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8 On the Development of Sentence Final Particles (and Utterance Tags) in Chinese

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines how sentence final particles emerged in Chinese. More specifically, it identifies a number of morphosyntactic and phonological processes that contribute to the rise of pragmatic markers at the right periphery, many of which are also found in other languages. One type of morphosyntactic process is verb concatenation in the form of verb serialization, which is then followed by a form of clause combining. The chapter discusses two types of insubordination processes for Chinese. One involves a 'main-clause ellipsis' phenomenon that gives rise to the reanalysis of concessive connective buguo as a concessive sentence final particle. Another one involves the reinterpretation of de-nominalization constructions as 'stand-alone' finite structures; this type of insubordination process has been documented in numerous other languages. Crucially, this process involves the reanalysis of erstwhile nominalizers as sentence final particles.

Keywords: Chinese; clause combining; morphosyntactic process; pragmatic markers; right periphery; verb concatenation; verb serialization



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