Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2021-0074
Title: Phonological derivation from proximal to distal demonstratives in Chinese
Authors: Shi, Y 
Issue Date: 1-Mar-2022
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH
Citation: Shi, Y (2022-03-01). Phonological derivation from proximal to distal demonstratives in Chinese. Linguistics 60 (2) : 579-615. ScholarBank@NUS Repository. https://doi.org/10.1515/ling-2021-0074
Abstract: Every language has at least two demonstratives or deictic terms, a proximal one and a distal one, and some languages in addition have a medial (or some other additional) demonstrative. Demonstratives exhibit a variety of grammatical and pragmatic functions, and they also serve as major sources for the development of various important grammatical devices, such as copulas, relativizers, definite articles, and complementizers. However, lexical sources for demonstratives remain largely unknown, as do the mechanisms leading to their emergence. Based on a database of more than 1000 subdialects of Chinese, this article demonstrates that the distal demonstratives in these subdialects are phonologically derived from their corresponding proximal demonstratives, which were themselves grammaticalized from classifiers in Late Medieval Chinese. This finding identifies a new type of mechanism leading to the emergence of grammatical items: within a pair of two closely related grammatical elements, the basic and unmarked member originates from a lexical source, and gives rise to the other member through certain phonological principles. The domain of demonstratives thus illustrates how processes of grammaticalization and phonological derivation can interact giving rise to the emergence of new grammatical forms.
Source Title: Linguistics
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/229200
ISSN: 00243949
1613396X
DOI: 10.1515/ling-2021-0074
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