Reciprocals
(1,412 words)

The meaning of reciprocity in Chinese reciprocal sentences, especially regarding distributivity and what is called grain ambiguity, cannot (as we will see below) be derived from the two major theories of reciprocals: the intrinsic theory of Heim et al. (1991) and the relational theory of William (1991). This may be related to the fact that, whereas in some languages reciprocals are pronominal, Chinese reciprocals like hùxiāng 互相, jiāohù 交互, jiāoxiāng 交相, zìxiāng 自相, and bǐcǐ 彼此, all meaning ‘mutually’, always occur as adverbs. Predicates modified by them require a …

Cite this page
Chen-sheng Luther LIU, “Reciprocals”, in: Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics, General Editor Rint Sybesma. Consulted online on 21 September 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2210-7363_ecll_COM_00000352>
First published online: 2015



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