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Diversity in Sinitic Languages$
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Hilary M. Chappell

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723790

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723790.001.0001

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Bare classifier phrases in Sinitic languages: A typological perspective

Bare classifier phrases in Sinitic languages: A typological perspective

(p.110) 5 Bare classifier phrases in Sinitic languages: A typological perspective
Diversity in Sinitic Languages

Wang Jian

Oxford University Press

A bare classifier phrase refers to one composed of just a classifier and its head noun without any numerals or demonstratives preceding the classifier. Bare classifier phrases ([CL-N] phrases) can be found in most Sinitic languages. However, the syntactic distribution and semantic interpretation of bare classifier phrases may vary in different languages, which allows categorization into one of seven types. This chapter re-examines these special phrases in a typological perspective and puts forward three implicational universals with respect to their syntactic distribution and semantic interpretation. These three implicational universals are: preverbal [CL-N] phrases ⊃ postverbal [CL-N] phrases; preverbal indefinite [CL-N] phrases ⊃ preverbal definite [CL-N] phrases; and postverbal definite [CL-NP] phrases ⊃ postverbal indefinite [CL-N] phrases. Finally, some tentative explanations are offered for the three implicational universals.

Keywords:   bare classifier, definiteness, indefiniteness, demonstrative, numeral one, implicational universal, Sinitic language

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