Chapter published in:Thetics and Categoricals
Edited by Werner Abraham, Elisabeth Leiss and Yasuhiro Fujinawa
[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today 262] 2020
► pp. 156–177
Strong and weak nominal reference in thetic and categorical sentences
sampling German and Chinese
In this paper, it will be discussed how, in both German and Chinese, strong and weak reference in thetic and categorical sentences are expressed if held against Carlson’s (1977) semantic event types of stage-level/SL- and individual-level/IL-predicates. This article will put emphasis on correspondents of indefinite and bare nouns in German on personal pronouns, the construction zhè/nà (this/that) (+Num)+CL(assifier)+N or the repetition of DP, which can only express the strong reference of the subject. The problems arise from the fact that Chinese, in contrast to German, signals reference strength not by articles as there are no articles in Chinese. In order to come to a comparison, we will use the Carlsonian reference option as a criterion.The article is structured as follows: Section 1 introduces the definition of the strong and weak nominal reference. The second section will discuss thetic and categoric constructions in German and Chinese. The third section deals with the interplay of SL- and IL-predicates, thetic/categorical sentences, and the nominal reference of subjects, whereby the SL- and the IL-predicate are each described in a separate section. Section 4 concludes this paper with a summary of the results obtained in the previous sections.
Keywords: bare noun, classifier, strongly referential, thetic and categorical sentence, weakly referential
Published online: 22 July 2020
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