The purpose of this article is to show that long-established insights into the close relation between predicate structure and information structure in Mandarin Chinese can account for a number of concrete observations once they are formalized. In the course of the discussion, I will develop formal definitions of the principle I refer to as the Predicate-Comment Mapping Hypothesis and of the copula and comment marker shi. After discussing how they apply to simple assertive clauses, I will show that these definitions allow us to derive the correct predictions about the differences between three different types of polarity questions—the so-called ma questions, shi-bu-shi questions and A-neg-A questions.
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- ACC :
- CONT :
- COS :
change of state
- DAT :
- DE :
sentence final particle de
- EXP :
- ADV :
- AL :
- BA :
the particle ba
- CL :
- NEG :
- PFV :
- PL :
- Q :
the question particle ma
- QP :
a question particle other than ma
- FM :
- IP :
- MASC :
- NA :
suffix in Konni
- RES :
- S :
- SHI :
the copula shi
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von Prince, K. Predication and information structure in Mandarin Chinese. J East Asian Linguist 21, 329–366 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10831-012-9091-x
- Polarity questions
- Topic comment
- Information structure