Mandarin and Scalarity


This paper examines the use of Mandarin ‘also’ in contexts which dōu can be used as well, e.g., in no matter and even contexts. I argue that there is a correlation between the possibility of using and the presence of a scalar reading as well as a reference to an extremity on the scale in question. The data we present show that is invariably associated with scalar readings: is always used in scalar contexts, and contexts that are not obviously scalar become so when is used. I also argue that a scalar interpretation of wh-elements in no matter contexts can be derived with the aid of negation or modals, thus accounting for the felicitousness of in such contexts. The paper ends with a short note on lián, hypothesizing that its function is to introduce the extreme of the scale. I also argue that the licensing condition of the additive/basic , i.e., the presence of alternatives in the background, also plays a role in the scalar use of .

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