Volume 14, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1877-7031
  • E-ISSN: 1877-8798
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This paper revisits the use of the construction, based on the analysis of structures with predicative adjectives in a 500,000-character corpus of spoken Mandarin assembled from transcripts of a popular Chinese chat show. Overall, was omitted more than 40% of the time with a predicative adjective, a significantly higher rate than that found in previous studies. The data reveal a number of factors that may all play a role in determining the likelihood of omission or retention: the time dependency of the adjective, the particular intensifier chosen to modify the adjective, the discourse function of the utterance and the presence of certain markers of epistemic modality. The findings also lend support to the hypothesis that is grammaticalizing to a bound morpheme in some so-called ‘conventionalised forms’ involving epistemic and evidentiality markers.


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