National Tsing Hua University Institutional Repository:Modal Verbs and Modal Adverbs in Chinese: An Investigation into the Semantic Source
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    National Tsing Hua University Institutional Repository > 人文社會學院  > 人文社會學院出版品 > UST Working Papers in Linguistics > 第1期 >  Modal Verbs and Modal Adverbs in Chinese: An Investigation into the Semantic Source


    题名: Modal Verbs and Modal Adverbs in Chinese: An Investigation into the Semantic Source
    作者: Hsieh, Chia-Ling
    日期: 2005-07
    出版者: Graduate Institute of Linguistics, National Tsing Hua University
    關聯: UST Working Papers in Linguistics, Graduate Institute of Linguistics, National Tsing Hua University, Volume 1, Pages 31-58
    关键词: modality
    摘要: This paper presents ‘source’ as the distinctive feature for a twofold semantic categorization for Chinese modal expressions. Previous studies have characterized Chinese modals as words used to express the speaker’s opinion or attitude. Yet given the absence of morphological and syntactic distinctions in Chinese, there has been little consensus among different accounts as to within what limit this definition is to apply. Instead of imposing such preconceived cross-linguistic perspective, this paper argues that the component of ‘source’ must be taken into consideration to outline a clearly specified semantic category in Chinese modal systems. A distinction is drawn between modals with ‘the source of opinion or attitude’ as part of their meaning components and those without. The former is non-subject-oriented by nature, including modals traditionally seen as auxiliaries (e.g., epistemic keneng ‘may’, and deontic keyi ‘can’) and adverbs (e.g., epistemic yiding ‘must’, deontic wubi ‘must’, and evaluative xingkui ‘fortunately’). The latter type, being subject-oriented, functions as the main verb in a sentence (e.g., epistemic caice ‘guess’, deontic yaoqiu ‘demand’, and evaluative qingxing ‘be gratified’) and covers a group of words that have been widely identified as auxiliaries (e.g., dynamic neng ‘can’). ‘Neutral possibility’ as advanced by a number of scholars is also proven to belong to dynamic modality because it takes the enabling condition as its subject and is subject-oriented in the sense that the proposition it qualifies concerns the capacity of its subject. The source involvement property alongside the bipartite model provides a unified account for Chinese modal inventories. It entails formal dimensions such as argument selection and categorical manifestation and also reflects the speaker’s motivation in exploiting varied modal types to achieve different pragmatic purposes.
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