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Open Access Diachronic Changes of Modifier-Head Phrases

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Diachronic Changes of Modifier-Head Phrases

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image of Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics

Basic phrase types remain constant throughout the history of the Chinese language. However, functions of each phrase type went through certain changes that were not yet adequately discussed. This paper explores diachronic changes of functions of the modifier-head phrase, which is the commonest phrase type. Remarkable changes include the following four types: (1)The way of expressing similarity only through word sequence of the phrase disappeared; (2) Monosyllabic verbs became highly restricted to appear on the modifier position; (3) Using a verb as a modifier to express the semantic relation “action+patient”, ‘de (的)’ became necessary except for some compound words; (4)Some elements denoting interpersonal information on the modifier position disappeared.


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