THE FOCAL STRUCTURE IN MANDARIN VP-ELLIPSIS: A CROSS-LINGUISTIC PERSPECTIVE
This paper argues that Soh’s (2007) ΣP analysis only partially explains polarity operation in Mandarin VP-ellipsis. With new examples of the use of the particle que ‘however’, a polarity contrast of ye ‘also’, we propose that there are two focus projections in VP-ellipsis. One is the contrastive FocP headed by ye or que higher than TP and the other is the polarity PolP headed by an affirmative polarity focus shi ‘be’ or a covert negative polarity focus lower than TP. Foc interacts with Pol by a way of polarity concord, which is responsible for the polarity symmetry or asymmetry across two conjuncts. We suggest that the polarity concord is achieved via the Agree operation (Chomsky 2000, 2001) in line with Watanabe’s (2004) feature copying analysis of the negative concord. A cross-linguistic investigation of languages of various word orders, including English (SVO), Japanese (SOV), Atayal (VOS), and Bunun (VSO) lends support to this focus account.
Keywords: VP-ellipsis, polarity focus, contrastive focus, polarity concord, negative concord, feature copying