P54. Science, Technology and Linguistics in Modern China

Session: Session 7, 3:45-5:15 pm, Saturday 9/30

Category: Individual Papers

Location: Loyalty

Chair: Steven Guo (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

Paper Presenters: Zhongtian Han (University at Buffalo), Haiyong Liu (Wayne State University)

The Chinese Communist Forces’ Communications Intelligence and Security in the Asia-Pacific War, 1942–1945

Speaker: Zhongtian Han
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: The University at Buffalo
Abstract: This paper analyzes the Chinese Communist forces’ use of information technologies to create intelligence advantages in their military struggles in 1942–45. The paper analyzes how and why the Communist forces were able to conduct effective communications intelligence and security operations, which were essential for their survival and expansion behind the front.  My paper reveals that while the Communist communications intelligence and security operations at Yan’an suffered serious setback in professionalism during the Party’s rectification campaign (1942–43), the professionalization and expansion process continued for those operations in the base areas, largely due to the Japanese Army’s continued attack on the base areas. In addition, in 1944–45 the Chinese Communist forces shifted toward a more active strategy of conducting conventional operations. In this context, tactical communications intelligence that could provide direct support to the operations of field armies assumed a more important place within the Communist intelligence apparatus. Last but not least, the CCP proved to be adept at exploiting US military aid to improve its sophistication in radio technology. My paper challenges the revolutionary warfare framework of past scholarship that focuses on self-reliance and native techniques in the Party’s science and technology policies. Furthermore, through placing Communist documents into dialogue with archival records of the Chinese Nationalist, Japanese, and US Armies, the paper reexamines the Party’s military effectiveness in the global context of intelligence and information technology’s increasing importance in warfare.

Chinese tells us what it is in English

Speaker: Haiyong Liu
Role: Paper Presenter
Institution/Affiliation: Wayne State University
Abstract: It in English can either be an expletive dummy subject (e.g. It rained), which is semantically vacuous, or a referential third-person non-human pronoun (e.g. Iti is my deski/turtlei, and I like iti.). In this research I argue that both it’s are ultimately expletive pronouns, thanks to the Extended Projection Principle (EPP, Chomsky 1982) which requires every sentence to have a subject and the effects of animacy. Following the animacy hierarchy (Silverstein 1976), humans are more associated with definiteness and pronounhood than non-humans; for example, Chinese, that, unlike English, allows null subjects and null objects, does not have pronouns for non-humans like desk and turtle; furthermore, many languages use demonstratives to replace non-human pronouns. So, I argue that the English referential it is also an expletive to satisfy the rule that a sentential subject is mandated and null objects are not allowed. In other words, English does not have bona fide pronouns for non-humans either. I further argue that in English extrapositional structures (e.g. It is nice to/that/when…), where it can be both referential that is co-indexed with the infinitive, subordinative, and adverbial clauses, and an expletive that sustains the required sentential subject. Equivalents of the extrapositional it in other languages have been argued to be weakened referential pronouns (Pérez 2018, Barta-Kaufmann 2011, Holmberg 2005). I extend the account for the functions of the extrapositional it to the expletive objects found in the Chinese ba-structure which, uncharacteristically, requires an object and presents an SOV word order