image of The [有 yǒu + vp] construction in Singapore Mandarin
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As a result of contact between mutually unintelligible Southern Chinese varieties like Hokkien and Cantonese, Colloquial Singapore Mandarin () ‘have’ has extended its semantic functions to include that of realis modality marker. This paper will demonstrate how a framework of ambiguity and semantic continuity can allow us to determine the associative links between different synchronous functions of the ‘have’ construction. The ambiguous context that links the existential and realis modality functions of ‘have’ is [ ‘not have’ + ]. This ambiguous context allows ‘have’ to be reanalyzed as a realis modality marker with ‘not’ as the negator. Additionally, the semantic continuity between the existential and realis modality marker functions further confirms such an association. While [ + ] affirms the existence of someone or something, [ + ] affirms the existence of an event.


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