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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Modal concord in Mandarin Liu, Tianhan


The aim of this thesis is to describe and analyze modal concord in Mandarin Chinese. Modal concord is a semantic phenomenon in which multiple modal words in a sentence are interpreted semantically as if there was only a single modal expression. The thesis provides a description of the Mandarin modal system (especially the necessity modals), following the formal analysis of Kratzer (1991) and von Fintel & Iatridou (2008). The generalization is established that a concord reading is available only when the modals agree in their modal type, ordering sources and quantificational force. This generalization cannot be accounted for by the current modal concord analyses: the modal logic approach and the type-shifting analysis from Huitink (2008). Inspired by global theories of negative concord such as de Swart & Sag (2002), a fusion analysis is proposed to account for modal concord, which treats the multiple modals in a concord reading as equal to each other in the sense that their combination is semantically equivalent to each modal alone, leading to a single modality interpretation.

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