Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1877-7031
  • E-ISSN: 1877-8798
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(一点, a little) in Chinese is commonly considered an indefinite and under-specific quantifier. This study provides some rethinking of through the lens of elasticity theory, based on real-life data from TV discussions. Elasticity theory offers new insights on the study of arguing that is both an elastic quantifier and a qualifier. The findings show that while indicates a small quantity and lesser degree, it is elastic and functions multi-dimensionally from mitigating to boosting. The frequency distributions of three pragmatic functions (just-right which is unmarked, mitigating and boosting which are marked) suggest that is used more for informational than interpersonal and political purposes. In a positive utterance tends to be a mitigator, but in negation it is a booster. The manifestation of elasticity is in ’s fluidity, stretchability and strategy, enabling it to stretch to suit various contexts and making it a powerful ‘little’ word that performs a ‘big’ role in communication.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): a little; Chinese; elasticity; quantifier; vague language; yidian
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