STRUCTURE OF NOUN PHRASES - LEFT OR RIGHT?
Yen-Hui Audrey Li
This paper builds on Y.-H. A. Li (2013) and claims that different structures for [Num + Cl (+de) + NP] should be recognized - left-branching structures for the constructions with Num+Cl functioning like modifiers (relative clauses) describing the properties of the following NPs (property-reading in Y.-H. A. Li 2013) and right-branching structures for the others (entity-reading and quantity-reading in Y.-H. A. Li 2013). The property-reading construction requires de to be base-generated between the modifying phrase and the modified NP. De is part of the grammatical structure and licenses NP-ellipsis. If de appears in the quantity-reading construction, it is the result of phonological insertion and does not affect the grammatical structure or license NP-ellipsis. The structures in question are as stated regardless of the types of classifiers. It is the interpretation or function of Num+Cl that determines the grammatical structure, rather than the type of classifiers. The presence of de cannot be the criterion for determining structures, either, because different types of de need to be recognized. There have been challenges raised in the literature against consistent right-branching structures for non-property reading constructions [Num + Cl (+de) + NP]. It will be shown that these challenges either do not really exist or actually favor the analysis advocated in this work.
Keywords: Number+Classifier structure, left-branching, right-branching, de, NP ellipsis, phonological insertion