CHILL! talk 23 March Lin Jing (UvA): “Non-referentiality in child Mandarin”


Chinese Linguistics in Leiden


Upcoming talks:


23 March 2016 (15:15-16:30, De Vrieshof 1/1, Leiden)

Lin Jing (UvA): “Non-referentiality in child Mandarin”


Abstract: When we say John saw a girl yesterday we know that there must be a girl in the world that John saw yesterday. The DP a girl here is referential. In sentences like John probably saw a girl yesterday, the same DP does not need to have a referential import: this sentence is also true if there is no girl in the world that John saw yesterday. Clearly, generic DPs (at least in English) can be referential, and they may also be non-referential (except for the unicorn, which is non-referential). But there are existentials that are referentially deficient, which means that they must be used in contexts in which they are not forced to refer, such as in the scope of probably. One example here is shénme ‘a/some’ in Mandarin. In this talk, I present results collected from 91 monolingual Mandarin children in an elicited imitation task in which they were examined on their knowledge of the non-referential existential shénme ‘a/some’. I will show how Mandarin children acquire the referential deficiency of shénme without explicitly knowing that shénme wánjù ‘a toy’, for instance, can only be non-referential–unlike its bare counterpart wánjù ‘a toy’.


The rest of the Spring Program (all on Wednesdays 15:15-16:30, De Vrieshof 1/1, Leiden)

6 April 2016: Zou Ting (Leiden): “Processing of lexical tones by Dutch learners of Mandarin”

20 April 2016: Wu Juan (Leiden): “Contact-Induced Grammatical Creations: Through the Lens of Chinese Buddhist Translations”

4 May 2016: Hu Han (Leiden): “A Sociolinguistic Study on Rhoticity in Beijing Mandarin”

18 May 2016: Wang Man (Leiden): “Experimental approach to language production of Mandarin”


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