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The Linguistic Review

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Volume 32, Issue 2


Nominal-internal phrasal movement in Mandarin Chinese

Niina Ning Zhang
Published Online: 2015-04-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tlr-2014-0026


In Mandarin Chinese, the phrasal modifier or complement of a noun, usually followed by the functional element de, may occur either between a classifier and the noun, or at the left edge of the whole nominal, preceding a (demonstrative)-numeral-classifier string. The latter order exhibits many restrictions and thus is marked. Some of the restrictions are similar to the restrictions on the marked nominal-internal order in English. This paper argues that the marked order in Chinese is derived by a phrasal movement. The movement analysis is supported by the hierarchy of nominal-internal elements, the Superiority Condition effect, the Crossing-Over-Nesting effect, and island effect. This movement analysis is able to explain certain restrictions on the marked order, with respect to the types of modifiers, the readings of the same modifier, and zheyang ‘such’ at the left edge. The analysis also provides a possible account for the absence of nonspecific readings and the impossibility of de-stranding for the marked order.

Keywords: nominal; adjective; order; superiority; IMN; OMN; Chinese; ellipsis

About the article

Published Online: 2015-04-28

Published in Print: 2015-05-01

Citation Information: The Linguistic Review, Volume 32, Issue 2, Pages 375–425, ISSN (Online) 1613-3676, ISSN (Print) 0167-6318, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/tlr-2014-0026.

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