A revisit to the [Num-Cl-Modifier-de-N]/ [Modifier-de-Num-Cl‑N] variation in Mandarin Chinese

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2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper investigates the licensing condition of the [Num(eral)-Cl(assifier)-Mod(ifier)-de-N(oun)] / [Mod-de-Num-Cl‑N] variation in Mandarin Chinese. It is observed that this variation represents a complex interface phenomenon in the nominal domain, which is subject to the semantic condition concerning the i(ndividual)-level/​s(tage)-level nature of the modifier contained on the one hand, and the discourse-related condition concerning CONTRASTIVE TOPIC (CT) on the other. Based on this, at the syntax-semantics interface level, this paper proposes a division of the syntactic domain of adnominal modification to account for the discrepancy between i‑level and s‑level modifiers in terms of their capability in forming [Mod-de-Num-Cl‑N] in the neutral context. In the meanwhile, at the syntax-discourse interface level, in light of the interface-induced analysis pursued by Neeleman & Van de Koot (2008) and Horvath (2010), it is claimed that the word order of [Mod-de-Num-Cl‑N] could be adopted as a linguistic device to encode CT within the nominal domain in Mandarin Chinese, in which case the ordering of [Mod-de-Num-Cl‑N] is licensed for the purpose of establishing a transparent mapping between syntactic configuration and information structure. Copyright © 2020 ILAS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-253
JournalLanguage and Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


Jin, J. (2020). A revisit to the [Num-Cl-Modifier-de-N]/ [Modifier-de-Num-Cl‑N] variation in Mandarin Chinese. Language and Linguistics, 21(2), 213-253. doi: 10.1075/lali.00061.jin


  • Syntax-semantics interface
  • Syntax-discourse interface
  • Nominal phrase
  • Word order
  • Modifier


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