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NEGATION IN CHINESE: A MINIMALIST PERSPECTIVE

LU SHOUCHUN  
【摘要】:The study of negation has a long tradition within the generative approach, and resurgence has been aroused ever since Poliock (1989)’s famous “the Split-1NFL Hypothesis” which is based on the observation of the different distribution of negation related to other constituents between English and French. In the literature, on the one hand, the cross-linguistic study on the position of NegP in relation to other functional hculs is still a maser of debate, on the other, the onc onc correspondence between NegP and negative sentence is greatly challenged ultiple NegP (Zanuttini 1997) is proposed, and each one relates to one specialized semantic function Coincidentally, Cinque (1999) presents his Universal Base Hypothesis (UBH)-by which he argues for the existence of a fixed universal hierarchy of clausal functional projections and claims that AdvPs are unique specifiers of distinct maximal projections nd acknowledges in his later stage of argumentation that NegPs, like DP-related projections, can occur in several positions in the clause, sometimes simultaneously. Bear in mmd the special status of NcgP, we set out to review the claims from pioneering scholars research on the issue of negation of Mandarin Chinese. There are vaiious accounts to Chinese negation, clitw-bascd approach, NcgP-bescd approach, and adverbial-based approach. However, they are far from unproblematic. It seems that researchers lay too much emphasis on one of the free possible negators in Mandarin Chinese u, to account for the incompatibility of bu with perfective particle -le or the incompatibility of bra with the manner phrases, while the other two mei(youa) and bEe arc simply neglected or not fairly treated. Based on our intuition and the observations carried out by the traditional linguists, we find that it is the partiality incurred so much trouble in the previous accounts. We argue that if we acknowledge negator bie is the combination of bu and yao, thus the two negators bu and mel (you) should be treated equally and independently as two negators in Mandarin Chinese which are in strict complementary distribution. In order to capture the distribution distinction, and account for the issues discussed in the literature, we propose that the two negators bu and mel are actually two different instantiations of NegP of Mandarin Chinese, in the spirit of multiple NegP hypothesis. Noting that mel always tends to negates sentences with aspectual suffixes, whereas bu cannot; bu(bie) is often used in negative imperatives while mel never can; simple negative sentences with bu is prone to have multiple modal readings, sentences with mel is never the same case, the two are playing different roles. The facts drive us to come to the conclusion that bu is generated higher in C-domain in the overall hierarchy, while mei is generated in I-domain, provided we accept Grohmann (2000a)’s proposal of tripartite clause structure, which in essence is the combination of Cinque (1999)’s UBH and Chomsky’s classic clausal structure argumentation. Simple negative sentences with bu and the negative imperative sentences with bz4bie) involve a (null) Mod morpheme movement to (Y who bears a certain force(mood) or non-finiteness feature in accordance to the (null) Mod morpheme’s. The thesis ends with the discussions to the issues accounted in the previous studies and some concluding remarks.


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