The nature of the particle suo in Mandarin Chinese

Jen Ting*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This article argues for an analysis of Mandarin Chinese suo as a resumptive pronominal clitic: suo is suggested to be the head of a nominal projection, licensed by being bound by a null operator and adjoined to I0 via head movement. This analysis will be shown to account for the various properties of suo, including its surface order with respect to other elements in the clause, the complementary distribution between suo and the resumptive pronoun ta 'he', the "climbing" phenomenon, and the licensing asymmetry with respect to suo's distribution, namely, the fact that suo is allowed in relativization of the object, the locative expression, and the post-verbal element in locative inversion constructions but not in relativization of subject, manner and reason expressions. This proposed analysis will be compared with that of Chiu (1995) and will conclude that the facts of suo do not support the positing of an agreement-like projection in Chinese.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-139
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of East Asian Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Apr

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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