Is Chinese Run-on Sentence an Exception to the Iconicity of Sequence?

Xiao Chen


As one of the most active scholars in the field of Chinese run-on sentence (CRS for short), Wang and Zhao (2016) keenly realize that CRS displays distinctive traits of spatiality, namely, chunkiness, discreteness and reversibility, among which, the last trait and the iconicity of sequence/order (e.g. Haiman, 1984, 1985) seem to depict a diametrically opposite picture. In the present article, there would be an attempt to undertake an investigation of Wang, Zhao et al.’s ‘reversibility’ to see whether or not CRS is an exception to the iconicity of sequence/order. The main arguments are as follows. First, ‘reversibility’ is borne out to be local by some linguistic facts, especially in: (i) duyuju within CRS; and (ii) shuncheng CRS. Second, although the ‘reversibility’ sometimes exhibits a tendency to change the positions of clauses/syntagms in CRS, there is a clear correlation between the clause order of CRS and iconicity. The sequence/order principle in practice emerges as a cognitive mechanism emitting some effects in the clause order of CRS. Third, the Reversibility Condition is required to come into being so as to arrive at a detailed specification of the applicable scope of the ‘reversibility’. And finally, it is more preferable to ameliorate the spatiality of CRS as two traits, that is, chunkiness and discreteness.

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English Linguistics Research
ISSN 1927-6028 (Print)   ISSN 1927-6036 (Online)


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