2016-2017 School of Chinese Seminar 香港大學中文學院講座
Interfacing Universal Grammar and Iconicity: A View from the Chinese Serial Verb Constructions
李亞非教授 Professor Yafei LI
威斯康辛大學麥迪遜分校University of Wisconsin-Madison
Date & Time： 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 18, 2017
Venue： Room 730, Run Run Shaw Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU
Biological evolution is random in nature, capable of optimizing a particular function of a sub-system S but unable to guarantee that S as a whole be functionally flaw-less. If the core of the human language faculty (aka Universal Grammar) is a set of linguistically dedicated functions of the brain as Chomsky suggests, one is logically prompted to askwhether UG has functional flaws or gaps. This work does exactly that. Starting with the serial verb constructions (SVC) in Chinese, we proceed to prove that UG indeed contains one such functional gap: it is not programmed to structurally put together two bare verbal projections of which neither one is a thematic argument of the other. When this gap interferes with sentence-production, a general cognitive function such as iconicity is called in to help out, interacting with UG to yield a set of facts characteristic of SVC.
李亞非，麻省理工學院語言學博士（1990），2003年起任威斯康辛大學麥迪遜校區語言學系教授。研究領域包括句法，詞法-句法介面及科學哲學。兩部專著分別出版於麻省理工學院出版社和劍橋大學出版社（合著），亦曾在《中國語文》，Language，Language and Linguistics，Linguistic Inquiry，Natural Language and Linguistic Theory等期刊和一些專集發表論文。目前正在寫作一部建立形式語法與象似性介面關係的專著及在漢語疑問詞“怎麼，什麼，多麼”基礎上探討Sapir-Whorf假說的文章。
Yafei Li received a PhD from MIT in linguistics in 1990 and is now Professor in the Department of Linguistics at University of Wisconsin-Madison. The areas of research include syntax, the morphology-syntax interface and the philosophy of science. He published a book from the MIT Press and co-authored one from the Cambridge University Press. He also has articles from 《中國語文》,《外語教學與研究》,《當代語言學》, Language, Language and Linguistics, Linguistic Inquiry, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, The Journal of East Asian Linguistics, The Linguistic Review, among other refereed journals and volumes. He is currently writing a book on the interface between universal grammar and iconicity, plus a few articles one of which explores the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis on the basis of a detailed study of Chinese question words zenme ‘how’, shenme ‘what’ and duome ‘how, how much’.
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