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Plural Classifier xie and Grammatical Number in Mandarin Chinese

Abstract

This paper presents an analysis of Mandarin Chinese as having both singular classifiers and a plural classifier, xie. The Num head is the cross-linguistic locus for number marking, hosting both plural suffixes (such as English -s) and classifiers. As Mandarin bare nouns are general number (inclusive plural), singular classifiers create a singular reading while plural classifier xie creates a plural (exclusive plural) reading; thus Mandarin makes a three-way grammatical number distinction.

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