The Grammaticalization of Post-verbal yidian ‘一點’ in Mandarin Chinese
The thesis focuses the discussion on the grammaticalization of the post-verbal yidian. In terms of the development of grammaticalization, from the synchronic data, it is suggested that yidian is originally used as a quantifier denoting the amount of the head noun, and then develops into the use of the complement of verbs and adjectives. The hypothesis of the development of the grammaticalization of yidian can be supported with diachronic data. Since meaning change caused by pragamatic usage usually goes along with grammaticalization, the thesis also discusses the pragmatic functions of yidian. Yidian in Mandarin Chinese is usually seen as a mitigator which displays hedging function. Limiting the discussion of the hedging function of yidian to the ‘A yidian’construction, this thesis further discusses this issue from two main points. First, the constructions in which yidian appears as a mitigator are spelled out. Through the observation from the collected data, it is found that standing on different point of views, the speakers may employ yidian as a mitigator with four constructions –‘ A yidian’, ‘bijiao A yidian’, ‘A le yidian’ and ‘tai A le yidian’. Second, it is discussed under what condition yidian displays its hedging function, i.e. how the hearers know that he speakers are hedging their utterances in one situation but not in another. It is suggested that yidian tends to be interpreted as a mitigator when subjectivity or intersubjectivity is involved in the utterances and there is one of the four reasons proposed in the thesis that the speaker needs to hedge his/her utterances. There is also a brief discussion on whether yidian is meant to be used to hedge the illocutionary force of a speaker when s/he is making orders. With the support of Lin’s (1981) and Lee-Wong’s (1998) papers on direct requests and the result of the survey, it is argued in the thesis that whether yidian is meant to be used as a mitigator is quite context-based and that yidian may not be a mitigator at all when a speaker is making an order to ask the addressee to make at least a bit of improvement to make some change in an undesirable situation.
|Appears in Collections:||Thesis|
Files in This Item: