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      De-constructing small clauses: The case of Mandarin Chinese

      Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
      Ubiquity Press, Ltd.

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          Abstract

          Taking up an early observation by Y.-H. Audrey Li (1985) stating the systematic lack of Chinese equivalents for English small clauses (SC) with nominal predicates (They elected John president), this article demonstrates that Chinese lacks SCs altogether. This holds independently of the approach adopted, be it the analysis of SCs as lexical projections with different category labels (cf. Stowell 1981, Matushansky 2019) or the uniform analysis of SCs as PredP (cf. Bowers 1993). In Chinese, there is no root vs non-root asymmetry for predicates: If a category X is not licit as an autonomous predicate in matrix sentences, then it is not licit as predicate elsewhere, i.e. in non-root clauses, either. Furthermore, Chinese has no exceptional case marking verbs, i.e. verbs selecting SC-complements. Claims to the contrary in the literature are based on Chinese translations of English SCs and involve completely different structures. Given the lack of SCs in non-root contexts in Chinese, an analysis postulating SCs for non-verbal predication in matrix sentences does not seem to be warranted.

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          Most cited references71

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          A Grammar of Spoken Chinese

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            The Minimalist Program

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              The Representation of (In)definiteness

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                (View ORCID Profile)
                Journal
                Glossa: a journal of general linguistics
                Ubiquity Press, Ltd.
                2397-1835
                March 26 2021
                March 26 2021
                2021
                March 26 2021
                March 26 2021
                2021
                : 6
                : 1
                Article
                10.5334/gjgl.1211
                c9ea729b-ba87-4e11-9c64-a71260253193
                © 2021
                History

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