Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1877-7031
  • E-ISSN: 1877-8798
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As a result of contact between mutually unintelligible Southern Chinese varieties like Hokkien and Cantonese, Colloquial Singapore Mandarin () 有 ‘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 有 ‘have’ construction. The ambiguous context that links the existential and realis modality functions of 有 ‘have’ is [没有 ‘not have’ + ]. This ambiguous context allows 有 ‘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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