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ERIC Number: ED529573
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 265
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1246-0435-0
The Particle ye and Related Constructions in the Guodian Manuscripts of IV Century BCE
Caboara, Marco
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Washington
This dissertation examines the particle "ye" in the IV century BCE Chinese Guodian manuscripts by providing a synchronic analysis of its functions and a diachronic hypothesis relating all functions to focus marking. I have subdivided the around 600 occurrences of "ye" into four main functions: focus marker, topic marker, clause connection marker, predicate nominal marker. Among these main functions the last three have long been recognized, even though often with different labels, in the literature, while the first, the focus function, has never been fully articulated as a separate category. Relying on systematic typological analyses that recognize regular connections among focus and a series of semantic operators and constructions, I have been able to find a significant degree of correlation between the focus usage of "ye" and the occurrence of negatives, sentences with universal quantifiers and inversions. While the usage of "ye" as a topic marker has been widely recognized, and its tendency to co-occur with "zhi" and "qi" noun phrases in topic position has been equally noticed, my investigation is the first to provide a systematic analysis of the kind of elements occurring as topics marked by "ye" and to analyze its presence vs. absence of "ye" as a topic marker in a given text, as well as to propose a diachronic path connecting focus marking to topic marking. Focus and topic are connected by the common feature of contrastiveness. In the study of "ye" as clause connector I make use of discourse analysis, and especially of Schiffrin's and Fraser's studies, in conceptualizing the function of "ye" as a fully optional discourse marker, and more specifically as a relationship marker that signals the relationship of the basic message being conveyed by the current utterance to some prior message, encoding contrast, elaboration and inference. Furthermore, on the basis of passages from the Guodian corpus I argue for the possibility of a diachronic development from "ye" marking contrast and adversativity (which are basic focus features) to "ye" as a clause connector marking temporal, conditional and causative relationships, as it has been recently shown by typologists and cognitive linguists that there is a tight connection between adversative, concessive, conditional, temporal and causal meaning. As for "ye"'s most frequent and prominent function, nominal predicate marker, I have tested and validated on the GD corpus a recent typological hypothesis by Stassen, the major expert on intransitive predication, concerning the existence of a category of particle copulas, as well as his observation that particle copulas tend to alternate with zero copula encoding, and it is through the interpretation of "ye" as a particle copula having its origin in a variety of markers such as topicalization, backgrounding, or contrastive focus for subjects or predicates that it is related ultimately to focus marking. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A