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Coherence relation and clause linkage: Towards a discourse approach to adjunct islands in Chinese

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This paper proposes that adjunct island effects (Ross, 1967; Cattell, 1976) receive a discourse-semantic explanation. The exact formulation of this explanation builds upon previous work (e.g. Kehler, 2002) on island effects of conjuncts (Ross, 1967), which explains asymmetrical extraction from coordinate structures in English (that is, violations of the coordinate structure constraint) in terms of certain coherence relations (Hobbs, 1979). I show that asymmetric extraction from adjuncts in Chinese (that is, violations of the adjunct island constraint) is also sensitive to coherence relations. I argue that such similarities exist because coherence relations may be expressed by either a coordinative or a subordinative structure, and the variation in the syntactic realizations of coherence relations can be characterized through an independently motivated interclausal relations hierarchy that governs the mapping between semantics and syntactic linkage (van Valin, 2005).
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Keywords: Chinese; adjunct island; clause linkage; coherence relations; interclausal relations hierarchy; parasitic gaps

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2015

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