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Journal of Inforamtion Science and Engineering, Vol.5 No.4, pp.395-420 (October 1989)
A Unification-based Approach
to Mandarin Questions

Yu-Ling Shiu and Chu-Ren Huang+
BTC R&D Center
2F, No. 28, R&D Road II
Science-Based Industrial Park
Hsinchu, Taiwan, Republic of China
+Institute of History and Philology
Academia Sinica
Nankang, Taipei, Republic of China

This paper provides unificaton-based GPSG and LFG analyses of Mandarin questions. First, we briefly introduce four kinds of Mandarin questions, namely, WH-questions, A-not-A questions, disjunctive questions, and particle questions. Their different interrogative messages are adequately encoded with different feature-value pairs. Then, the compatibility of this interrogative information in a simple sentence is investigated. Both the GPSG and LFG approaches provide a straightforward account for their mutual exclusiveness. Finally, the scope of percolation of Mandarin interrogative information is examined. It is suggested that the matrix verb of a complex sentence is responsible for the scope of interrogative information in its complement sentence. According to our observations, Mandarin verbs should be divided into at least three classes. We provide preliminary analyses of this topic. The GPSG analysis relies on the Foot Feature Principle (FFP) and the LFG analysis relies on functional uncertainty. It is shown that the transmitting of Mandarin interrogative information can be adequately accounted for in both GPSG and LFG.

Keywords: mandarin questions, WH-questions, disjunctive questions, A-not-A questions, particle questions, unification, generalized phrase structure grammar (GPSG), Lexical functional grammar (LFG), Foot Feature Principle, Functional Uncertainty

Received September 28, 1989; revised November 20, 1989.
Communicated by Keh-Jiann Chen.