Bushi as an Evaluative Negation in Mandarin Chinese

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Following the definition provided by Yoon (2011a), the current research investigates the prosodic, semantic and pragmatic features of the Chinese negator bushi. When bushi does not negate the statement made, it serves as an evaluative negation (EN) in the context. Phonetically, EN bushi is distinguished from NC bushi in terms of duration and pause, but cannot be identified by its pitch range. Semantically, bushi can create a quasi-subjunctive mood. In the non-veridical situation created, the speaker can add his or her evaluation by saying EN bushi. Pragmatically, EN bushi mitigates the speaker’s tone; while it can also intensify it on particular occasions. Moreover, the semantic property and pragmatic function of bushi noted the distinctive features of Chinese negative polar items (NPIs), and thus highlights the importance of language specifics. Hopefully, the findings may contribute to the teaching and learning of negations in Chinese.



Chinese negator, evaluative negation, prosodic marker, NPI, evaluation


Zhang, Yizhuo. "Bushi as an Evaluative Negation in Mandarin Chinese." Buckeye East Asian Linguistics, vol. 7 (August 2023), p. 132-143.