LINGUIST List 32.731

Sat Feb 27 2021

Books: Yě, yě, yě: Yang

Editor for this issue: Billy Dickson <>

Date: 25-Feb-2021
From: Janacy van Duijn Genet <>
Subject: Yě, yě, yě: Yang
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Title: Yě, yě, yě
Subtitle: On the syntax and semantics of Mandarin yě
Series Title: LOT Dissertation Series
Published: 2020
Publisher: Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics / Landelijke (LOT)

Book URL:

Author: Zhaole Yang
Paperback: ISBN: 9789460933561 Pages: 199 Price: Europe EURO 31

This dissertation presents a description and analysis of the Mandarin particle yě ‘also’. It provides a comprehensive syntactic and semantic treatment of three different manifestations of yě, namely, Additive yě, which is similar to English also, Parametric/Scalar yě, which we find in ‘no matter’ and even/even if contexts, and, finally, Modal yě, basically a concessivity marker.

Additive, Parametric/Scalar and Modal yě are different in interpretation and require different licensing conditions. Additive yě can only be licensed if an antecedent can be retrieved from the context: the antecedent must be explicitly asserted or otherwise present in the active context and it must have the same argumentative orientation as the host sentence. Parametric/scalar yě can only be licensed if scalarity is marked in the sentence. Finally, as a concessivity marker, Modal yě presupposes the existence of a concessive proposition as an alternative. Pragmatically, the use of Modal yě results in a polite, indirect, tactful or less absolute reading of the host sentence. The syntactic properties of the different manifestations of yě are explored vis à vis Butler's modal hierarchy and Cinque’s adverb hierarchy. We conclude that there are two positions of yě in the syntactic structure, one in CP and the other in IP.

Linguistic Field(s): Pragmatics

Subject Language(s): Chinese, Mandarin (cmn)

Written In: English (eng)

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