Nominal Possession in Mandarin Chinese
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The present thesis investigates possessive constructions in Mandarin Chinese (MC), with a focus on the peculiarities of the syntactic realisations of kinship, bodypart and property-denoting relationships. These can be expressed grammatically without the appearance of the possessive marker de, in contrast to other types of possession. In opposition to the traditional view that these phenomena are derived by deleting the possessive marker de, I argue that they have a distinct syntax and semantics. I defend the idea that a DP is projected in the nominal domain in MC and propose that the noun phrase in MC has the following hierarchy: [DP [DemP [NumP [ClP NP]]]]. I argue that the morpheme men is a plural marker bearing a dependency to D, and it follows that instances where a nominal or pronominal is suffixed by men are phrasal. On this basis, I examine the syntax and semantics of juxtaposed possessive (JP) expressions where a personal pronoun is juxtaposed with a kinship noun, arguing that the kinship term is a head taking a pro complement, projecting a KinP projection. This KinP is then combined with a D head (a personal pronoun), which agrees in phi-specification with pro. This predicts the absence of proper names and plural pronouns in this construction, and provides the correct semantics without the possessive marker de being involved. I then develop a new analysis of double nominal constructions (DNCs) where the second nominal represents a property of the first. I argue that the second nominal is interpreted as a dimension along which the main predication is made to the subject DP. Also, I re-analyse the obligatory presence of hen and other elements in adjectival predication, tying these elements to the focus semantics of the predication. I further extend the dimension analysis and the focus analysis to the BI comparative constructions in MC.
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