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Linguistic Inquiry

Fall 2012, Vol. 43, No. 4, Pages 634-650
(doi: 10.1162/ling_a_00109)
© 2012 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Classifiers and DP
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Wu and Bodomo (2009) argue against claims made in Cheng and Sybesma 1999. Gebhardt (2011) has contested their arguments related to the status of classifiers and the question whether all nouns in Chinese are mass. In this reply, we discuss some of the points Wu and Bodomo raise, arguing that (a) sortal classifiers are not lexical elements; (b) generic interpretation is not the same as kind interpretation; (c) demonstrative noun phrases do not have the same distribution and interpretation as definite noun phrases in Mandarin and Cantonese; and (d) the DP structure that Wu and Bodomo propose runs into serious problems with phrasal possessors. Finally, we discuss an alternative approach to the structure of the nominal domain in Chinese languages.