TEMPORAL AND ATEMPORAL RELATIONS IN MANDARIN
Jiun-Shiung Wu has a Ph.D. degree in Linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently a faculty member in the Department of Foreign Languages, National Chiayi University. His research interests include formal semantics, computational se
The monograph discusses how the temporal and atemporal relations are determined among the clauses (or sentences) with no aspect mark ers in Mandarin texts. Telic events behave in parallel and by default indicate Narration, which in turn specifies temporal progression. When an achievement is elaborated on, the elaborating event(s) must temporally precede the achievement. Atelic situations do not behave in parallel. Activities by default also specify Narration. But, when an activity serves as a temporal background, it provides its process, instead of the time after the activity is terminated, as the temporal background. States by default serve as a temporal background. Only stage-level states can be connected to the following clause by Narra tion because only stage-level states have a starting point to be tempo rally followed. When an individual-level state serves as a reason, instead of temporally precedence, it temporally overlaps the result. Explanation, Background: and Elaboration^ are three rhetorical relations that do not specify any temporal relation, especially when a generalizing sentence is involved. These three rhetorical relations are a little different in terms of atemporal relations. Both Backgroundl and Elaboration^ by default specify no temporal relation though other temporal information in the context may provide a temporal relation. Explanation loses its ability to specify a temporal relation when a generalizing sentence is involved.