I am greatly honored to have this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to all those who have offered me their considerate help and continuous encouragement throughout these two years. I will inevitably miss all of the wonderful tutors and friends.
First and foremost, I want to express my heartfelt thanks and appreciation to Prof. Zuo Biao, my supervisor. It has been a great privilege and joy to work under his guidance and with his encouragement. I thank him for opening my eyes to the wonders of two of the most precious gifts we have: the human mind and the ability to share what is in it with others. My research has brought home to me in a new way the truth that we are wonderfully made.
I thank Prof. Han Zhonghua for his encouragement and for his comments on the dissertation which underlies this dissertation. I thank Prof. Zheng Lixin, Prof. Wang Dawei Associate Prof. Yuan Yongfang, Associate Prof. Shi Dongqin the staff and fellow-students in the College of Foreign Languages, Shanghai
In the meantime, I wish to express my gratitude to the persons that relieved me of other chores, so that I could devote my time entirely to the completion of this dissertation. I also want to express my gratitude for the financial help I received from my relatives and my former classmates.
Last but not least, a very special thank goes to my wife Yin Naimin and my son Liu Xianyu for supporting a husband and father whose mind was not always free to give them the attention they needed. It is my pleasure to dedicate this dissertation to them.
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