Current Trends in Chinese Discourse
  • ISSN 1877-7031
  • E-ISSN: 1877-8798
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Transitivity has been approached from various discourse functional points of view. In this paper, we describe the emergence in standard Chinese of a marker of high transitivity, 到 dao ‘reach’, in syntactic contexts where it has not been attested before (e.g., 帮助到你 bangzhu dao ni ‘help you’). We argue that this emergence is associated with a number of factors: the semantic properties of the main verb, dialectal influences, and recent social trends towards consumerism and an emergent “yuppie” identity in contemporary Chinese urban life. We take the innovative uses of dao to be an instance of linguistic structure co-evolving with societal change.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): dao ‘’; Emergent Grammar; grammaticalization; language change; transitivity
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