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Modal verbs in Han period Chinese Part I: The syntax and semantics of kě ? and kě yǐ ?

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This article focuses on a synchronic analysis of the modal auxiliary verbs ke ? and kě yǐ ? in Han period Chinese. The study reveals that in Han period Chinese ke ? and kě yǐ ? predominantly express root possibility values, while deontic values are mainly restricted to the negated form of the construction. Propositional values (either epistemic or evidential) are almost non-existent and co-occurr only with verbs that licence an evidential interpretation, a notion which is already present in Classical Chinese.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Eastern Languages and Cultures Faculty of Arts and Philosophy Blandijnberg 2 - B-9000 Gent Belgium ddurkinm@aol.com

10.1163/1960602808X00037
/content/journals/10.1163/1960602808x00037
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/content/journals/10.1163/1960602808x00037
2008-01-01
2016-12-09

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