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An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences

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Volume 44, Issue 1


Representing specificity by the internal order of indefinites

Niina Zhang
Published Online: 2006-04-24 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/LING.2006.001


This article presents two contrasts between two types of indefinites in Chinese: those with an internal modifier and those with a left-peripheral modifier. With respect to interpretation, the former are ambiguous in specificity, whereas the latter are exclusively specific; with respect to structural positions, the former can occur neither as preverbal subjects nor as shifted objects, whereas the latter do not have this constraint. We claim that the exclusive specific reading of the latter type is related to the high position of the modifier. The distribution constraint on the former type is also seen in predicative nominals. We suggest that such indefinites are NPs, although they are individual-denoting.

About the article

1Institute of Linguistics, National Chung Cheng University, Min-Hsing, Chia-Yi 621, Taiwan.

Received: 2001-10-09

Revised: 2004-07-06

Published Online: 2006-04-24

Published in Print: 2006-01-26

Citation Information: Linguistics, Volume 44, Issue 1, Pages 1–21, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/LING.2006.001.

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