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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Guest Speaker Seminar Series: Prof. Victor Junnan Pan (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)

When: Wednesday, January 19, 2022, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Where: Zoom link:; Passcode: 222424

Prof. Victor Junnan Pan (The Chinese University of Hong Kong) will give a talk entitled Deriving A'-dependencies in Mandarin Chinese: A minimalist Account.


By examining A-bar dependencies such as relative clauses and Left-Dislocation (LD)-structures in Mandarin Chinese, I will show that Feature Matching and Phasal Agree can be treated as two independent mechanisms functioning at narrow syntax, and that only Phasal Agree is a necessary pre-condition on Multiple Transfer and Multiple Spell-Out. Agree applies phase by phase in a cyclic fashion, and is subject to locality constraints, which gives rise to island effects. Feature Matching only requires that the attributes of the Probe and of the Goal are identical (rather than their Values). More importantly, Match works on the entire sentence as a last resort. After the establishment of the dependency by Match at the sentential level, the entire sentence containing all the phases will be sent to the interfaces by Transfer. Therefore, a Matching chain is not subject to the locality constraints. On the other hand, A'-bound elements such as gap, resumptive pronoun and pro do not behave alike in that they give rise to different syntactic and semantic effects, such as island effects, crossover effects and reconstruction effects. Gap always gives rise to island effects, irrespective of whether it appears in a relative clause or in an LD-structure; (ii) an overt resumptive pronoun (i.e., in its intrusive use) can only save the sentence from the potential violation of locality constraints in an LD-structure but not in a relative clause; (iii) pro in Chinese can function as resumptive pronoun, which can redeem the relevant sentence from the potential violation of locality constraints, which is why island effects are not observed irrespective of whether pro appears inside a relative clause or inside an LD-structure; (iv) a systematic comparison shows that gap and pro are different in their nature.


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