Taiwan Journal of Linguistics

A Diamond Open Access Journal (free to authors and readers)
ISSN: 1729-4649 (print); 1994-2559 (online)


Stella Wing-Man Kwan
Cantonese is unusual as a VO language in having [PP V] as the dominant order instead of [V PP]. Dryer (1992) found that VO order correlates strongly with [V PP] order. Hawkins (1994) offered an explanation in arguing that VO language and [V [PP P NP]] order can be processed with optimal processing efficiency. This paper investigates the reasons why Cantonese still employs the [PP V] order despite its lower processing efficiency. While [[PP P NP] V] order in Cantonese conforms to iconicity, the inefficiency of the [[PP P NP] V] order is circumvented due to the availability of the topic PP construction, which is shown to have higher processing efficiency when compared to [[PP P NP] V] by Hawkins’ (1994) metric of Early Immediate Constituents (EIC). Corpus findings show that the heavier the PP, the larger the percentage appearing in topic position. As I will argue, the topic PP construction which exhibits both iconicity and processing efficiency shows that the two seemingly competing functional motivations, iconicity and processing are compatible with each other. Key words: Cantonese, prepositional phrase, word order, topic, iconicity, processing efficiency

粵語處所介詞短語的位置: 語句處理和象似性

關頴文/ 香港大學
粵語作為一個VO語言有着[PP V]而不是[V PP]作為主要語序是不尋常的。Dryer (1992) 發現VO語序跟[V PP]語序有着很強的相關性。Hawkins (1994) 提出一個解釋,就是VO語言跟[V [PP P NP]] 語序有着最理想的處理效率。本篇文章研究為何儘管[PP V] 有着較低的處理效率,粵語仍然使用[PP V]語序。粵語中的[[PP P NP] V]語序符合象似性原則, 但有着較低的處理效率。根據Hawkins (1994) Early Immediate Constituents (EIC) 的量度方法,話題介詞短語結構(topic PP construction)比[[PP P NP] V] 有更高的處理效率,話題介詞短語結構能作避免低處理效率的[[PP P NP] V] 的一個途徑。語料庫的資料顯示,當介詞短語越長,它出現在話題位置的百分比就越高。本文論証話題介詞短語結構皆符合象似性原則和處理效率的原則,話題介詞短語結構顯示兩個似乎是處於競爭狀態的功能動因(象似性原則和處理效率的原則)能夠彼此相容。 關鍵字:粵語、介詞短語、語序、話題、象似性、處理效率