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The Syntax of Distributivity in a Contact Variety of English

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Publication details

DatePublished - Apr 2013
Issue numberApril 2013
Number of pages25
Pages (from-to)14 - 38
Original languageEnglish


This paper discusses the syntax of distributivity in Singapore English, a contact variety of English with extensive Chinese substrate influence. The analysis adapts the framework of Beghelli and Stowell (1997), focusing on the DistP projection in the functional spine. Novel data are presented and it is shown that also in Singapore English is polysemous, being realised as two homophonous but semantically distinct lexical items, which function as an additive adverb, as is the case in standard varieties of English, or as a distributivity operator. The environments in which also appears are similar, but not identical, to that of dou in Chinese: universal quantification, discontinuous even-focus constructions and free choice constructions. It is argued that also is an overt realisation of the Dist head, which bears an EPP feature that triggers movement of its various associates to its specifier, resulting in strict preverbal word order configurations.

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