The Chinese adjective as a word class

MyBook is a cheap paperback edition of the original book and will be sold at uniform, low price.
This Chapter is currently unavailable for purchase.

It has often been claimed that Chinese does not have an independent class of adjectives, which are seen by some authors as a subclass of verbs (cf. Li & Thompson 1981; Hengeveld 1992; Tang 1998, among others). In this paper, I shall first provide evidence for the status of adjectives as an independent word-class in Mandarin Chinese, both as the instantiation of a universal prototype (Croft 2000, 2001) and as a language-specific category, following Paul’s (2005, 2010) distributional analysis. Secondly, I shall show that the category of adjectives in Mandarin Chinese includes at least two subclasses, namely predicative adjectives (‘verb-like’ adjectives) and non-predicative adjectives (non-verb-like; cf. Lü & Rao 1981), i.e. those property-denoting words which can neither fill a nominal slot nor be stand-alone predicates but may act as modifiers of a noun, as liángxìng “positive, benign” (cf. Li 1996). I shall also discuss the category of ‘non-attributive’ or ‘predicative-only’ adjectives (Hu 1979; Deng, Wang & Li 1996), i.e. property-denoting words which can never be used as modifiers of a noun, but only as intransitive predicates, and I shall argue that they do not represent a separate (sub-)class in Mandarin Chinese.


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address