The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LF Reading Group 10/25 - Hanzhi Zhu (MIT)

Speaker: Hanzhi Zhu (MIT)
Title: Mandarin cai: ‘only’ and what else?
Date and time: Wednesday October 25, 1-2pm
Location: 32-D461

The Mandarin focus particle cái has (at least) three readings: a scalar only reading (1), a temporal reading (2), and an “only if” conditional (3).

1. Lee is only/merely a novice.
2. John arrived only at midnight.
3. Only if the weather’s good will I go jogging.

I’ll explore existing accounts of the semantics of cai. Although the exclusive component of this particle is generally agreed upon, accounts differ on how to treat the additional meaning component(s) that the various readings of cai contribute.