"From Chinese to Uncovering Linguistic Competence"
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
18:00-19:30 (Paris time)
Professor Yen-hui Audrey LI (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA and Fellow of EURICS, France)
Professor Waltraud PAUL (CRLAO, Paris, France)
Professor Alain Peyraube (CNRS-EHESS, CRLAO, Paris, France)
The Chinese language has generally been understood as heavily context-dependent. Chinese speakers often leave many things unsaid and yet the unsaid parts can still be understood clearly. For instance, it is common to just say zhǔ-le 煮了’cooked’ to mean ‘someone has cooked something’. The unsaid ‘someone’ and ‘something’ can be understood from the discourse context. Our world knowledge (pragmatics) and discourse contexts help us communicate with each other. It seems that whenever something is understood, no words are needed. Yet, I will show that this is not true. Not all that are clear from contexts can be left unsaid and interpreted according to contexts. There are cases which must be verbalized (cannot be left unsaid) no matter how clear the contexts are and how redundant/wordy the utterance might sound; and there are cases unable to be interpreted in the way strongly favored by contexts or our world knowledge. This means that there are rules dictating what can be left unsaid and how to interpret the unsaid parts, reflecting Chinese speakers' knowledge or "intuitions" about Chinese – speakers’ linguistic competence. Such linguistic competence is also demonstrated by other remarkable examples,...see more on EURICS' website (http://www.eurics.eu/event_from-chinese-to-uncovering-linguistic-competence).