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CML | New book by He Xiaoling analyses Patient-Subject Constructions in Mandarin Chinese

Published on: 05-Oct-2019

​Dr He Xiao Ling (Centre for Modern Languages) has published a new book titled Patient-Subject Constructions in Mandarin Chinese: Syntax, Semantics, Discourse.

A new book has recently been published by John Benjamins in the field of Chinese Linguistics. This new monograph by Dr. He Xiaoling of CML, with the title 'Patient-Subject Constructions in Mandarin Chinese: Syntax, Semantics, Discourse', represents a major contribution to a long-time paradox in Chinese Linguistics, namely, the appearance in the subject position of a sentence, constituents which in semantic terms, look more like expressions of roles other than actor or agent. These structures, known generally as Patient-Subject Constructions (PSC) is one of the most interesting but least well-understood structures in the language. Dr. He's book offers an in-depth analysis and a comprehensive account of the history, structure, meaning and use of the PSC. Unlike previous descriptions which were framed in terms of pre-existing grammatical notions such as ‘topicalization’, ‘passivization’ and ‘ergativization’, this book offers a fresh look at the PSC, in which its syntactic and semantic as well as its discourse functions are examined within the system of major construction-types of the language as a whole. Adopting a thoroughly empirical approach, the claims in this book are grounded in hard evidence gathered from an exhaustive study of a dictionary and a set of experiments gauging native speakers’ judgments about the use of PSCs in narrative texts. 

For more information about the book, visit the publisher website:

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