City University of Hong Kong CLASS CLASS
Making Sense of Grammar
1 like 0 dislike
149 views
Can Chinese reflexive pronoun refer to different antecedents in sentences with the same syntactic structure? 
asked Jan 30, 2018 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (25,520 points) | 149 views

1 Answer

0 like 0 dislike

Below is a set of sentences with the same syntactic structure. The reflexive pronoun自己 (z`ıj˘ı ) in each sentence may refer to different antecedents, depending on the main verb.

1) 小明發現小麗很愛自己
2)小明答應小麗好好愛自己
3)小明勸小麗好好愛自己

In the first sentence, the reflexive pronoun may refer to 小明 or 小麗. That is because the verb 發現 (fā xiàn/ discover) is neutral, meaning it has no semantic or syntactic control on the referent of 自己.

In the second sentence,  自己 refers to 小明, since the verb 答應 (dá yīng/ promise) is a modality verb which has subject control on the referent of 自己.

In the last sentence, 自己 refers to 小麗, as The verb  (quàn/ persuade) is a manipulation verb which has object control on the referent of  自己.

answered Jan 30, 2018 by admin (25,520 points)
edited Apr 25, 2018 by admin

1,585 questions

1,843 answers

32 comments

38,841 users

1,585 questions
1,843 answers
32 comments
38,841 users