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The Morphology of Chinese


  • Page extent: 352 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.52 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: n/a
  • Dewey version: n/a
  • LC Classification: n/a
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Chinese language--Morphology

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521026109 | ISBN-10: 0521026105)

This ground breaking study dispels the common belief that Chinese 'doesn't have words' but instead 'has characters'. Jerome Packard's book provides a comprehensive discussion of the linguistic and cognitive nature of Chinese words. It shows that Chinese, far from being 'morphologically impoverished', has a different morphological system because it selects different 'settings' on parameters shared by all languages. The analysis of Chinese word formation therefore enhances our understanding of word universals. Packard describes the intimate relationship between words and their components, including how the identities of Chinese morphemes are word-driven, and offers new insights into the evolution of morphemes based on Chinese data. Models are offered for how Chinese words are stored in the mental lexicon and processed in natural speech, showing that much of what native speakers know about words occurs innately in the form of a hard-wired, specifically linguistic 'program' in the brain.

• Demonstrates how analysis of Chinese word formation enhances understanding of linguistic properties shared by all languages • Shows how identities of Chinese morphemes are 'word-driven' and provides new insight on their evolution based on Chinese data • Offers models for how Chinese words are stored in the mental lexicon and processed in natural speech


1. Introduction; 2. Defining the word in Chinese; 3. Chinese word components; 4. Gestalt Chinese words; 5. X-bar analysis of Chinese words; 6. Lexicalization and Chinese words; 7. Chinese words and the lexicon; 8. Chinese words: conclusions; References; Index.


'… an important link between the Chinese linguistic tradition and late twentieth-century advances in western morphology.' Language

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