Focus, negation and event quantification in Chinese : How focus helps shape negation in natural language

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)12_Chapter in an edited book (Author)peer-review

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInterfaces in Grammar
EditorsJianhua Hu, Haihua Pan
PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
Chapter9
Pages245-282
ISBN (Electronic)9789027262684
ISBN (Print)9789027202482
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameLanguage Faculty and Beyond
Volume15
ISSN (Print)1877-6531

Abstract

Chinese negators, bu and mei, translated as “not” in English, are assumed to be focus-sensitive indiscriminately. In this paper, I argue that unlike bu, mei does not lexically encode a dependency on the placement of focus, due to the failure of semantic focus to override its syntactic constraint. Syntax has made mei inherently a negative existential quantifier of situations. The role of focus in mei-sentences is to provide the backgrounded event description. Material within the TP scope of mei, excluding the focus, will be structurally mapped to the background part to set up its restrictive domain, and everything within its scope to the nuclear scope. Therefore, although falling under the same category, negators do not necessarily demonstrate the same focus dependency.

Bibliographic Note

Full text of this publication does not contain sufficient affiliation information. With consent from the author(s) concerned, the Research Unit(s) information for this record is based on the existing academic department affiliation of the author(s).

Citation Format(s)

Focus, negation and event quantification in Chinese : How focus helps shape negation in natural language. / Lee, Peppina Po-Lun.

Interfaces in Grammar. ed. / Jianhua Hu; Haihua Pan. John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2019. p. 245-282 (Language Faculty and Beyond; Vol. 15).

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)12_Chapter in an edited book (Author)peer-review