What is the opposite of Henduo ‘many’ in Mandarin?
This article first studies the contrastive properties of Q-adjectives many and few, as well as henduo ‘many’ and henshao ‘few’ in Mandarin from the perspective of their strengths as determiners (Milsark, 1974 & 1977). Although all falling into the weak-determiner category for being existential and indefinite, many/henduo show more properties as leaning towards strong definiteness and universal quantification than few/henshao. Secondly, because of the kind-demoting mass NP nature of Chinese nouns and the fact that Mandarin is a topic-comment pro-drop language, henduo ‘many’ and henshao ‘few’ can appear both in the pre-nominal attributive and the predicative positions, unlike their English counterparts many and few that cannot be used as predicates due to the token-denoting nature of English nouns and that English is not a pro-drop language. I also argue that the determiner strengths demonstrated by Q-adjectives are not related to indefinite specificity.
Keywords: Q-adjectives, Mandarin Chinese, quantification, determiner, indefinite specific, indefinite non-specific
- 1.Properties of Q-adjectives in Chinese and English
- 2.Strong and weak determiners
- 3.Differences among Q-adjectives
- 4.Determiner strength ≠ indefinite specificity
- 5.What is henduo ‘many’ and what is henshao ‘few’?
- 6.Why in Chinese books are many?
Published online: 05 July 2022
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