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We examine the structural and distributional properties of noun-classifier compounds (N-Cl compounds) in Mandarin Chinese, in relation to pre-nominal classifier structures. We propose a non-lexicalist analysis of N-Cl compounds, which we claim are generated by head movement of nouns to the same type of ClassifierP projection that hosts pre-nominal classifiers. We first show that key distributional differences between compound-internal and pre-nominal Cls are explained in terms of phase extension (Den Dikken 2007); N-to-Cl head movement extends the NP phase to ClP. Second, we examine patterns of co-occurrence between N-Cl compounds and pre-nominal classifiers, and posit that they contain a recursive ClP structure. We show that the attested restrictions on ClP recursion are captured by phase extension in tandem with the distinctness condition on linearization (Richards 2010). Finally, we discuss broader implications of the pattern for cartographic theories (Rizzi 1997, et seq.): principally, that that some ordering relations should be stated in terms of semantic selection relations, rather than a fixed hierarchy of projections (Larson 2021).
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