A unified semantic analysis of Chinese adverbial ziji
This study of Chinese adverbial ziji investigates why cross-linguistically adverbial intensifiers often develop two different uses, namely the exclusive use and the inclusive use. Arguing against the polysemous account proposed in previous works like Siemund (2000), and assuming the mechanism suggested in Liao (2018) for exclusive ziji, the paper presents a new analysis revised from Gast’s (2006) account for intensifiers. In the analysis, there is only one ziji for all its adverbial uses. By adjoining to different X’ positions in the structure, adverbial ziji may get different surface meanings. Despite the surface differences, adverbial ziji always has the following semantics: it works as an identity function, evokes alternatives for consideration, and receives an exclusive meaning after the application of the covert exhaustivity operator O. Based on the evidence presented, the analysis crucially assumes that adverbial ziji may adjoin to Topic’, and this adjunction leads to the effect that the subsequent exhaustification is done over a set of alternative propositions that vary in topics. In such a case, alternative individuals evoked by ziji do not have to be excluded from having the property described by the VP in question. This makes the assertion of a ziji-sentence in inclusive context possible, and accounts for why intensifier ziji has a disguised inclusive function. By proposing such a unified account of ziji, the paper explains why cross-linguistically intensifiers often develop the various uses observed.
- 2.Previous analyses
- 2.1A polysemous account of adverbial intensifiers: Siemund (2000)
- 2.2The syntax-semantics correlation of adverbial intensifiers
- 2.3 Gast’s (2006) analysis
- 3.The proposal
- 3.1 Liao’s (2018) mechanism for Chinese exclusive intensifier ziji
- 3.2A unifying analysis of Chinese adverbial ziji for its exclusive and disguised inclusive uses
- 3.3Two factors affecting the readings of Chinese adverbial ziji
- 3.4Further evidence for the one adverbial ziji analysis: The presupposition of Chinese adverbial ziji
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