Referentiality and incompletive reading in Mandarin

Anqi Zhang


As an exception to Krifka’s (1989) famous generalization that a quantized incremental theme always induces an event-homomorphic completive reading, Singh (1991, 1998) observes that in Hindi only the quantized mass noun phrases as the incremental theme entails a completive reading, but unexpectedly quantized count nouns phrases can have an incompletive reading. She proposes that count nouns can introduce a partial thematic relation, whereas mass nouns introduce a total thematic relation. With new data in Mandarin, instead of the mass/count distinction, I argue that referentiality is the crucial factor because the non-culmination readings are only felicitous with the referential objects for consumption verbs in Mandarin.


referentiality; event completion; consumption verbs; incompletive reading; Mandarin;

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