Journal directory listing - Volume 31-41 (1986-1996) - Volume 31 (1986)

Functional Explanations in Chinese Syntax: With Special Reference to a Contrastive Study of Chinese and English Author: Ting-cht Tang


The present paper attempts to provide plausible explanations for Chinese sentences which are cognitively synonymous yet superficially different. Altogether 18 sentence struc-tures in Chinese along with their variant forms are discussed and their communicative functions explained on the basis of four principles: From Old to New Principle (a prag-matic principle), From Light to Heavy Principle (a rhythmic principle), From Low to High Principle (a syntactic principle), and Prom Close to Distant Principle (an empathy princi-ple). Furthermore, these same principles have been applied to the corresponding sentence structures in English to investigate whether similar sentence constructions in the two lan-guages perform similar communicative functions.

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