The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

LF Reading Group 9/23 - Ying Gong and Elizabeth Coppock (BU)

Speaker: Ying Gong and Elizabeth Coppock (BU)
Title: Mandarin Has Degree Abstraction After All
Time: Wednesday, September 23rd, 1pm – 2pm

Abstract: According to Beck et al. (2004), not all languages with degree predicates have degree abstraction. A language with a negative setting of their degree abstraction parameter (DAP) is one in which degree variables cannot be bound in the syntax. Mandarin, along with Japanese, Yoruba, Mòoré, and Samoan, is argued to be a [-DAP] language with degree predicates Beck et al. (2010). Recent work, however, has argued for degree abstraction in Japanese (Shimoyama, 2012; Sudo, 2015), and Yoruba (Howell, 2013). We argue that Mandarin has degree abstraction too, contra Krasikova (2008), Beck et al. (2010) and Erlewine (2018). We rebut the previous arguments and present positive evidence from degree questions, wh-correlatives (subequatives), scope interactions with modals (exactly-differentials and little-sentences), and attributive comparatives.