Rethinking "restructuring" in Mandarin Chinese

Empirical properties, theoretical insights, and LFG/XLE computational implementation



restructuring, Chinese, control, complementation, aspect under control, aspectual lowering, inner topicalisation, topicalisation, XLE, Lexical Functional Grammar


This paper centres on two phenomena – Aspect under Control (also known as “Aspectual Lowering”) and Inner Topicalisation, which have been analysed as “restructuring” phenomena in Minimalist studies (Grano, 2015; N. Huang, 2018). The paper first focuses on the empirical properties revealed by linguistic diagnostics. The empirical observations suggest that, for Aspect under Control, there is clausal restructuring at the phrase-structure level but no restructuring at the functional level. That means, an Aspect-under-Control construction is mono-clausal in the phrase structure but bi-clausal in the functional structure. These observations are best explained in a theoretical framework where clausehood embodies a multi-level construct. Empirical observations suggest inner-topic constructions are bi-clausal at both phrase-structural and functional levels. Therefore, Inner Topicalisation should not be analysed as a restructuring phenomenon. LFG analyses are provided and computationally instantiated on XLE to capture the complex interaction between control, complementation, Aspectual under Control, and Inner Topicalisation.