On embedded contrastive focus in Mandarin Chinese
This article investigates the previously undocumented focus-sensitiveness of certain scope-bearing expressions in Mandarin, and argues that the syntactic effects of this property should be accommodated by a structure that involves multiple dependencies and inherited dependencies. At the empirical side, it is shown that in Mandarin, certain quantificational expressions as well as typical focusing adverbs have to occur at positions where they (i) c‑command and (ii) be as close as possible to the contrastive foci that they associate with. The similarity to the typical association-with-focus configurations is captured under a unified Agree analysis that incorporated previous variable-adjunction-site analysis for focusing particles in German, while the additional dependencies in these structures are accounted for by multiple Agree and feature inheritance. This analysis is compared with some alternative approaches, which do not have equal empirical coverage or require more complex theoretical assumptions.
Keywords: association with focus, focus construction, quantificational construction, syntax-semantics interface, embedded contrastive focus
Published online: 02 July 2019
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