Intensifiers and Reflexive Pronouns in English and Mandarin Chinese

A Contrastive Study

by Lin Wang (Author)
©2015 Thesis 178 Pages


The book is a study on intensifiers and reflexive pronouns between two languages (English and Mandarin Chinese) and the first one drawing a complete picture in this domain. It provides the full uses of self, zìjĭ and běnrén. In the case of běnrén, here for the first time the full use of this pronoun in Mandarin Chinese is analysed. It is also the first book that uses contrastive study to talk about intensifiers and reflexive pronouns, which reveals many hidden characteristics of the intensifiers and reflexive pronouns that otherwise cannot be seen. It is based on the most distinctive research of the latest 30 years in the linguistic field.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the Author
  • About the Book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acknowledgements
  • Zusammenfassung
  • Contents
  • List of Charts and Tables
  • Abbreviations
  • 0. Introduction
  • 0.1 Aim of the study
  • 0.2 A general picture
  • A. Defining the Object of the Study
  • 1. Two Uses of the Same Form
  • 1.1 Intensifiers
  • 1.2 Reflexive pronouns
  • 2. Methodology and the Languages under Investigation
  • 2.1 Contrastive analysis
  • 2.2 Contrastive analysis vs. language typology
  • 2.3 Comparative Concepts vs. Descriptive Categories
  • 2.4 Choices of languages
  • 2.5 Sources of the examples
  • 3. Outline of the Following Chapters
  • B. Previous Research
  • 4. General Picture of Previous Research
  • 5. A brief Summary of the Relevant Theoretical Discussions
  • 5.1 Typological studies
  • 5.2 Generative studies
  • 5.3 Reinhart & Reuland
  • 5.4 Haihua, Pan
  • 5.5 James Huang
  • 5.6 Koenig & Siemund
  • C. Contrasts between Intensifiers
  • 6. Intensifiers in English and Mandarin Chinese
  • 6.1 Inventories and selected areas
  • 6.1.1 Inventory in English
  • 6.1.2 Inventories in Mandarin Chinese
  • 7. Contrastive Study of the Forms of Intensifiers in Standard English and Mandarin Chinese
  • 7.1 Simplex forms of intensifiers in Mandarin Chinese: zìjĭ & běnrén
  • 7.2 Complex forms of intensifiers in Mandarin Chinese
  • 7.2.1 Complex form [X-zìjĭ] = [personal pronoun] + [zìjĭ]
  • 7.2.2 Complex form [X-běnrén] = [personal pronoun] + [běnrén]
  • 7.3 Intensifier in English: self-Forms
  • 8. Contrastive Study of the Distribution and Meaning of Intensifiers in Standard English and Mandarin Chinese
  • 8.1 Contrasts in general structures
  • 8.2 Contrasts in syntactic positions of adnominal intensifiers
  • 8.2.1 Zìjĭ v.s. self-forms in adnominal position
  • 8.2.2 X-zìjĭ v.s. self-forms in adnominal positions
  • 8.2.3. Běnrén v.s. self-forms in adnominal positions
  • 8.2.4 Further contrasts between X-zìjĭ and X-běnrén in adnominal position
  • 8.2.5 The adnominal intensifier běnshēn v.s. self-forms
  • 8.2.6 The adnominal intensfier X-běnshēn and self-forms
  • 8.3 Contrasts in the meanings of adnominal intensifiers
  • 8.4 Contrasts in the syntactic positions of adverbial intensifiers
  • 8.4.1 Syntactic positions of adverbial exclusive intensifiers in English
  • 8.4.2 Syntactic positions of adverbial intensifiers in Mandarin Chinese
  • 8.5 Contrasts in the meanings of adverbial intensifiers
  • 8.5.1 The meanings of adverbial intensifiers in English
  • 8.5.2 The meanings of adverbial intensifiers in Mandarin Chinese
  • 8.5.3 The typical adverbial intensifier qīnzì
  • 8.5.4 Generalization: intensifier qīnzì vs. self-forms
  • 8.5.5 Contrasts between functionally similar expressions: in person, personally, v.s. intensifiers in Mandarin Chinese and self-forms
  • 8.6 Contrasts in attributive intensifiers
  • 9. Further Properties of Intensifiers in Mandarin Chinese
  • 9.1 Instrumental intensifiers in Mandarin Chinese
  • 9.2 Combinations of two intensifiers with / without reinforcement in Mandarin Chinese
  • 9.2.1 [zìjĭ + běnrén]
  • 9.2.2 [zìjĭ+zìshēn]
  • 9.2.3. [zìjĭ+běnshēn]
  • 9.2.3 [zìjĭ+qīnzì]
  • 9.2.4 [běnrén+zìjĭ]
  • 9.2.5 [běnrén+zìshēn]
  • 9.2.6 [běnrén+qīnzì]
  • 10. Relationship between Intensifiers and Reflexive Pronouns
  • D. Contrasts between Reflexive Pronouns
  • 11. Reflexive pronouns in English and Mandarin Chinese
  • 11.1 Inventories and selected areas
  • 12. Group one: zìjĭ, X-zìjĭ and self-forms
  • 13. Group two: běnrén, X-běnrén and self-forms
  • 14. Group three: zìshēn, X-zìshēn and self-forms
  • 15. Group one: reflexive pronouns in sentence subject position
  • 16. Group Two: Reflexive Pronouns in Clausal Subject Positions (Headless Intensifiers)
  • 17. Group Three: Reflexive Pronouns in Object Positions
  • 17.1 Locally-free reflexive pronouns
  • 17.2 Long-distance binding
  • 17.3 Cases of subject-orientation
  • 17.4 Cases of sub-commanding
  • 17.5 Logophoricity
  • 17.6 Blocking effect
  • 17.7 Differences on distributivity and reflexivity
  • 18. Inherently Reflexive Verbs in English
  • 18.1 Optional reflexive pronouns in English
  • 19. Grooming Verb / Alternation with Zero in English
  • E. Analysis on Běn-expressions and Possible Referents of Běnrén
  • 20. Observations on Běn Expressions
  • 20.1 First observation: [běnrén] = [běn] + [rén]
  • 20.2 Běn expressions
  • 20.3 An Analysis of běn based on dictionaries
  • 20.4 Classification to the meanings of běn expressions
  • 20.5 Functions of běn in běn expressions
  • 20.6 Běn-expressions in their adjectival use [běn≠wo, běn≠ci/zhè]
  • 20.7 Běn in its possessive use [běn=1ps, běn-fèn; běn-xiào]
  • 20.8 Běn expression in their deictic Use
  • 20.9 The use of běn as a honorific pronoun in Mandarin Chinese: [běn+ proper name.sg] = [1ps. Pronoun]
  • 21. Běnrén
  • F. Summary
  • Appendices
  • Appendix I: contrasts of counterparts of reflexive pronouns in Mandarin Chinese and English
  • Appendix II: contrast on the combinations of [pronominal + identity expressions] in the two languages
  • Appendix III: A related comparison between personal pronouns and possessive pronouns in Mandarin Chinese and English
  • Appendix IV: Chinese honorifics, referring to oneself
  • For self-deprecating humbleness, commoners or people with lower status
  • Elders
  • The royal family
  • Government officials
  • Scholarly or religious professions
  • The speaker‘s own family
  • Reference

Charts and Tables


Chart 1: four uses of intensifiers


Table 1:a comparison between exclusive adverbial intensifiers and inclusive adverbial intensifiers

Table 2:entries containing forms of identity expressions in Mandarin Chinese in the CCL copora

Table 3:number of forms of zìshēn, běnshēn, and qīnzì found in the CCL corpora

Table 4:frequency of use of three intensifiers in Mandarin Chinese

Table 5:simplex form of intensifier zìjĭ and běnrén in Mandarin Chinese

Table 6:an inventory of X-zìjĭ (X=personal pronoun) / complex forms of zìjĭ

Table 7:an inventory of X-běnrén (X=personal pronouns) / complex forms of běnrén

Table 8:forms of self-forms in English

Table 9:forms of attributive use X-zìjĭ / X-běnrén in Mandarin Chinese

Table 10 (a):contrast of syntactic positions and relevant functions of self-forms, zìjĭ & X-zìjĭ

Table 10 (b):contrast of syntactic positions and relevant functions of self-forms, běnrén & X-běnrén

Table 11:selectional restrictions of adnominal intensifiers in Mandarin Chinese

Table 12:contrast of constraints on the interpretation of inputs and outputs of adnominal intensifiers zìjĭ, běnrén, and běnshēn in Mandarin Chinese and self-forms in English

Table 13:contrast between syntactic positions and uses of adnominal and adverbial intensifiers in English and in Mandarin Chinese

Table 14:similarities and differences of adnominal zìjĭ and adverbial zìjĭ

Table 15:contrast between syntactic positions of the intensifier zìjĭ and qīnzì

Table 16:differences and similarities of intensifier zìjĭ and qīnzì

Table 17:syntactic positions of X-zìjĭ as an adverbial intensifier

Table 18:contrasts in the syntactic positions of intensifiers in English and in Mandarin Chinese in their adnominal and adverbial (exclusive) uses

Table 19:contrasts between semantics of adverbial exclusive self-forms, adverbial (exclusive) zìjĭ and adnominal use of X-zìjĭ

Table 20:contrast between běnrén, X-běnrén, qīnzì and self-forms

Table 21:contrast between the forms of zìjĭ, self-forms and by itself

Table 22:contrasts between the intensifier zìjĭ and self-forms

Table 23:contrasts between the intensifiers zìjĭ and qīnzì

Table 24:meanings of personally and in person and possible counterparts in Mandarin Chinese

Table 25:contrasts between zìjĭ and běnrén used as intensifiers

Table 26:morphological make-ups of zìshēn and běnshēn

Table 27:[qīn+body part NP] v.s. [qīn+non-body part NP / VP]

Table 28:reinforcement in Mandarin Chinese

Table 29:the form běnrén

Table 30:pseudo-reflexive use of běn expressions, which is used by the speaker to refer to the speaker himself / herself

Table 31:běn expressions in the adjectival use

Table 32:běn expressions with běn with the meaning of ‘my, our’

Table 33:deictic use of běn expressions


Table 35:major identity expressions under comparison in this dissertation

Table 36:major similarities of the identity expressions in English and Mandarin Chinese

Table 37:major differences of the identity expressions in English and Mandarin Chinese


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2014 (November)
Reflexivpronomen Vergleichsstudie China Verstärkungswort
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 178 pp., 42 tables, 1 graph

Biographical notes

Lin Wang (Author)

Lin Wang lectures at the English Department of the Foreign Language Institute at Ningbo University (China), where she teaches Interpreting and Contrastive Linguistics (between German and English). She did a PhD program at Freie Universität Berlin. Her current research concentrates, amongst others, on Color Theory and Typology.


Title: Intensifiers and Reflexive Pronouns in English and Mandarin Chinese
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180 pages