The Emergence of Scalar Particles dou and ye in the OV Word Order in Mandarin Chinese

  • I-Hsuan Chen
Part of the Studies in East Asian Linguistics book series (SEAL)


The constructions which are similar in both form and meaning can be unified based on their mutual generalizations. In the case of Mandarin, the different types of OV constructions form a network based on their overlapping grammatical patterns. Through inheritance, the relationship between the general OV construction, the preverbal minimizer construction, and the O-DOU-V/O-YE-V construct can be connected in a hierarchical network. In Modern Mandarin, when ‘one’-phrases appear in the preverbal object position, the appearance of DOU or YE has even become obligatory. The correlation between scalar reading, focus, and particles which can provide alternatives can be observed in the emergence of DOU or YE in the preverbal minimizer construction. The obligatory occurrence of scalar particles with ‘one’-phrases as minimizers can also be found in an array of numeral classifier languages. The diachronic analysis of DOU and YE can explain the association between the particles and NPIs, which may shed light on the studies of how scalar inferences are conceptually constructed in the numeral classifier languages.

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© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chinese and Bilingual StudiesThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityHung HomHong Kong

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