent potential in certain syntactic and logophoric environments, thus greatly weakening syntactic approaches that cannot predict non-subject antecedent potential. It was also found that some amount of competing subject preference remained in cases where a non-subject antecedent was possible. The study concluded that jihgei's subject preference is not categorical, but is modulated by logophoric factors.
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Supervisor or Senior Supervisor
Thesis advisor: Han, Chung-hye
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