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Grammar in Cross-Linguistic Perspective

The Syntax, Semantics, and Pragmatics of Japanese and Chinese

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Edited By Teruhiro Ishiguro and Kang Kwong Luke

In this collection of papers on syntax, semantics and pragmatics, linguists specialising in the study of Japanese and Chinese offer fresh ideas and insights on the theme of grammatical categories and structure from a comparative perspective. Against the background of theoretical developments in recent years and individual studies of Japanese, Chinese and English grammar, the papers in this volume are devoted to new in-depth treatments of distinctive aspects of Chinese and Japanese grammar informed by influential theoretical frameworks of the day, including cognitive grammar, construction grammar, information structure, grammaticalization theory, and linguistic typology. Topics of investigation include compounding, verb complementation, tense and aspect, as well as a range of word order phenomena, such as passive constructions, focus-fronting, and right dislocation.

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LEUNG WAI-MUN: Evidential Particles in Cantonese: the Case of wo3 and wo5 175

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175 LEUNG WAI-MUN Evidential Particles in Cantonese: the case of wo3 and wo5 1. Introduction When people communicate with each other, they often provide the source of information and express their own standpoint and attitude. Evidentiality thus refers to how people indicate the source of know- ledge, attitude towards knowledge and commitment to knowledge. Evidentiality is a very important linguistic phenomenon, which is not only concerned with the source of information, whether directly seen or heard, indirectly inferred, or obtained from other people, but also reflects how much the speaker is willing to be responsible for the information he or she is providing, which is related to whether the information is reliable or not. Evidentiality generally appears in every human language as a linguistic phenomenon (Plungian 2001), but it is expressed by differ- ent grammatical structures. The grammatical forms of evidentiality are called ‘evidentials’ or ‘evidential markers’, which include two types: one is inflectional in terms of prefixes or suffixes, and the other is lexical, involving modal verbs, adverbs and adjectives etc. Evidentiality basically adheres to sentence propositions, that is, when the evidentials or evidential markers in a sentence are removed, the sentence proposition is not affected. It is rare that people speak completely objectively without sub- jective feelings. Whatever degree of certainty that the speaker has about the credibility of the source of information, it is inevitable that subjective expressions are involved, conveying the speaker’s stand- points, emotions and attitudes (Shen 2001). These expressions are referred to as ‘subjectivity’,...

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