On Merge-Markers and Nominal Structures
This chapter presents a novel analysis of nominal structures under the framework of symmetric syntax (originally proposed in chapter 5 of this volume, and later developed in Liao 2011). We begin by reviewing a longstanding dilemma in the analyses of nominal syntax. That is, it always leads to some conceptual problems whether we assume the single-constituent analysis or dual-constituent analysis. With respect to nominal syntax, the classifi er constructions in (Mandarin) Chinese will be examined at length, in comparison (and contrast) with the corresponding constructions in English. From the perspectives of locality and selectional restriction, neither the single-constituent analysis nor the dual-constituent analysis makes full explanation for the syntactic properties of the nominal structures. These problems, however, can be accounted for once we adopt the idea that syntactic computations are in fact executed at a more abstract level (which we call Merge-markers), and (surface) phrase structures are actually constructed from these abstract syntactic units by independent mapping mechanisms.