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Finiteness of Clauses and Raising of Arguments in Mandarin Chinese

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Abstract. 

This paper argues that Mandarin Chinese clauses exhibit the finite/nonfinite contrast, and, based on this discovery, shows that the EPP is the driving force for A-movement. The evidence is the raising of arguments from the TP complements of different kinds of modals. It is argued that the epistemic modals in Mandarin Chinese take a finite TP complement, whereas the modal hui‘will’ and the root modals take a nonfinite TP complement. Though the epistemic modals take a finite TP complement, they nonetheless permit subject-to-subject raising. This phenomenon can be accounted for if we assume that the EPP drives A-movement, and agreement blocks it. Mandarin Chinese does not have grammatical features; as a consequence, the subject of a finite clause does not perform checking of grammatical features, and thus is free to raise. This phenomenon, therefore, is evidence against the checking-based theory of A-movement. If feature checking is involved in raising in Mandarin Chinese sentences, extra assumptions must be made, with a heavy burden of proof on the checking-based theory.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Tzong-Hong Jonah LinNational Tsing Hua UniversityGraduate Institute of Linguistics101, Section 2, Guangfu RoadHsinchu 300Taiwan, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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