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From 'Direction' to 'Positive Evaluation': On the Grammaticalization, Subjectification and Intersubjectification of faan1 'return' in Cantonese

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Abstract

This paper investigates the grammaticalization of the directional particle faan1 in Cantonese. Drawing on examples from a diachronic database reflecting the use of faan1 in Cantonese from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, this study traces the diachronic development of faan1. Originally a verb of movement meaning 'to return to the original location', faan1 has gradually developed into a grammatical particle giving resumptive meanings, as well as subjective evaluative meanings. Despite the fact that these meanings of faan1 have been commented upon extensively in the past, it is found that it has undergone further grammaticalization to become a tone-softener, playing an intersubjective role. It is suggested that the subjectification and intersubjectification of faan1 are motivated by the conversational needs for a speaker to express his subjective feelings as well as to care for his addressee's face needs. The particle faan1 turned out to be a very suitable candidate to achieve these communicative goals, thus leading to its pragmatic enrichment.

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... Nevertheless, the utterance would become acceptable again if it is used in reported speech, as it is actually the third person who has used faan 1 to encode his or her pleasurable feelings, as in (26c), or if it accompanied by an evidential marker such as sentence final wo 5 , as in (26d). The pragmatic motivations for faan1 to develop into an attitudinal marker and the mechanisms involved in its diachronic development have been reported recently in Chor (2013); due to the limitation of space, the details are not repeated here. Basically, it is found that based on the meaning of 'returning to the original location' , faan 1 occupying the postverbal position can express a rich array of 're-' meanings, such as 'redo' , 'resume' , and 'reciprocate' , and can further indicate the speaker's positive evaluation. ...
... The particle 喎 wo 5 is used as a device to report what someone else has said. Chor (2013) for a thorough discussion on the grammaticalization and subjectification of faan 1 . (18), faan 1 is used as a directional verb within the adhortative construction ngo 5 dei 6 faan 1 uk 1 kei 2 laa 3 'Let's return home' . ...
... For recent studies focusing on clause-medial constructions with subjective interpretations, seeChor (2010Chor ( , 2013 andYap and Chor (2014).33 For recent studies focusing on the development of sentence-final particles with subjective interpretations, see. ...
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... Future research can expand the range of constructions covered. There remains a large number of grammaticalised V 2 s we are yet to cover, such as saai3 ('all'), maai4 ('as well'), faan1 (literally 'return'; see Chor (2013)) and cit3 ('on time'). It is also interesting to compare the resultative constructions and the corresponding constructions with the causative zing2 ('make') as V 1 . ...
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The emergence of perfective ‘already’ is attested in Cantonese-English bilingual children and a number of Southeast Asian contact languages. Analyzing the use of already in Cantonese-English bilingual children, we find that both the semantic and syntactic properties of the Cantonese [zo2 ... laa3 ] construction are mapped on already. While the emergence of perfective ‘already’ is usually discussed under the framework of grammaticalization (e.g., Matthews & Yip, 2009), this paper demonstrates that it should also constitute a case of relabeling. Based on our analysis, we will discuss the relationship between relabeling and grammaticalization, and argue that the two research frameworks are complementary instead of mutually exclusive.
... Similar interests in subjectivity from a grammaticalization perspective for Chinese can be seen in Tao (2007) and the collection of papers in F. Wu (2011). Research on subjectivity and stance within the discourse and grammar tradition is represented in Tao (1996Tao ( , 2003, Su (2004), Lim (2011) and Endo (2013) for Mandarin Chinese, and in Chor (2010aChor ( , 2010bChor ( , 2013 for Cantonese Chinese. For similar recent studies in Japanese, particularly those involving the emergence of stance markers via the "insubordination" of dependent clauses as a result of main-clause ellipsis, see Ohori (1995), Higashiizumi (2006) and Shinzato (2011Shinzato ( , 2015. ...
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Chapter
Some Theories about Structural and Semantic-Pragmatic Properties of GrammaticalizationSome Examples of GrammaticalizationImplications for a Theory of GrammaticalizationConclusion Notes