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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton 2018

Affixation or compounding? Reduplication in Standard Chinese

Yanyan Sui


This paper describes the morphological and phonological properties of three types of reduplication in Standard Chinese, including diminutive, intensifying and delimitative reduplication. It shows that the three types of reduplication exhibit distinct morphological and tonal patterns. In order to account for the distributional and semantic constraints on reduplication, the paper adopts the syntactic analyses proposed by Zhang (2015) for intensifying reduplication and by Arcodia et al. (2014) and Basciano and Melloni (2017) for delimitative reduplication to represent the reduplicant and the base in different syntactic positions. In addition, it argues that extrasyntactic operations are necessary in order to explain the distinct tonal patterns in reduplication. In particular, diminutive reduplication is derivational affixation, intensifying reduplication is compounding, and delimitative reduplication is inflectional affixation. Affixation triggers tone deletion in the reduplicant. Meanwhile, the morphosyntactic processes are subject to phonological constraints. This paper also distinguishes between reduplication and repetition.

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