Interdependencies in Chinese noun phrases

Kersti Börjars, Christopher Hicks, John Payne

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In this paper, we propose a novel LFG analysis of the structure of Chinese noun phrases involving quantifiers and classifiers or measure words. The analysis accounts for the interdependencies between noun-phrase internal categories and the types of modifier they license by postulating a c-structure involving a spine of co-heads (D - Q - Class - N). This structure is more complex than the c-structure typically assumed for noun phrases in a variety of languages within LFG, but motivated specifically for Chinese both by the rigid ordering restrictions between these elements and the different categories of modifier permitted at each level. We argue, however, that the mutual interdependence of quantifiers and classifiers, and the (partial) complementary distribution between different types of classifier is a consequence of the f-structure features assigned to these. The analysis therefore exploits to the full the LFG distinction between a syntactically motivated c-structure and an independent level of f-structure.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the LFG'18 Conference
EditorsMiriam Butt, Tracy Holloway King
Place of PublicationStanford, CA
PublisherCSLI Publications
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)1098-6782
Publication statusPublished - 20 Dec 2018


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