Jenks (2018) argues that Mandarin bare NPs cannot be classified as definites simpliciter. Adopting the distinction between weak- and strong-article definites in Schwarz 2009, he proposes that Mandarin makes a lexical distinction between the two types of definites: bare nouns are weak definites, demonstratives are strong definites. He further proposes that their distribution is regulated by a principle called Index!. In this article, we first point out some problems with the empirical generalizations presented in Jenks’s description of Mandarin and then sketch an alternative approach to the distinction between Mandarin demonstratives and bare nouns. We end with some comments about the kind of further empirical work that needs to be done before definitive claims can be made about the competition between demonstratives and other types of definites.
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December 10 2021
The Puzzle of Anaphoric Bare Nouns in Mandarin: A Counterpoint to Index!
Li Julie Jiang
Online Issn: 1530-9150
Print Issn: 0024-3892
© 2021 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Linguistic Inquiry 1–20.
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Veneeta Dayal, Li Julie Jiang; The Puzzle of Anaphoric Bare Nouns in Mandarin: A Counterpoint to Index!. Linguistic Inquiry 2021; doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/ling_a_00433
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