Diversity in Sinitic Languages by Hilary M. Chappell

By Hilary M. Chappell

Providing new learn into the good structural variety present in sinitic languages, this paintings attracts on large empirical facts from lesser-known languages and seeks to dispel many recurrent linguistic myths concerning the Sinitic language family.

summary: providing new learn into the nice structural range present in sinitic languages, this paintings attracts on wide empirical information from lesser-known languages and seeks to dispel many recurrent linguistic myths in regards to the Sinitic language kin

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Sample text

Hilary M. Chappell The area for GIVE verbs is adjacent to two other smaller, highly mixed areas that also implicate the use of GIVE verbs. The first one is the transitional area in southern Jiangsu and adjacent Anhui provinces where both GIVE verbs and the SUFFER verbs, BÈI and ÁI are found intermingled. Jianghuai Mandarin and Hui dialects are well represented in this area. The second mixed area is in eastern Hunan and Jiangxi provinces where Xiang, Gan, Hakka, and Wu dialects are all to be found.

Chappell This is known as the chŭzhìshì 处置式 in Chinese linguistics, and is often translated as the ‘disposal construction’ in English, or the bă 把 construction, if referring to Standard Mandarin. It contrasts with the typical SVO order in many dialect groups of Sinitic. These disposal or object-marking constructions appear in fact to ‘prepose’ the direct object of an SVO clause, marking its new position by a preposition. Despite these synchronic facts, historically they have evolved from serial verb constructions (SVC) where the first verb, a verb meaning ‘hold’ or ‘take’, grammaticalizes into a preposition which introduces the direct object.

In Yunnan province, a variety of sources has been identified in dialect surveys, including BĂ 把 < ‘hold’/‘give’, BĀNG 帮 ‘help’ and ÁI 挨 ‘be connected to’. For the present, we shall tentatively consider these areas as being part of the Central Transitional zone. In the Far Southern China zone, apart from TAKE serial verb constructions, the literary Chinese and Standard Mandarin markers JIĀNG 將 < ‘hold’, and sometimes BĂ 把 < ‘hold’, can be found in use. These two forms have indeed been borrowed into the formal register of these languages and serve as ‘true’ object markers in this case.

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