Volume 21, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067



The authors identify a plural marker - in Chengdu Chinese that can apply to both count and mass nouns, encoding plurality as well as definiteness. This post-nominal - differs from the pre-nominal , as the latter is purely plural but not inherently definite. Our analysis shows that the pre-nominal functions as a quantifier, which occupies the [Spec, NumP] position, whereas the suffixal -, by virtue of being a plural marker, is base-generated in the Num0 position and move to D0 to encode both plurality and definiteness. Moreover, the two s can co-occur in one and the same nominal phrase, exhibiting the . The syntactic analysis of in Chengdu Chinese, coupled with the study of in Cantonese, has theoretical impacts on nominal phrase structures, in particular, on “plurality” and “definiteness”. First, plural markers in classifier languages contrast with those in number languages, as the former, but not the latter, defies numerical modification. Second, definiteness can be expressed by a non-D element, which may check its [+] feature either by undergoing an upward movement to D (or [Spec, DP]) or by agreeing with the [+] feature of a demonstrative. Third, the DP-NP distinction is strongly supported by our account of Chengdu Chinese.

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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Cantonese; Chengdu Chinese; definiteness; di; plurality; ɕiɛ
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