A-not-A and S-not

Ning Zhang


This paper argues that Mandarin Chinese A-not-A questions are focus yes-no questions. Evidence comes from the interactions of A-not-A, focus marker shi and focus fronting movement. This paper also argues that in A-not-AB type of A-not-A questions w question marker is in situ, while in AB-not-A and S-not forms the question marker is shifted to CP. This is supported by the following: (1) only when A in A-not-AB is a complete word can not-A move, (2) only when A in A-not-AB is a verb can not-A move, (3) as in the case of a head-to-head movement, there can be no modal to block the movement, and, finally, (4) not-A in AB-not-A must be sentence final. The paper further argues that in Cantonese and Taiwanese the variation of A-not-A and S-not is the result of aspect checking of COMP.


Mandarin Chinese; Yes-No Question

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