Possessive constructions in Mandarin Chinese

Yongxian Luo

in Possession and Ownership

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199660223
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745096 | DOI:

Series: Explorations in Linguistic Typology

Possessive constructions in Mandarin Chinese

Show Summary Details


Possessive constructions in Mandarin Chinese exhibit a rich array of correlations between the possessor and possesee in the noun phrase, as well as in the verb phrase and the lexicon. They are typically manifested in the double-nominative constructions and the so-called ‘possessor-subject and possessee-object’ clauses. Significantly, possession interacts with the notion of definiteness, which displays interesting syntax-semantics interface in a number of constructions involving quantified and (in)definite noun phrases, raising important questions about the nature of this linguistic phenomenon. Movement, topicalisation and relativisation also characterize Chinese possessive phrases. These are governed by certain syntactic rules that are sensitive to semantic considerations. In the lexicon, different possessive orientations are reflected in different compounding strategies. Certain possessive expressions are triggered by sociolinguistic fators.

Keywords: Mandarin Chinese possessive marking; the de-construction; correlation between possession and definiteness; possession and double-nominative constructions; interface between possession and topicalisation/relativisation; lexical-compounding strategies for possessive expressions; sociolinguistic-oriented possessive expression

Chapter.  6906 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.