East Asian Linguistics Workshop: Jeeyoung Peck "Semantic and Pragmatic Conditions on Word Order Variation in Chinese"

Dr. Jeeyoung Peck
Wed January 31st 2024, 4:30 - 6:00pm
Event Sponsor
East Asian Linguistics Workshop
East Asia Library, Room 224

Event poster for Jeeyoung Peck's "Semantic and Pragmatic Conditions on Word Order Variation in Chinese" talk with the East Asian Linguistics Workshop

We would like to invite you to join us for an upcoming talk entitled "Semantic and Pragmatic Conditions on Word Order Variation in Chinese" by Jeeyoung Peck (Professor, Hanyang University) as part of the East Asian Linguistics Workshop series. The event will be held on WednesdayJanuary 314:30-6:00PM (Pacific, USA) in East Asia Library Room 224. Dinner will be served to registrants afterward.

If you are interested in this talk, please complete this Google form, or email me at ikedot [at] stanford.edu (ikedot[at]stanford[dot]edu) to sign up by 11:59pm (Pacific) on Monday, January 29.



Semantic and Pragmatic Conditions on Word Order Variation in Chinese

This talk revisits the topic of word order typology in Chinese, examining multiple factors correlated with word order variants from semantic and pragmatic perspectives. Despite the canonical word order being VO in Modern Chinese, it does not exhibit the patterns of a typical VO language (Jin and Yu, 2012). Various arguments contribute to a deeper understanding of the pragmatic and semantic factors influencing word order variation in Modern Chinese, which lacks case-marking morphology and maintains a nonflexible word order. Discourse analyses, considering information structure, elucidate the pragmatic function of the preverbal object (O) and the reasons behind the relative ordering between subject (S) and object (O) in non-canonical SOV/OSV patterns. This analysis is grounded in the notions of topicality (Liu, 2007), focus (LaPolla, 1995), and emphatic/contrastive function (Sun and Givón, 1985). Semantic accounts delve into the obligatory vs. optional "ba" marking phenomenon of O in SOV and the acceptability of the OSV pattern (Yang and van Bergen, 2007). This is based on the cross-linguistic unmarked animacy condition of S and O (Aissen, 2003) and empirical evidence regarding the cognitive process of Chinese speakers (Miao, 1981; Li et al., 1993, among others). Finally, principles of iconicity (Tai, 1985) and lexical aspect analyses (Peck and Lin, 2019; Peck, 2011, among others) are introduced to account for the relative ordering of the verb (V) and locative/temporal adverbials.


Jeeyoung Peck is a Professor in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature at Hanyang University, Seoul. Before joining Hanyang University, she served as an Assistant Professor at the University of the Pacific in Stockton (2008-2012). She earned her Ph.D. from the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at Stanford University in 2008. Her primary research interests include the aspect system and the interface between lexical semantics and argument realization patterns in Modern Chinese. Additionally, she explores syntactic change in the history of Chinese and second language acquisition. During her visit at Stanford University, she will investigate the linguistic encoding system of temporal information in Modern Chinese.