Why Chinese SFPs are neither optional nor disjunctors

TitreWhy Chinese SFPs are neither optional nor disjunctors
Publication TypeArticle de revue
Année de publication2016
AuthorsPan, Victor Junnan, and Waltraud Paul
Start Page23
Date de publication01/2016
Mots-clésMandarin Chinese; Sentence-final particles (SFPs); Head-final split CP; Yes/no questions; Final over Final Constraint (FOFC)

In a recent paper, Biberauer et al. (2014b) claim that the Chinese sentence-final particles (SFPs) ne and ma only “double” the information encoded elsewhere in the sentence and are to be analyzed as “acategorial” conjunctions. This contrasts with the current analysis of, e.g. ma as an interrogative force head. The present article provides evidence in favour of the SFPs ma and ne as C-elements and challenges some of the preconceived ideas commonly encountered in the literature. Within the head-final split CP proposed for Chinese ‘Low C < Force < Attitude’, ma instantiates a Force head, whereas ne realizes the discourse-related AttitudeP, not a wh-question typing particle (pace Lisa L.-S. Cheng's, 1991). Furthermore, evidence is provided to show that the surface sentence-final position of SFPs in Chinese must be taken at face value.

Refereed DesignationRefereed