The partitive construction in Mandarin Chinese

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This paper investigates the semantic and syntactic properties of [N(oun)+de+Q(uantifier)] in Mandarin Chinese. Based on a comparison with the quantitive construction [Q+N], the paper advocates that [N+de+Q] is the Chinese partitive construction. Adopting a clausal approach to the syntactic derivation of partitives, it is hypothesized that Chinese partitives are formed via applying Predicate Inversion to a small clause that features a BELONG-type possession relationship. The difference between Chinese partitives and English-type partitives in terms of the surface word order is a result of a parametric variation with respect to whether the remnant of Predication Inversion undergoes further raising or not. Copyright © 2015 John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-120
JournalInternational Journal of Chinese Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015


Jin, J. (2015). The partitive construction in Mandarin Chinese. International Journal of Chinese Linguistics, 2(1), 85-120. doi: 10.1075/ijchl.2.1.04jin


  • Partitives
  • Quantitives
  • Predicate inversion
  • Possession


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