Multiple Occurrences of the Chinese Reflexive in a Clause: At the Syntax-Pragmatics Interface


  • Moying Li Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics



reflexive, relevance, place-holder, incrementality, substitution


Multiple occurrences of ziji in Mandarin Chinese pose a theoretical challenge which has not been met satisfactorily by previous analyses (see Huang & Liu, 2001; Huang et al., 2009). In this paper, we employ a parsing analysis of the co-reference relationship between zijis and their potential antecedents within the framework of Dynamic Syntax (Kempson et al., 2001; Cann et al., 2005). Since the perspective center for multiple zijis is determined only by looking at the context in line with the principle of relevance, ziji can be treated as a place-holder which can violate the locality condition. That is to say, the metavariable projected by ziji can only be provided via the pragmatic enrichment process: substitution. The perspective shifting for multiple zijis will cause semantic confusion in communication. We then conclude that multiple zijis can only take one and the same antecedent in communication context (see also Yang & Wu, 2015).

Author Biography

Moying Li, Zhejiang University of Finance and Economics

Dongfang College


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