Cantonese GIVE and Double-Object Construction Grammaticalization and word order change

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GIVE is a versatile morpheme in many languages. Syntactically, it is a verb that subcategorizes two objects, and the three-argument structure gives rise to a number of constructions with inter-related meanings as a result of grammaticalization and semantic extension of GIVE. The constructions that have been discussed the most include the double-object construction, the causative construction, and the passive construction. While there have been extensive studies on the interplay between the syntax and semantics of GIVE in many languages (see, for example, Newman, 1996, 1998), not much has been done in a similar manner on Cantonese, a member ofthe Yue dialect group of the Chinese language family. This monograph reports on the study of the morpheme GIVE and its associated functions and syntactic constructions in Cantonese from diachronic, synchronic, and typological perspectives. Drawing on cross-linguistic data, and 19th century dialect materials, this study first traces the chronological development of the various functions played by GIVE in Cantonese: The indirect object marker, the passive marker, and the instrument marker which was relatively under-explored in previous studies. The study then examines the double-object construction in terms of its typological contrast between the Northern and Southern dialects of Chinese with fieldwork data and corpus data. The typological contrast provides the basis for discussing the use of the northern pattern in Cantonese as a result of the increasing influence of Putonghua and Modern Standard Chinese. The extent and the rate of the influence were studied by means of a sociolinguistic survey with 40 native speakers of Cantonese.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCantonese GIVE and Double-Object Construction
Subtitle of host publicationGrammaticalization and word order change
Number of pages277
ISBN (Electronic)9789027257802
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameStudies in Chinese Language and Discourse
ISSN (Print)1879-5382


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