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Chinese in the Netherlands

(3,833 words)

Author(s): Rint SYBESMA
1. Chinese Immigrants Although there had already been itinerant merchants from Zhèjiāng province (esp. Qīngtián 青田 and Wēnzhōu 溫州) before that time (Pieke 2017), the history of Chinese migration to the Netherlands is commonly traced back to 1911, when Chinese seamen were brought over, from Britain, to the seaport of Rotterdam to break a strike of Dutch seamen (see e.g., Pieke 1998). After the strike, they stayed on and, contenting themselves with lower wages than the Dutch stokers, gradually replac…
Date: 2017-03-02

Complement (and Object)

(896 words)

Author(s): Rint SYBESMA
This short note has no other purpose than clarifying the use of the term “complement” in different syntactic articles in the ECLL. In modern Western linguistics, the term is used for a constituent which has a selectional or thematic (in any case, somehow contentful) relation with another element. In generative terms, the content nature of the relation is reflected in the structural position: the complement is the constituent which is the sister of X0 (order irrelevant). In this view, complements are contrasted with so-called specifiers, which are essentially modifier…
Date: 2017-03-02

Classifiers, Nominal

(4,269 words)

Author(s): Rint SYBESMA
In this article I introduce and discuss a number of properties of classifiers ( liàngcí 量詞) in Chinese languages, particularly Mandarin and Cantonese, discussing both the functional and the lexical aspect of these elements. 1. Sortals and Measures In this article, the term “classifier” refers to “sortal classifier”; it must be distinguished from “measure expressions”. As Croft (1994) points out, the difference between sortals and measures is that the latter create a unit by which we can count or measure, while the former simply name the unit that is already present in the seman…
Date: 2017-03-02

Chinese Loanwords in Dutch

(2,032 words)

Author(s): Rint SYBESMA
Most work on loanwords in Dutch has been done by Nicoline van der Sijs, alone or with others (Van der Sijs 2002, 2005; Van Veen and Van der Sijs 1997; cf. Philippa et al. 2003–2009). The notes below on Chinese loanwords in Dutch are based on data and etymologies assembled by her and her colleagues; where appropriate I have corrected or added transcriptions and characters to the Chinese source elements identified and added a few asides here and there. Van Veen and Van der Sijs (1997) list about 60–70 Dutch vocabulary items of Chinese origin. Their list includes loan transla…
Date: 2017-03-02

Tense

(5,597 words)

Author(s): Rint SYBESMA
1. Definitions In a discussion of tense, we need to distinguish at least three types of tense: morphological, syntactic, and semantic tense (for discussion, see Sun 2014). Before doing that, however, we need to define the notion of tense more generally. Informally speaking, tense is about temporally locating the event reported on in a sentence relative to the moment at which the sentence is uttered. For a more technical definition, it is necessary to distinguish three “Times”, which (using Klein’s…
Date: 2017-03-02

Aspect, Inner

(4,068 words)

Author(s): Rint SYBESMA
1. Introduction “Inner aspect” is a term coined by Henk Verkuyl (Verkuyl 1988; based on insights from Verkuyl 1972; Vet 1976; Timberlake 1982 and others; see also Verkuyl 1993): “the study of inner aspect can be taken as the study of what sort of substructures events are composed of” (Verkuyl 1988:222). The term was popularized by Lisa Travis (Travis 2010) for the complex of functional projections between (little) vP and (big) VP. It is the representation in structural terms of Aktionsart or Situation aspect (Smith 1991; Aspect, Modern). Situation aspect is to b…
Date: 2017-03-02

Word Order, Modern

(1,374 words)

Author(s): Rint SYBESMA
Different principles determine the word order in a Chinese sentence. The most important two are that Chinese languages are at heart SVO and that old information precedes new information. An additional principle is that if there is a conflict between these two principles, the latter (information structure) overrules the former (basic order). Thus, if the object presents old information while the rest of the verb phrase is in focus presenting new information, the object will occupy a position to the left of the verb. 1. 這本書我已經看過。   Zhè   běn  shū    wǒ   yǐjīng      kàn   guo.   dem  clf  bo…
Date: 2017-03-02

Chinese Linguistics in the Netherlands

(3,772 words)

Author(s): Rint SYBESMA
1. Introduction The first person from the Netherlands with a recorded interest in the Chinese language was a protestant missonary, Justus Heurnius (1587–1651/2), who compiled a trilingual Dutch-Latin-Mandarin glossary, Dictionarium Sinense, as early as 1628 (Duyvendak 1931; Kuiper 2005). The original and most complete version of the Dictionarium, which is being kept in the Bodleian library at Oxford (Ms. Marsh 678), has close to 3,900 entries, including words and short phrases. Heurnius, who had been sent to the Dutch East Indies (now the Re…
Date: 2017-03-02

Finiteness

(2,509 words)

Author(s): Rint SYBESMA
1. Definition  Just looking at a language like English, one easily gets the impression that “tensed” equals “finite” and one may wonder why we actually need two separate notions. However, taking a wider perspective, it becomes clear that tense and finiteness are different after all: not only do some languages (like Latin) have tensed infinitives, in others, such as Dravidian, finiteness is expressed through Mood rather than Tense (Amritavalli 2014), to give just two examples of the dissociation. F…
Date: 1899-12-30

Noun Modification

(5,581 words)

Author(s): Marijn DE WOLFF | Rint SYBESMA
Introduction In this article we present an overview of the modification patterns in the nominal domain in Chinese languages, past and present. We take as our point of departure the different types of modifiers given in Cheng and Sybesma (2009), which incorporates earlier research, e.g., Zhū (1956), Chao (1968:676–677), Huang (2006) and Paul (2005, 2010). Modifiers (notated “X” in the tables below) are generally divided in two major types, simplex and complex (see Adjectives). Simplex modifiers are simplex adjectives (sa), that is, typically monosyllabic or monomorphemic bi…
Date: 1899-12-30