Negative Raising in Mandarin Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Ma, Yina
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Linguistics
  • Negative Raising (NR) refers to a construction in which the negation of a main clause predicate is semantically ambiguous between negating that predicate and negating a predicate of a subordinate clause. Two approaches to this construction have been pursued in the literature. One approach is syntactic. From this perspective, the negative in the matrix clause may originate in the main clause, or it may originate in the embedded clause and then moves (or ‘raises’) syntactically into the matrix clause. (Fillmore, 1963; Lakoff, 1969; Seuren, 1974; Collins & Postal, 2014). The semantic/pragmatic approach, on the other hand, argues that NR results from the Excluded Middle property of main predicates (Jackendoff, 1970; Bartsch, 1973; Horn, 1982, 1989, 2014; Tovena, 2000; Gajewski, 2005, 2007; Bošković, 2008). NR has been widely studied in numerous languages including English; however, few studies have investigated NR in Mandarin Chinese. Most of these studies have favored the semantic/pragmatic approach (Shen, 1989; Bošković, 2008; Liu, 2011; Zhang & Liu, 2011; Xiang, 2013, 2014). This may be because Li (1992) claimed that there is no positive evidence for a syntactic operation of NR in Mandarin. The semantic study of Bošković (2008) argues against NR in the context of a typology of nominal phrases cross-linguistically. As a result, it is still controversial whether NR exists in Mandarin. The existing literature contains no evidence that argues for NR in Mandarin, and there is also no syntactic analysis that argues explicitly that NR must be a syntactic movement in Mandarin. This study aims to fill these two gaps. It disposes of the putative evidence provided by Bošković (2008) against NR, and offers two new empirical arguments that suggest that NR exists in Mandarin. These arguments are based on the pattern of Negative Polarity Items in the language. Building on the recent syntactic analysis of English NR in Collins & Postal (2014), it argues that Mandarin NR is subject to general syntactic constraints such as the C-Command Condition, the Complex NP Constraint, wh-islands, and clause-internal clefts. In addition, the few differences between NR in English and Mandarin are attributed to parametric differences in the Subjacency Principle of Chomsky (1973). Mandarin NR is compared with other syntactic movements and it is argued that Mandarin NR shares fundamental characteristics with overt movements.
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  • In Copyright
  • Hendrick, Randall
  • Smith, Jennifer L.
  • Pertsova, Katya
  • Master of Arts
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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