Sentence-Final Aspect Particles as Finite Markers in Mandarin Chinese
Niina Ning Zhang
December 2019

In Mandarin Chinese, sentence-final aspect markers ne, le, and laizhe may occur in some types of embedded clauses, but not in other types, such as the complement of a control verb, a raising verb, lai ''''come'''' and qu ''''go'''', a non-epistemic modal, and the prepositional complementizer dui ''''to''''. These latter types of clauses systematically show properties of nonfinite clauses in other languages. They are intrinsically embedded, ban pro-drop, their clause boundaries may be invisible for binding, and they disallow a speaker-oriented adverb and an epistemic modal. The restrictions on the distribution of the particles indicate that they are finite markers, although the language has no tense or case marker. The paper argues that finite clauses show speaker-oriented properties whereas nonfinite ones do not; instead, nonfinite clauses exhibit higher-clause-oriented properties. Identifying the role of speaker in finiteness distinction reveals the capacity of finite clauses, whether or not the capacity is marked overtly.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003519
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Linguistics
keywords: finite, nonfinite, sentence-final particle, complementizer, speaker, chinese, syntax
previous versions: v1 [June 2017]
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