Movement constraints on the relative order of double topics in Mandarin Chinese
Sherry Yong Chen
May 2017

This paper presents new data for two movement constraints on the relative order of double topics in Mandarin Chinese. I first show that in a double topicalisation construction, the base- generated topic must precede the moved topic, which can be explained by the locality constraint that places a shortness requirement on movement, following the idea of minimal effort (Li, 2000). Secondly, when both topics are derived via movement, their dependency relations with the corresponding gaps in the comment clause must be ‘nested’. This can be accounted for by the Path Containment Constraint proposed by Pesetsky (1982), which requires the paths of movement to be in a containment relation. These findings challenge the view that Chinese topics are merely constrained via a semantic “aboutness” relation with the comment clause (cf. Xu & Langendoen, 1985), suggesting that topicalisation in Mandarin Chinese is subject to syntactic constraints.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003465
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics (Vol 38)
keywords: pcc, double topics, locality, movement, chinese topics, syntax, mandarin chinese, nested dependency
previous versions: v1 [May 2017]
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