1887
Volume 24, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067

Abstract

Abstract

The article presents a formal analysis of the scalar equative construction in Mandarin Chinese (MSEs). In the standard degree-based approach, scalar equatives are widely assumed to express an asymmetrical linear ordering between two degree-denoting descriptions such that the degree to which the comparee possesses is at least as great as the degree to which the standard possesses. However, this standard analysis would fall short of MSEs, which display a cluster of properties that are unexpected on the standard account: (i) MSEs disallow differentials; (ii) MSEs cannot take measure phrases as the standard; (iii) MSEs in general do not license NPIs in the standard phrases, and (iv) MSEs disallow factor phrases that express multiplication of numerical values. We propose that unlike scalar equatives in English (ESEs), where the comparison of equality is based on asymmetrical linear ordering of the degrees as points, MSEs recur to degrees as kinds, and consequently, the comparison of equality in the latter is based on instantiation of the degree-kinds, namely, equality of properties. The commonalities and differences between MSEs and ESEs suggest that, despite the fact that degrees and properties are semantic objects of distinct types, the underlying connection between them runs deep and fundamental.

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2022-12-12
2023-01-29
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