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A Reclassification of VP Ellipsis in Chinese Coordinate Sentences

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DOI: 10.38007/Proceedings.0001156


Liping Liu

Corresponding Author

Liping Liu


VP ellipsis in Chinese came to be discussed in the latest thirty years and many researches have studied on this topic. The focus is whether Chinese VP ellipsis can be analyzed as English VP ellipsis. Strict and sloppy reading ambiguities, locality effects on sloppy reading as well as mixed readings are typical properties of English VP ellipsis and these properties can also be observed in Chinese VP ellipsis. We suggest that the dummy auxiliary shi ‘be’ and the modal verb such as neng ‘can’ should not occupy the same syntactic position because the dummy shi ‘be’ is base-generated in Aux, which is higher than the modal verb position Mod. We reclassify Chinese VP ellipsis into three categories and the three categories that we propose in the thesis include: the shi construction, the modal verb construction and the content verb construction. The shi construction and the modal verb construction belong to the functional VP ellipsis and the content verb construction belongs to the content VP ellipsis. We adopt the VP shell theory to analyze the derivation of the three categories of Chinese VP ellipsis. What the three categories share is that the vP of all the three categories rather than the VP is deleted in the PF component.


VP Ellipsis; Shi Construction; Modal Verb Construction; Content Verb Construction