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Reconstructing the development of the aspect marker te ‘to acquire’ in Southwestern Yuè: a missing link between Yuè and Hakka

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This paper provides a synchronic description and reconstructs the developmental pathway of the aspect marker te in four Southwestern Yuè dialects of Chinese, located in far western Guǎngdōng. Synchronically, te functions as a perfective aspect marker and a perfect aspect marker (similar to Mandarin Chinese le but different from Cantonese zo). Diachronically, te is believed to have been transferred from the neighboring Hakka dialects through substratum influence. We argue that te is grammaticalized from the verb ‘to acquire,’ of the Hakka dialects. This study reveals that the aspectual use of te is an essential part of a missing link between Yuè and Hakka.
Cet article offre des descriptions synchroniques et reconstruit la voie de développement du marqueur aspectuel te dans quatre dialectes chinois de Yuè du sud-ouest, qui se trouvent à l’extrême-ouest de la province de Guǎngdōng. Synchroniquement, te fonctionne à la fois comme un marquer aspectuel du perfectif et du parfait (comparable à le en chinois mandarin mais différent du zo en cantonais). Diachroniquement, nous pensons que te a été emprunté des dialectes voisins de Hakka, et ainsi subi d’une influence de substrat. Nous argumentons en faveur de l’origine Hakka de te : il est grammaticalisé du verbe 得 qui signifie ‘acquérir’ dans les dialectes Hakka. Cette étude révèle que l'usage aspectuel de te joue un rôle essentiel du lien manquant entre les groupes dialectaux de Yuè et Hakka.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Chinese and History, City University of Hong Kong


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