Involvement of Discourse Factors in Distribution of Null Subjects in Mandarin Chinese

The goal of this paper was to investigate the occurrence in Mandarin Chinese of a null-subject phenomenon, a discourse-oriented radical pro-drop language, and the variables contributing to the presence / absence of explicit subject pronouns in the language. To gather data about the use of null subjects by native Mandarin Chinese speakers, a questionnaire survey was conducted among 11 Chinese high school students. With regard to data collected, three discourse factors that affect the occurrence of null-subjecthood, namely (a) register, (b) speakers’ agency, and (c) meaning of knowledge transmitted by subject pronouns, were defined and analyzed. The paper also proposed a greater focus on pragmatic considerations in future research while formulating more refined hypotheses about null-subject phenomena.

Author (s) Details

Siqi Shi
Nanyang Junior College, Singapore

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