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Intensifiers and Reflexive Pronouns in English and Mandarin Chinese

A Contrastive Study


Lin Wang

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.
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D. Contrasts between Reflexive Pronouns


Having established the relationship between intensifiers and reflexive pronouns in the narrow sense of words, the following chapter is devoted to the contrastive study of reflexives pronouns in the two languages.

In Mandarin Chinese, not every identity expression that is used as an intensifier can also be used as a reflexive pronoun, and vice versa. Such questions do not arise in English, since combinations of self + pronoun are the only possible forms of identity expressions (both for intensifiers and for reflexive pronouns).

My corpus research (cf. example (36) below) reveals that there is a limited number of identity expressions in Mandarin Chinese that can be used BOTH as an intensifier and as a reflexive pronoun. The relevant forms are: zìjĭ, běnrén, zìshēn, together with their compound forms. There are also other identity expressions, as mentioned earlier: qīnzì is a typical adverbial intensifier and can never be used as a reflexive pronoun. English, too, has functionally similar expressions that are only used as intensifiers, such as in person, personally, by itself. These forms are not covered in the present contrastive analyses, either. Another identity expression in Mandarin Chinese, qīnshēn, is a typical attributive intensifier and is mainly used without the possessive marker -de. Again, it does not have reflexive uses.

Reflexive pronouns in the narrow sense of the word are typically used in situations where subject and object of a transitive predicate pick out one and...

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