Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2213-8706
  • E-ISSN: 2213-8714
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In Mandarin, predicative quantity adjectives (henceforth, Q-adjectives; e.g., ‘many’ and ‘few ’; henceforth, predicative Q-adjectives), but not ordinary adjectives (e.g., ‘smart’), may influence the interpretation of the nominals they are predicates of; while the Mandarin counterpart of can (and only can) mean that the students that Zhangsan taught are many, that of can only mean that Zhangsan, but not the student/s that Zhangsan taught, is/are smart. This paper is to show how this previously unnoticed contrast may be accounted for in current theories of degree syntax and semantics. The proposal is couched on Solt’s (2015) analysis of Q-adjectives, according to which measurement of cardinality is introduced via a covert functional head rather than the Q-adjectives The main idea is that in Mandarin the covert functional head that introduces measurement of cardinality semantically encodes a contextually provided function from individuals to individuals. Crucially, although the content of this function is context-dependent, various syntactic and semantic factors may be at play.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): degree construction; ellipsis; measurement of quantity; Q-adjective
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