On nominalization in Chinese
汉语学习 = Chinese Language Learning
名物化, 汉语语法, 生成语法, nominalization, Chinese grammar, Generative Grammar
This paper provides typological evidence that nominalization in Chinese involves syntactic transformations which are not necessary in languages like English. Typologically, Chinese is distinct from languages such as English in three ways. Firstly, its verbs do not become nouns by adding nominal morphemes to them; secondly, it does not have possessive pronouns;thirdly, it lacks passive morphology. In contrast, languages like English have all three traits. As a result, English nominalization is formed through base-generation and hence there is no syntactic transformation necessary (cf. Chomsky 1970). Over the years, the question of whether there is a language whose nominalization would involve syntactic transformation has been on the linguistic theorization back burner. This paper addresses the issue by proposing that any language whose verbs do not become nouns by adding nominal morphemes to them and which lacks possessive pronouns and passive morphology is a candidate for nominalization with syntactic transformations, exemplified by Chinese.