Varieties of Alternatives

Focus Particles and wh-Expressions in Mandarin

  • Mingming Liu

Part of the Frontiers in Chinese Linguistics book series (FiCL, volume 3)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xix
  2. Mingming Liu
    Pages 1-9
  3. Mingming Liu
    Pages 11-41
  4. Mingming Liu
    Pages 81-101
  5. Mingming Liu
    Pages 171-174

About this book


This book concerns two focus particles (jiu, dou) and wh-expressions (shenme = ‘what’, na geren = ‘which person’) in Mandarin Chinese. These items are systematically ‘ambiguous’ and have played important roles in various aspects of Mandarin grammar. An idea based on alternatives and varieties of alternatives in particular – following Chierchia’s 2013 analysis of the polarity system – is pursued to account for the systematic ambiguities. The unambiguous semantics of jiu, dou and wh-expressions are maintained and ‘ambiguity’ explained through varieties of alternatives interacting with other independently motivated aspects of the structure they occur in. By examining these aspects in detail, the book will help readers gain a better understanding of a broad range of phenomena that involve these items – including exhaustivity, distributivity, questions and conditionals.


Chinese Linguistics Formal Semantics Questions in Chinese Language Natural Language Grammar Focus Particles Conditionals

Authors and affiliations

  • Mingming Liu
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Foreign LanguagesHunan UniversityChangshaChina

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Peking University Press and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018
  • Publisher Name Springer, Singapore
  • eBook Packages Social Sciences
  • Print ISBN 978-981-10-6207-0
  • Online ISBN 978-981-10-6208-7
  • Series Print ISSN 2522-5308
  • Series Online ISSN 2522-5316
  • Buy this book on publisher's site