Futurity in Mandarin Chinese
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This dissertation provides an extensive analysis of how Mandarin, as a tenseless language, conveys futurity. It reveals that futurity in Mandarin is expressed primarily by future adverbials and future forms conveying irrealis modality. Modal auxiliaries and future-oriented verbs are two major types of future forms. It argues that although all the root modals and relevant modal main verbs can refer to the future, some epistemic modals cannot, even though the epistemic modals all allow future interpretation of their complements. The dissertation also investigates the interaction of the future modals and the aspectual viewpoint morphemes in Chinese. The perfective viewpoint morphemes -le and -guo and the imperfective viewpoint morphemes zai and -zhe appear with the future forms only in special contexts. It proposes that the compatibility of -le and -guo with a future form relies on the satisfaction of one of the two conditions: (1) -le and -guo do not share the reference time with the future form, and (2) -le and-guo are not immediately contained in the complement of the future form. Unlike -le and -guo, the appearance of zai and -zhe with a future form pertains to the compatibility of their aspectual meaning with the pragmatic uses of the future morpheme.