Meaning and syntax in spoken Mandarin


Jeroen Wiedenhof 


The basis of this work is a collection of Mandarin Chinese dialogues recorded on tape and transcribed so as to constitute a spoken corpus of 5,000 sentences.

Using examples from this corpus, the author discusses several issues in the analysis of spoken Mandarin.

The work demonstrates the viability of a data-oriented approach to syntax and semantics. In this approach, both the way people talk and what they talk about are relevant for the linguistic description.

The procedures and terms used in the analyses are introduced step by step, without assuming more than an everyday familiarity with linguistic terminology.


Publication (paperback & PDF)


Addenda et corrigenda

Books by the same author


Jeroen Wiedenhof, Meaning and syntax in spoken Mandarin

Leiden: CNWS Publications No. 29, 2015

– Out of stock | Some paperback copies available from the author

xiv + 118 pp.

  • Paperback – ISBN 90 7378 2341 | EUR 16.00

  • E-book: PDF edition (2018)


1. The study of form and meaning

2. Junction with de

3. Nexus with de

4. Aspect with de

5. Ten examples of negation with

6. Verbal valences

7. The pivotal construction




中文概要 / Summary in Chinese

Addenda et corrigenda

  Page, line    Original text   Addendum / corrigendum

  xi, -18

  11 February 1956

  11 February 1958

  xi, -4

  February 1955 - May 1964

  February 1956 - May 1964

  xii, -15


  ɣ    voiced velar fricative consonant

  10, 6

  Again, it could again be

  Again, it could be

  20, -11

  the semantic analyses

  the syntactic analyses

  40, -8

  conceiving abstractions

  conceiving the abstraction

  43, 16

  interpreted as 'who speaks' or, less frequently, as 'what is said'

  interpreted as 'what is said' or, less frequently, as 'who speaks'

  84, -5

  'They don't sell it.'

  'They don't sell them.'

  88, 8

  of its being

  of bāngmáng 'help' being

  94, 3

  [...] table 'We had him make a table'

[...] table

'we had him make a table'

  95, -18

  To recapitulate:

  First, let me recapitulate the relevant issues:

  98, -8

  yáng píng tone

  yángpíng tone

  100, 5

  has been in to demonstrate

  has been to demonstrate

  110, 8


  Dawkins (1989)

Richard Dawkins, The selfish gene. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976. New edition, 1989.

  110, -15



Books by the same author


A Grammar of Mandarin





Grammatica van het Mandarijn

2004, 20062, 20123, (revised), 20154 (revised)




De uitspraak van het Mandarijn in 101 oefeningen

2006, 20092, 20153 (revised)




De grote taalatlas

1998, 19982, 19993 (revised)




Meaning and syntax in spoken Mandarin






last modified: 28 August 2018 | home