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Title:Interpreting Complex Noun Phrases in Mandarin Chinese
Author(s):Wu, Mary Ann
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Lasersohn, Peter N.
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Modern
Abstract:It has been observed that word order and intonational prominence in MC NPs tend to correlate with definite and indefinite readings of the NPs. Based on recurring interpretive patterns in MC, I show that in MC, definite readings are expressed by lexical and constructional meaning, the interpretation of focus, and contextually furnished constraints jointly in a systematic way. More specifically, ordering MOD-de before DEM/NUM (i.e., adjoining MOD-de to NP) indicates focus on MOD-de and a presupposition that the focus-induced alternative set associated to the resulting NP encodes cardinality information regarding the set of contextually relevant entities satisfying the descriptive content of the NP. The extensional content of an expression, which I treat as the 'purely truth-conditional' aspect of meaning interpretation, may be computed compositionally in regular model-theoretic terms and could be the same for definite and indefinite NPs, for demonstrative NPs with regular or more stringent requirements on the set in which uniqueness must hold, and for quantificational NPs with optional vs. obligatory de re readings. The interpretive differences observed of such NPs follow presuppositions (introduced by DEM and by adjoining MOD-de to NP) coupled with focus-induced alternatives associated to the NPs. Crucially, the presuppositions together with the alternatives associated to the NP systematically restrict the contexts (i.e., Models) in which the NP may be used felicitously, and the observed interpretive differences fall out.
Issue Date:1997
Description:231 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9812811
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1997

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