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On Sentence-final Particles ye and yi in Pre-Qin Chinese: A Study Mainly Based on Evidence from Zuo-zhuan

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This paper re-opens a discussion on the grammatical functions of declarative sentence final particles ye [也] and yi [矣] in Pre-Qin Chinese. Whereas traditional grammarians hold the opinion that ye and yi are markers of mood, Pulleyblank (1994) argues against it. The present study concludes that their functions have to do with expressing the speaker’s subjectivity, and will be better interpreted in terms of illocutionary force. Its findings support traditional grammarians’ opinion, and further suggest that ye indicate the force of identification, and yi, the force of estimate. It is plausible that the above-mentioned functions of ye and yi are results from historical developments.


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