Abstract

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’ description of Mandarin and then sketch out 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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