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A Propos De Ta Sa Fuqin Si-Le

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image of Cahiers de Linguistique Asie Orientale

The sentences of the type above mentioned are characterized, on the one hand, by the cooccurrence of bă with an intransitive verb, on the other hand, by the classifier ge following bă and introducing a noun relative to a unique referent. This type of sentence, quoted by most major contemporary Chinese grammars, and to be traced in baihuà texts, doesn't seem, nowadays, to pertain any longer to a universally accepted standard.This paper demonstrates that in these sentences, as in all bă constructions, bă actually marks a patient (even if the latter may be the subject-of an intransitive verb); besides, given its position before bă, a certain agentivity is always conferred to a noun in topic position, even if this agentivity, taken to its far end, boils down to the only desire of having been able to do something to prevent a given event (a point in case: the death of a father); finally, the function of ge before a proper noun or a noun semantically determined as unique, which can be found in some other sentences, isn't to count, that is, to indicate a quantity. but to emphasize the qualitative value of the noun (the father insofar as he is a father), the effect being to underline the value (price) that the speaker attaches to a given person or thing, hence the modal connotation ascribed to such sentences.


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