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date: 28 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Chinese language is often cited as a representative of topic-prominent languages in contrast to subject-prominent languages, and topic prominence is often regarded as one of the characteristic properties of Chinese sentences. Topic constructions in Chinese share a number of syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic properties with those in other languages, but they distinguish themselves in their structural variation and frequent occurrence. Some of them are known as Chinese-style topic structures. Furthermore, there are structures in which the topic is semantically related to the comment clause as a whole but not to a particular expression in it. In some cases it provides the spatial, temporal, and individual frame within which the proposition holds true. Researchers have made different proposals about the formation and interpretation of the various topic structures in Chinese. For at least twenty-five years, topic prominence has been one of the hottest issues in the study of Chinese grammar.

Keywords: comment, topic, topic prominence, Chinese-style topic structure, subject-prominent

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