Genericity
(2,002 words)

Genericity is reflected in two rather different phenomena in natural language. One phenomenon involves noun phrases which refer to genera, or kinds, such as shīzi 獅子 ‘lions’, in sentences such as (1):

1.

我喜歡獅子。

 

Wǒ  xǐhuān  shīzi.

 

1sg  like         lion

 

‘I like lions’.

Such noun phrases are called generic or kind-referring NPs. The other phenomenon is exhibited by sentences which involve generic characterizations such as (2a) or habituals such as (2b). 

2.

a.

奇異果富含維他命C。

 

 

Qíyìguǒ  fùhán                  wéitāmìng C.

 

 

kiwi          richly.contain  vitamin C

 

 

‘Kiwis are rich in…

Cite this page
Jo-Wang LIN, “Genericity”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 22 May 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000166>
First published online: 2015



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