THE INFORMATION STRUCTURE OF ADVERBIAL CLAUSES IN CHINESE DISCOURSE
This study investigated adverbial clauses in spoken as well as written Chinese discourse. The adverbial clauses in the spoken data were categorized into (i) initial clauses that occur in the initial position with respect to their linked material across continuing intonation, (ii) final clauses that occur in the final position with respect to their linked material across continuing intonation, and (iii) final clauses that occur in the final position with respect to their linked material across final intonation. Those in the written data were classified into (i) initial and (ii) final clauses that occur in the initial or final clauses that occur in the initial or final position, respectively, with respect to their main clauses. An analysis of the spoken and written data shows that the temporal, conditional, and concessive clauses are quite different from the other adverbial clauses. Specifically, the causal clauses commonly appear in the final position with respect to their associated material in the spoken data, while the initial and final causal clauses are nearly evenly distributed in the written data. The data suggest that temporal, conditional, and concessive clauses, like topics, are presupposed parts of their sentences; i.e., all of them may be thought of as establishing frameworks for the interpretation of propositions that follow, which seem to be prototypically textual in their functioning. By contrast, causal clauses in Chinese are noticeably distinct from other adverbial clauses not only in spoken data, but also in written data; they play interactional as well as textual roles in discourse linking.