Characterizing the Simplex vs. Complex Adjectives in Mandarin Chinese


  • Qiongpeng Luo



The article develops and defends a novel kind-based analysis for Mandarin adjectives. We argue for a semantic distinction between adjectival heads (A/A0) and their projections (AP/AMAX): A0s denote Cresswell-style state-subkind predicates, while APs denote properties of states. Degree morphemes (DEG) have a particularizing function that provide apoint of view against which the state-kind is evaluated. The “A-to-AP” process, a special instance of the “type-to-token” conversion, underlies the famous distinction between the simplex vs. complex adjectives proposed by Zhu (1956), a topic that has plagued Chinese linguistics for more than half a century. Adopting a kind-based account for adjectives has notonly enabled us to explain a range of empirical generalizations concerning adjectival modification in Mandarin which would otherwise remain elusive, but also brought the semantics in the adjectival domain closer to that of the nominal and verbal domains, where a similar “type-to-token” conversion is also proposed and defended.




How to Cite

Luo, Q. (2021). Characterizing the Simplex vs. Complex Adjectives in Mandarin Chinese. Proceedings of Sinn Und Bedeutung, 25, 600–617.