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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

LingLunch talk by Xuhui Freddy Hu and Yingyi Li (Peking University)

When: Wednesday, December 15, 2021, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Where: Zoom link: Passcode: 530866

Dr Xuhui (Freddy) Hu and PhD student Yingyi Li (Peking University) will give an online LingLunch talk entitled A head of two features. Rethinking the nature of the Chinese plural marker "men" and the Division head in Chinese DP.



A Head of Two Features: Rethinking the nature of the plural marker -men and the Division head in Chinese DP

In this talk we aim to provide a new account for the widely studied marker -men in Mandarin Chinese, which is often associated with plural reading. The core issues to be covered in this talk are as follows: (1) -men, unlike the plural marker -s in English, is incompatible with a preceding numeral; (2) -men marked nominal expressions are definite or specific; (3) -men marked nominal phrase can take different readings: (a) a group of individuals denoted by a common noun predicate ; (b) a group of individuals that share the representative property denoted by a proper name; (c) a group of individuals that include the person denoted by a proper name as well as this person’s cohort; (d) a group of individuals that include X and Y (X and Y being proper names) and their cohort. Drawing on insights from the theory of number features proposed by Harbour (2014) and the functional structure of DP in Borer (2005), we propose that both the classifiers and -men in Chinese provide Division features and hence are inserted in the Divi(sion) head (providing range assignment for the open value of [Div] in the sense of Borer (2005)). We argue that classifiers and -men provide [atomic] and [minimal] featural content for the Div feature, which have to be realised by two systems of functional items (phonological forms) . We will show how this hypothesis provides a unified account for the aforementioned issues, furthers our understanding of the nature of Div head, and yields potential implications for cross-linguistic variation regarding NP.  


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