Polyfunctionality of the ti42 ‘give’ Construction in Tunxi Hui Chinese: A Typological and Areal Perspective

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This present study sets out to examine the polyfunctionality and the plausible grammaticalization pathways of the ti42 ‘give’ construction in Tunxi Hui Chinese, a little-studied variety of the transitional type of Sinitic language spoken by an approximation of 70,000 active speakers in Tunxi City, Anhui Province of China. The Tunxi Hui morpheme ti42 can occur in an array of scenarios, functioning as (i) the lexical verb ‘give’; (ii) beneficiary marker ‘for’; (iii) permissive marker; (iv) passive marker; and (v) goal marker; (vi) locative marker. Three independent grammaticalization processes, i.e. ‘polygrammaticalization’ (Craig 1991), are proposed for the above functions, namely (a) lexical verb ‘give’ > beneficiary marker ‘for’; (b) lexical verb ‘give’ > permissive marker > passive marker; and (3) lexical verb ‘give’ > goal marker > locative marker.
While the morpheme ‘give’ has been readily grammaticalized from a main verb to the beneficiary marker in many of the world’s languages, and the pathway of change from lexical verb ‘give’ via permissive/causative marker to passive markers is well-attested in the Southern Sinitic and South East Asian context, the grammaticalization process from the same lexical verb ‘give’ to a goal marker and subsequently to a locative marker is not so commonly observed.
New evidence from Tunxi Hui Chinese and other Hui varieties of Chinese will help shed light on the typological and areal features of the grammaticalization of ‘give’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage and Linguistics
Publication statusIn preparation - 2022


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