Volume 20, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067



One way to classify person systems across languages is by means of the semantic category of person and/or number, where person forms, with distinct referential values, are supposed to be in complementary distribution to each other. However, when we look into some finer details in a language-particular person system, i.e. that of the Puxian dialect in Chinese, there are person forms or expressions that are engaged in supplementary distribution and have meanings beyond what is literally said (Grice 1989). Different from previous approaches, which tended to analyze a person system into separate domains of study, e.g. reflexivity, intensification, logophoricity, empathy, etc., the author proposes that all the person-related meanings (semantics & pragmatics) constitute a “function inventory”, which has a stable structure called “inventory structure”. In the structure, each of the overtly expressed person meanings is assigned to a choice of node, from which multiple outcomes can be developed. The significance of this approach is that it tries to circumvent some pre-established categories and focuses instead on meaningful differences in a system (Sausurre 1983).

Available under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Bhat, D. N.
    2004Pronouns. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Brewer, Marilynn B. & Gardner, W.
    1996 Who is this we? Levels of collective identity and self representations. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology71(1). 83–93. 10.1037/0022‑3514.71.1.83
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.71.1.83 [Google Scholar]
  3. Brown, R. & Gilman, A.
    1960 The pronouns of power and solidarity. In Sebeok, T. A. (ed.), Style in Language, 253–276. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  4. Brown, Penelope & Levinson, Stephen C.
    1987Politeness: Some universals in language usage. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511813085
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511813085 [Google Scholar]
  5. Cai, Guomei
    2006Puxian fangyan yanjiu [Studies on the Puxian dialect]. Fuzhou: Fujian Normal University. (Doctoral dissertation.)
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Chen, Yanlin
    2004Quanzhou fangyan de daici [Pronouns in the Quanzhou dialect]. Shanghai: Shanghai Normal University. (MA thesis.)
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Clements, George N.
    1975 The logophoric pronoun in Ewe: Its role in discourse. Journal of West African Languages10(2). 141–177.
    [Google Scholar]
  8. Cole, Peter & Hermon, Cabriella & Yanti
    2015 Grammar of binding in the languages of the world: Innate or learned?Cognition1411. 138–160. 10.1016/j.cognition.2015.04.005
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cognition.2015.04.005 [Google Scholar]
  9. Cysouw, Michael
    2009The paradigmatic structure of person marking. (Oxford Studies in Typologies and Linguistic Theory). New York: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  10. Davis, Wayne A.
    2012 Meaning, implicature, and linguistic variability. Intercultural Pragmatics9(2). 245–269. 10.1515/ip‑2012‑0014
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ip-2012-0014 [Google Scholar]
  11. Deo, Ashwini
    2015 Diachronic semantics. Annual Review of Linguistics11. 179–197. 10.1146/annurev‑linguist‑030514‑125100
    https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-linguist-030514-125100 [Google Scholar]
  12. Dixon, R. M. W.
    2010Basic linguistic theory, vol.11. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Filimonova, Elena
    (ed.) 2005Clusivity: Typological and case studies of the inclusive-exclusive distinction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.63
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.63 [Google Scholar]
  14. Grice, H. Paul
    1989Studies in the ways of words. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Greenberg, Joseph H.
    1963 Some universals of grammar with particular reference to the order of meaningful elements. In Greenberg, Joseph H. (ed.), Universals of human language, 58–90. Cambridge: The MIT Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Haiman, John
    1983 Iconic and economic motivation. Language59(4). 781–819. 10.2307/413373
    https://doi.org/10.2307/413373 [Google Scholar]
  17. Haspelmath, Martin
    2007 Pre-established categories don’t exist: Consequences for language description and typology. Linguistic Typology11(1). 119–132. 10.1515/LINGTY.2007.011
    https://doi.org/10.1515/LINGTY.2007.011 [Google Scholar]
  18. 2008 A frequentist explanation of some universals of reflexive marking. Linguistic Discovery6(1). 40–63. 10.1349/PS1.1537‑0852.A.331
    https://doi.org/10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.331 [Google Scholar]
  19. 2010a Comparative concepts and descriptive categories in cross-linguistic studies. Language86(3). 663–687. 10.1353/lan.2010.0021
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2010.0021 [Google Scholar]
  20. 2010b Framework-free grammatical theory. In Heine, Bernd & Narrog, Heiko (eds.), The Oxford handbook of linguistic analysis, 1st edn., 341–365. New York: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. He, Wei
    1989Huojia fangyan yanjiu [Research on the Huojia dialect]. Beijing: The Commercial Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  22. Hirose, Yukio
    2002 Viewpoint and the nature of the Japanese reflexive zibun . Cognitive Linguistics13(4). 357–401. 10.1515/cogl.2002.023
    https://doi.org/10.1515/cogl.2002.023 [Google Scholar]
  23. Hollmann, Willem & Siewierska, Anna
    2007 A construction grammar account of possessive constructions in Lancashire dialect: Some advantages and challenges. English Language & Linguistics11(2). 407–424. 10.1017/S1360674307002304
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1360674307002304 [Google Scholar]
  24. Horn, Laurence R.
    2013 I love me some datives: Expressive meaning, free datives, and F-implicature. In Gutzmann, Daniel & Gärtner, Hans-Martin (eds.), Beyond expressives: Explorations in use-conditional meaning, of current research in the semantics/pragmatics interface, 151–199. Leiden: Brill. 10.1163/9789004183988_006
    https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004183988_006 [Google Scholar]
  25. Huang, Yan
    1994The syntax and pragmatics of anaphora: A study with special reference to Chinese (Cambridge Studies in Linguistics 70). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511554292
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511554292 [Google Scholar]
  26. Ingram, David
    1978 Typology and universals of personal pronouns. In Greenberg, Joseph H. & Ferguson, Charles A. & Moravcsik, Edith A. (eds.), Universals of human language, vol.31, 213–247. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. König, Ekkehard & Gast, Volker
    2006 Focused assertion of identity: A typology of intensifiers. Linguistic Typology10(2). 223–276. 10.1515/LINGTY.2006.008
    https://doi.org/10.1515/LINGTY.2006.008 [Google Scholar]
  28. König, Ekkehard & Siemund, Peter
    2000a Locally free self-forms, logophoricity and intensification in English. English Language and Linguistics4(2). 183–204. 10.1017/S1360674300000228
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S1360674300000228 [Google Scholar]
  29. König, Ekkehard , & Siemund, Peter
    2000b The development of complex reflexives and intensifiers in English. Diachronica17(1). 39–84. 10.1075/dia.17.1.04kon
    https://doi.org/10.1075/dia.17.1.04kon [Google Scholar]
  30. Kuno, Susumu
    1987Functional syntax: Anaphora, discourse, and empathy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. LaPolla, Randy J.
    1993 Arguments against “subject” and “direct object” as viable concepts in Chinese. Bulletin of the Institute of History & Philology631. 759–813.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. LaPolla, Randy J. & Yang, Jiangling
    2004 Reflexive and middle marking in Dulong-Rawang. Himalayan Linguistics21. 1–13.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Li, Rulong & Chen, Zhangtai
    1991 Lun Minfangyan neibu de zhuyao chayi [Discussion on the main differences among Min dialects]. In Chen, Zhangtai & Li, Rulong (eds.), Minyu yanjiu [Studies on Min], 58–138. Beijing: Yuwen Chubanshe.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Liu, Danqing
    2011 Yuyan kucang leixingxue gouxiang [Linguistic inventory typology: A proposal for a new approach of linguistic typology]. Dangdai Yuyanxue [Contemporary Linguistics] 2011(4). 289–303.
    [Google Scholar]
  35. Lu, Zhaojun
    2011Shanxi Jiaocheng fangyan daici yanjiu [Studies on pronouns in Shanxi Jiaocheng dialect]. Shaanxi: Shaanxi Normal University.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Nichols, Johanna
    2007 What, if anything, is typology?Linguistic Typology11(1). 231–238. 10.1515/LINGTY.2007.017
    https://doi.org/10.1515/LINGTY.2007.017 [Google Scholar]
  37. Norman, Jerry
    1988Chinese. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Oshima, David Y.
    2004Zibun revisited: Empathy, logophoricity, and binding. In Tur, Sylwia & Levi, Susannah (eds.), Proceedings of the 20th NWLC, (University of Washington Working Papers in Linguistics 23), 175–189. Seattle: University of Washington.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. 2006Perspectives in reported discourse. Stanford: Stanford University. (Doctoral dissertation.)
    [Google Scholar]
  40. Parker, Frank & Riley, Kathryn & Meyer, Charles F.
    1990 Untriggered reflexive pronouns in English. American Speech65(1): 50–69. 10.2307/455936
    https://doi.org/10.2307/455936 [Google Scholar]
  41. Saussure, Ferdinand de
    1983Course in general linguistics. London: Duckworth. (Translation of Harris 1983.)
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Siewierska, Anna
    2004Person. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511812729
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511812729 [Google Scholar]
  43. Wu, Jianming
    2010The function of pronominal expressions in Puxian. Lancaster: Lancaster University. (Doctoral dissertation).
    [Google Scholar]
  44. 2013a Puxianhua de rencheng linshuyu [Pronominal possessors in Puxian dialect]. Yuyan Yanjiu Jikan [Collective Papers on Linguistic Researches] 101. 280–290.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. 2013b Rencheng “juhejiegou” lilun de Hanyu shijiao [Sinitic perspective on the paradigmatic structure of person marking]. Dangdai Yuyanxue [Contemporary Linguistics] 2013(4). 393–404.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Wu, Yunji
    2005Synchronic and diachronic study of the grammar of the Chinese Xiang dialects. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110927481
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110927481 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): functional inventory; inventory structure; person; Puxian dialect
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error