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Title: Universal Constructions?
Authors: Audrey Yen-hui Li
Issue Date: Jun-2001
Publisher: 英語學系
Department of English, NTNU
Abstract: The search for universal phrase structures leads to the question of whether specific constructions also share the same basic structures cross-linguistically --- “universal constructions.” Based on a comparative study of English and Chinese relative constructions, we argue that “universal construction” is not necessarily a valid notion. Kayne (1994)’s Antisymmetry to phrase structures forces a re-examination of relative structures: they must have a complementation structure, instead of the widely-accepted adjunction structure (Chomsky 1977). Evidence comes from important generalizations regarding the relations between the determiner heading a complex nominal and the relative clause. Kayne further argues that head-initial and head-final relatives are derived from the same basic structure, subscribing to the notion of “universal constructions.” We demonstrate, however, that head-final relatives in Chinese provide direct evidence for an adjunction structure, in contrast to English relatives, which convincingly support a complementation structure. The difference is traced to the different behavior of the determiner systems in these two types of languages.
Other Identifiers: E13A0E5E-4057-9DC9-DF62-1FFA22C9CAC1
Appears in Collections:Concentric: Studies in English Literature and Linguistics

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