1887
Volume 23, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1606-822X
  • E-ISSN: 2309-5067

Abstract

Abstract

The Old Chinese function word is frequently interpreted as a fusion of [ (‘at/on/in’) + (near demonstrative pronoun)] in terms of its meaning. Ever since Kennedy (1940ab1953) argued that is a fusion of [ + *an (third-person pronoun)], it has been controversial as to exactly which third-person pronoun/demonstrative pronoun *an corresponds to in Old Chinese. There is no third-person pronoun/demonstrative pronoun that is appropriate for this reconstruction.

This paper illustrates how *Ɂan is a fusion of *Ɂa and *niɁ; *nih or *nɔɁ; *nɔh, which means ‘this’ in Proto-Austroasiatic (PAA). The demonstrative is borrowed into Chinese through language contact in the Early Archaic Chinese period (10th to 6th c. BC). This fusion is plausible in historical and phonological terms, while the grammaticalization path of also accords with that of [ + demonstrative].

The grammaticalization path of is examined by analyzing all occurrences of it in the Bronze Inscriptions (BI), ( 詩經), ( 尚書), and ( 左傳). Also, the usages of its etymological doublet , which is considered to be a fusion of [ *wa (‘at/on/in’) + near demonstrative pronoun], are analyzed in order to strengthen the argument.

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