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The Grammaticalization of "Zai+V" Construction in Chinese

Author: GongXueQin
Tutor: XiangChengDong
School: Sichuan International Studies University
Course: Foreign Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
Keywords: “zai+V” construction reanalysis generalization short-circuitedimplicature theory subjectification
CLC: H146
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2012
Downloads: 102
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Abstract


According to a comprehensive review of the former scholar’s research, itshows that the research of Chinese character “zai” has already existed, while theresearch focusing on the construction about “zai” is only a few scholars set foot on,let alone the research on “zai+V” construction.This paper, based on the matching of “zai” with1223verbs in The ChineseVerb Usage Dictionary 《(汉语动词用法词典》) and the checking of each collocation“zai+V” in CCL (Center for Chinese Linguistics PKU) corpus, finally tidy up148verbs match with “zai” as “zai+V” construction which has been grammaticalized.These148“zai+V” constructions undergo a same path of grammaticalization, duringwhich “zai+V” has followed four states:“zai+V”1(verb phrase);“zai+V”2(sentenceend verb);“zai+V”3(connection marking);“zai+V”4(auxiliary word). As for the path,there are two grammaticalization path:“zai+V”1→“zai+V”2→“zai+V”4;“zai+V”1→“zai+V”3.Based on previous studies, this thesis elaborately depicts thegrammaticalization of “zai+V” construction with the theory of grammaticalization,coupled with the combination of form and meaning, as well as that of synchronicdescription and diachronic explanation. Besides, this thesis does not only present acomprehensive description of their features and their developing paths, but also offeran explanation of the various grammaticalization mechanisms related to theirdevelopment, such as syntactic mechanism, semantic mechanism, pragmaticmechanism, as well as cognitive mechanism, to prove that “zai+V” construction inChinese is an evolutionary result of the original meanings and that communicatorsshould pay more attention to the development of this linguistic phenomenon,especially for those who speak Chinese as their second language.This thesis is divided into five parts.The first part is a preface mainly introducing the rationale, objective, methodology, and layout of this thesis.The second part mainly presents a concise review of previous studies on theChinese character “zai” from three aspects, i.e. syntax, semantics and pragmatics,retrospect the study of “zai+V” construction as well and point out it shortage in theend.The third part elaborates the concept, genesis and development, principles ofgrammaticalization and mainly elaborates the grammaticalization mechanisms fromfour aspects, i.e. syntax, semantics, pragmatics and cognition. The mechanismsapplicable to this thesis are: reanalysis, generalization, short-circuited theory andsubjectification.The fourth part discusses first the features of the four states “zai+V”construction has experienced:“zai+V”1means “act repetition or topic conversion” asverb phrase;“zai+V”2(means “no action for the time being and consideration delay”as a verb in the end of a sentence;“zai+V”3performs as a conjunction to guideadverbial clauses of compound, progression, hypothetical, concession andcomparation;“zai+V”4means “first VP (and then do other things)” as an auxiliaryword or sometimes performs independently as phatic communion. As for the path,there are two grammaticalization path:“zai+V”1→“zai+V”2→“zai+V”4;“zai+V”1→“zai+V”3. Besides, the grammaticalization mechanisms of “zai+V” construction aremainly discussed in this part from the following four aspects: syntactic, semantic,pragmatic and cognitive aspects.The fifth part is the conclusion which summarizes the major findings andpoints out the limitations of this study, and suggestions for the further research arealso made in this section.The main contribution of this thesis are: For the first time elaborate thelinguistic phenomenon---“zai+V” construction from syntactic, semantic, pragmaticand cognitive aspects with the grammaticalization mechanisms of reanalysis,generalization, short-circuited implicature theory and subjectification; for the first time set up the corpus concluding148“zai+V” constructions which have beengrammaicalized and summarize the four features of “zai+V” construction:“zai+V”1(verb phrase);“zai+V”2(sentence end verb);“zai+V”3(connection marking);“zai+V”4(auxiliary word) with related examples in the corpus (Appendix2has moredetails).

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CLC: > Language, writing > Chinese > Grammar > Modern,modern syntax
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