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Title: The syntax of 'le' in Mandarin Chinese
Author: Wang, Chen
ISNI:       0000 0004 7653 9109
Awarding Body: Queen Mary University of London
Current Institution: Queen Mary, University of London
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis focuses on the syntax of the structures with the particle le in Mandarin Chinese. The particle le has two uses: verbal le and sentential le. I will argue the verbal le in Mandarin has a dual function: it is used primarily as a quantity marker and secondarily as a perfectivity marker. This leads to a result that most of the cases with le are both telic and perfective. Others, with the lack of (im)perfectivity, only extend a quantity reading. Meanwhile, I assume the perfective reading in Mandarin solely depends on verbal le, except in negative and interrogative situations. This means in a sentence with a perfective viewpoint, even if le occurs after the object at the end of the clause, it should also be a verbal le. I argue that such a structure is result of VP-fronting. On the other hand, a real sentential le is not directly related to perfectivity. I propose that sentential le is a focus marker that scopes high in the hierarchy and yields flexible readings depending on which structure enters the focus domain under different contexts. In this sense, the configuration with both verbal and sentential le extends an assertion of a perfective event, which, I propose, functionally corresponds to the perfect aspect in English. In short, although there are two uses of the particle le in Mandarin, they should be distinguished by their grammatical functions instead of their linear positions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: China Scholarship Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Langauge and Linguistics ; MANDARIN CHINESE ; Syntax