Clausal comparison without degree abstraction in Mandarin Chinese

Article

Abstract

This paper argues (a) that the bı̌ comparative construction in Mandarin Chinese is a form of clausal comparative and (b) that Mandarin Chinese lacks abstraction over degree variables. Beck et al. (2004) propose that languages may vary in whether or not they allow for abstraction over degree variables through movement. In previous work, comparatives with clausal standards have been uniformly analyzed cross-linguistically as involving \(\overline {\text{A}}\)-movement of a degree operator, and are thereby predicted to not occur in languages without degree abstraction. The paper shows that clausal comparison without degree abstraction is not only theoretically possible but attested, contributing to the cross-linguistic typology of degree constructions. Along the way, I detail the syntactic derivation of bı̌ comparatives and the obligatory ellipsis operation (comparative deletion) in their derivation.

Keywords

Mandarin Chinese Comparative Clausal comparison Comparative deletion Ellipsis Degree abstraction Degree Abstraction Parameter 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore

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