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112 China Review International: Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 1995 Yong Ho. Aspects ofDiscourse Structure in Mandarin Chinese. Lewiston, Queenston, and Lampeter: Mellen University Press, 1993. xiv, 278 pp. Hardcover $99.95. As the tide indicates, Yong Ho's Aspects ofDiscourse Structure in Mandarin Chinese (ADSMC) is not meant to be a comprehensive treatment of the discourse system ofMandarin Chinese (MC). It addresses diree issues that are basic to the structure ofa clause in MC but are motivated to a large extent by discourse needs. The three issues are Thematic Structure, Information Structure, and Word Order. There are, altogether, six chapters in the book. Each of the three main chapters (chapters 3, 4, and 5) takes up one ofthe issues, in the order given above. The rest of the chapters are the Introduction (chapter 1), Theoretical and Methodological Framework (chapter 2), and die Conclusion (chapter 6). These chapters will be summarized in the first section below and discussed and evaluated in die second section. The diird section comments on the odier aspects of die book, including die contents in general and die physical format. Summary ofChapters Chapter 1, "Introduction," discusses discourse and discourse analysis in general terms. Following Hausenblas' (1966) upper and lower bounds of the domain of discourse, Ho believes that "discourse can consist of a few utterances or extend to a great length. It can be a monologue, dialogue, or conversation. It can be oral or written. But whatever the form it takes, the string of sentences must conform to semantic coherence and pragmatic appropriateness as well as grammatical wellformedness " (p. 3). Citing Grimes (1975, p. 30), Ho recognizes that discourse analysis studies "die decisions a speaker can make regarding what and what not to say, and the mechanisms and patterns that are available to him for implementing the results of those decisions in a way diat communicates widi anodier person" (p. 3). After pointing out certain important mechanisms that make discourse what it is, he concludes that discourse study "is more interested in how speakers say than in the reference content of speech, i.e., whatthey say. In addition, discourse studies pay more attention to the circumstances under which speakers use linguistic forms than how they use particular linguistic forms" (pp. 3-4). In terms of methods, Ho believes that a "focal point ofinterest for discourse analysts is . . . the study of conceptual organization of users of a particular language as mani-© 1995 by University fested in the functional continuum" (p. 9) that is mentioned earlier in the discusot awai ? resssion. This concept offunctional continuum comes from different authors, among whom are Kuno (1976), Chu (1985a and b), Halliday (1985b), Brown and Yule, (1983), and Givon (1981). Reviews 113 Chapter 2, "Theoretical and Methodological Framework," deals with the observations and practices ofDik (1978) and Nuyts (1983), Ho's own methodological considerations, and his definition ofthe unit for analysis. In this connection, Ho emphasizes the pragmatic perspective ofdiscourse when he announces that "this study will pay particular attention to pragmatic principles that determine variations in utterance organization when the factual meaning or the truth value of alternative sequential arrangements remain the same" (p. 13). In methodological consideration, Ho justifies his use ofthree spoken texts of different genres: narrative, expository, and procedural. He especially stresses the spontaneity ofthe texts. Among the manymethodological considerations , what stand out are the distinctions between sentence and utterance and between discourse and text. According to Chao (1968, p. 58), a sentence is said to be "a type, while an utterance is a token ofthe type" (p. 16). Quoting from Tomlin (1986, pp. 38-39), Ho takes discourse as representing "the entire spectrum oflinguistic , cognitive, and social processes involved in die cooperative enterprise of speech communication," while "text represents the specific artifact produced during the process of discourse production" (p.17). For the purpose of analysis, Ho proposes "utterance cluster" instead of "sentence" as the basic unit of Chinese discourse (p. 19), which is considered equivalent to Tsao's (1979) "topic chain." The rationale is that "sentence boundaries in Chinese are extremely fuzzy." While some differences are made between utterance cluster and complex sentences in MC, "die determination of the cluster boundary was based on cross...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 112-127
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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