Non-interrogative wh-phrases in Mandarin Chinese have been claimed to be polarity sensitive items (Huang 1982; Li 1992; Cheng 1994; Lin 1998, 2004, 2014; Xie 2007; Lin et al. 2014; Lin and Giannakidou 2015). Lin (1998) put forward a Non-Entailment-of-Existence Condition on the distribution of these wh-phrases, which echoes the non-veridicality story on wh-indefinites (Xie 2007; Lin and Giannakidou 2015). In both accounts, non-interrogative wh-phrases are predicted to be ruled out in simple affirmative sentences. The current study, however, brings in new data where the non-interrogative wh-phrase shenme 'what' is licensed in simple affirmative sentences, thus undermining the previous analyses. I will show that an analysis of shenme couched in Dynamic Plural Logic (Brasoveanu 2008; Henderson 2014) provides better coverage of the data.
Proceedings of the 35th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Wm. G. Bennett, Lindsay Hracs, and Dennis Ryan Storoshenko
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