Volume 17, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1387-6759
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9897
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The present study looks at the deictic adverbs and 現在 () and examines their respective roles in English and Chinese. and are commonly considered to be semantically equivalent. Their primary value is temporal: both and refer to the time of utterance, or more generally to a temporal interval which includes the time of utterance. By examining a parallel corpus of Taiwanese and English novels, this paper aims to show that apart from this present-reference value, and have little in common. The analysis of aligned texts reveals that: ( 1 ) is more frequent than ( 2 ) there is an asymmetry in the temporal use of both markers. Following Wang (2001) , I argue that has a wider semantic range than : whereas might be used pragmatically (), is limited to strict temporal reference. It appears that even in its temporal use, is more complex than ; is quasi-systematically contrastive, whereas tends to be purely deictic. We conclude that is closer in function to the Chinese particle than to the adverb .


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Chinese/English; now; particle le; temporal deixis; xianzai
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