Volume 43, Issue 3
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This paper discusses the grammatical-lexical distinction based on Boye and Harder (2012) in the class of aspectual markers in Chinese and aims to decide whether these markers are grammatical or lexical in a theoretically anchored sense. To accomplish this, the language-general criteria proposed in Boye and Harder (2012) are translated into Chinese-specific criteria for diagnosing grammatical vs. lexical status, and these translated criteria are then applied to Chinese aspect markers in a questionnaire-based survey in order to test whether these markers are lexical or grammatical. Our classification of the Chinese markers tested is then compared with a traditional classification based on grammaticalization features (Lehmann 2015). The results support an integration of the two ways of approaching the grammatical-lexical distinction.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Aarts, Bas
    2007Syntactic Gradience: The Nature of Grammatical Indeterminacy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  2. Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y.
    2018 Evidentiality: The framework. InA. Y. Aikhenvald (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Evidentiality, 1–43. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  3. Baxter, William H., Sagart, Laurent
    2014Old Chinese: A New Reconstruction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945375.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199945375.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  4. Biq, Yung-O.
    1988 From Focus in Proposition to Focus in Speech Situation: Cai and Jiu in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Chinese Linguistics16. 72–108.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Bisang, Walter
    2010 Grammaticalization in Chinese – a construction based account. InE. C. Traugott & G. Trousdale (eds.), Gradience, Gradualness, and Grammaticalization, 245–277. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/tsl.90.13bis
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.90.13bis [Google Scholar]
  6. Bisang, Walter & Andrej Malchukov
    (eds.) forthc/2019Grammaticalization Scenarios: Areal Patterns and Cross-Linguistic Variation. A comparative Handbook. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  7. Bundesen, Claus
    1990 A theory of visual attention. Psychological Review97. 523–547. 10.1037/0033‑295X.97.4.523
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.97.4.523 [Google Scholar]
  8. Boye, Kasper
    2010 Raising verbs and auxiliaries in a functional theory of grammatical status. InK. Boye & E. Engberg-Pedersen (eds.), Language Usage and Language Structure, 73–104. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110219180.1.73
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110219180.1.73 [Google Scholar]
  9. Boye, Kasper & Roelien Bastiaanse
    2018 Grammatical versus lexical words in theory and aphasia: Integrating linguistics and neurolinguistics. Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics3(1). 29. doi:  10.5334/gjgl.436
    https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.436 [Google Scholar]
  10. Boye, Kasper & Peter Harder
    2012 A usage-based theory of grammatical status and grammaticalization. Language88(1). 1–44. 10.1353/lan.2012.0020
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2012.0020 [Google Scholar]
  11. Burgess, Thomas F.
    2001 A general introduction to the design of questionnaires for survey research. www.leeds.ac.uk/iss/documentation/top/top2.pdf
  12. Chao, Yuen-Ren
    1968A Grammar of Spoken Chinese. Berkeley; Los Angeles; London: University of California Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Chen, L. M.
    2005 On Jiu and Cai. Contemporary Linguistics1. 16–34.
    [Google Scholar]
  14. Djamouri, Redouan. & Waltraud Paul
    2009 Verb-to-preposition reanalysis in Chinese. InP. Crisma. & G. Longobardi (eds.), Historical Syntax and Linguistic Theory, 194–402. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199560547.003.0012
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199560547.003.0012 [Google Scholar]
  15. Dik, Simon C.
    1997The Theory of Functional Grammar. 2Vols.Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Henne, Henry, Ole Bjorn Rongen & Lars Jul Hansen
    1977A Handbook on Chinese Language Structure. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. Hole, Daniel P.
    2004Focus and background marking in Mandarin Chinese: System and theory behind cai, jiu, dou and ye. London-New York: Routledge Curzon. 10.4324/9780203565193
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203565193 [Google Scholar]
  18. Hopper, Paul J. & Elizabeth C. Traugott
    2003Grammaticalization, 2nd Edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9781139165525
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139165525 [Google Scholar]
  19. Ishkhanyan, Byurakn, Halima Sahraoui, Peter Harder, Jesper Mogensen & Kasper Boye
    2017 Grammatical and lexical pronoun dissociation in French speakers with agrammatic aphasia: A usage-based account and ERF-based hypothesis. Journal of Neurolinguistics44. 1–16. doi:  10.1016/j.jneuroling.2017.02.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneuroling.2017.02.001 [Google Scholar]
  20. Jiang, Shaoyu
    2000 Hanyu dongjieshi chensheng de shidai. Guoxue Yanjiu6.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Lai, Huei-Ling
    1999 Rejected Expectations: the scalar particles cai and jiu in Mandarin Chinese. Linguistics37(4). 625–661. 10.1515/ling.37.4.625
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ling.37.4.625 [Google Scholar]
  22. LaPolla, Randy J.
    2009 Chinese as a Topic-Comment (Not Topic-Prominent and Not SVO) Language. InJanet Xing (ed.), Studies of Chinese Linguistics: Functional Approaches, 9–22. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Lee, Hui-chi
    2005 On Chinese focus and cleft constructions. Hsinchu City, Taiwan: National Tsing Hua University PhD. dissertation.
  24. Lehmann, Christian
    2015Thoughts on Grammaticalization. Berlin: Language Science Press. 10.26530/OAPEN_603353
    https://doi.org/10.26530/OAPEN_603353 [Google Scholar]
  25. Lei, Dongping & Hu Lizhen
    2010 Shijian fuci ‘zhengzai’ de xingcheng zai tan. Studies of the Chinese Language 2010 (1). 67–73.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Li, Charles N. & Sandra A. Thompson
    1981Mandarin Chinese: A Functional Reference Grammar. Berkeley/Los Angelos: University of California Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Li, Kening
    2008 Contrastive Focus Structure in Mandarin Chinese. InMarjorie K. M. Chan & Hana Kang (eds.), Proceedings of the 20th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-20). Volume2, 759–774. Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio State University.
    [Google Scholar]
  28. Liu, Feng-Hsi
    2000 The scalar particle hai in Chinese. Cahiers de linguistique – Asie orientale29. 41–84. 10.3406/clao.2000.1565
    https://doi.org/10.3406/clao.2000.1565 [Google Scholar]
  29. Lu, Bingfu, Guohua Zhang & Walter Bisang
    2015 Valency classes in Mandarin. InAndrej Malchukov & Bernard Comrie (eds.), Valency Classes in the World’s Languages, 2Vol, 709–764. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  30. Lü, Shuxiang
    1999Xiandai Hanyu Babai Ci [Modern Chinese 800 words]. Beijing: The Commercial Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  31. Mei, Tsu-Lin
    1991 Cong Handai de “dong, sha”, “dong, si” lai kan dongbu jiegou de fazhan – Jianlun zhonggu shiqi qici de shishou guanxi zhonglihua. Yuyanxue Luncong16: 112–136.
    [Google Scholar]
  32. 2008 Shanggu Hanyu dongci zhuo qing bieyi de laiyuan [The original differences of the verbs with voice and voiceless initials in Ancient Chinese]. Minzu Yuwen 2008(3). 3–20.
    [Google Scholar]
  33. Paul, Waltraud & John Whitman
    2008Shi…de focus clefs in Mandarin Chinese. The Linguistic Review25 (2008), 3/3. 413–451.
    [Google Scholar]
  34. Simpson, Andrew & Xiu-Zhi Zoe Wu
    2002 From D to T – Determiner Incorporation and the Creation of Tense. Journal of East Asian Linguistics11. 169–209. 10.1023/A:1014934915836
    https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1014934915836 [Google Scholar]
  35. Shyu, Shu-ing
    1995 The syntax of focus and topic in Mandarin Chinese. Los Angeles: University of Southern California PhD. dissertation.
  36. Smith, Carlota S.
    1997The Parameter of Aspect. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 10.1007/978‑94‑011‑5606‑6
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-011-5606-6 [Google Scholar]
  37. Sun, Chaofen
    1996Word-Order Change and Grammaticalization in the History of Chinese. Stanford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. 2005 To use and to cause: shiyong and the derivation of indirect causation in Chinese. Journal of Chinese Linguistics33(1). 140–163.
    [Google Scholar]
  39. 2006Chinese: A linguistic Introduction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511755019
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511755019 [Google Scholar]
  40. 2013 Chinese resultative verb compounds: lexicalization and grammaticalization. InGuangshun Cao, Hilary Chappell, Redouane Djamouri & Thekla Wiebusch (eds.), Breaking Down the Barriers: Interdisciplinary Studies in Chinese Linguistics and Beyond (Language and Linguistics Monograph Series 50), 625–649. Acedamia Sinica Institute of Linguistics.
    [Google Scholar]
  41. Sun, Linlin & Walter Bisang
    . forthc.Grammaticalization in Chinese. InWalter Bisang & Andrej Malchukov eds. Grammaticalization Scenarios: Areal Patterns and Cross-Linguistic Variation. A comparative Handbook. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Tsai, Wei-Tien
    2015 Tan zhi yu lian de xingshi yuyi (On the formal semantics of only and even in Chinese). Zhongguo Yuwen2. 99–111.
    [Google Scholar]
  43. Wang, Li
    1958Hanyu Shigao (A Draft History of Chinese Gramma). Beijing: Science Publishing House.
    [Google Scholar]
  44. Wang, Xin
    2008 The semantics and pragmatics of lian…dou/ye, lian, dou, and ye. InMarjorie K. M. Chan & Hana Kang (eds.), Proceedings of the 20th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-20), Vol.2, 875–891. Columbus, Ohio: The Ohio State University.
    [Google Scholar]
  45. Wang, Jinhui
    2015 Shijian fuci “zai” yu “zhengzai” de xingcheng tanjiu. Language and Linguistics16(2). 187–212.
    [Google Scholar]
  46. Wu, Hsiao-Ching
    2003 A case study on the grammaticalization of GUO in Mandarin Chinese – polysemy of the motion verb with respect to semantic change. Language and Linguistics 2003 4(4). 857–885.
    [Google Scholar]
  47. Xiao, Richard & Tony McEnery
    2004Aspect in Mandarin Chinese. A Corpus-based Study. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. 10.1075/slcs.73
    https://doi.org/10.1075/slcs.73 [Google Scholar]
  48. Xing, Janet Z.
    2015 A comparative study of semantic change in grammaticalization and lexicalization in Chinese and Germanic languages. Studies in Language39 (3). 594–634. 10.1075/sl.39.3.03xin
    https://doi.org/10.1075/sl.39.3.03xin [Google Scholar]
  49. Xu, Dan
    2006Typological Change in Chinese Syntax. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297566.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297566.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  50. Xu, Jie
    2003 Focus-marking in Chinese and Malay: a comparative perspective. Language, Information and Computation: Proceeding of the 17th Pacific Asia Conference, 1–3October 2003, Sentosa, Singapore. Colips Publications.
    [Google Scholar]
  51. Xu, Liejiong
    2004 Manifestational of informational focus. Lingua114(3). 277–299. 10.1016/S0024‑3841(03)00031‑7
    https://doi.org/10.1016/S0024-3841(03)00031-7 [Google Scholar]
  52. Yang, Ching-Yu Helen
    2017 On the syntax-semantics interface of focus particles: the additive particle 還 hai “HAI” in Mandarin Chinese. Lingua Sinica 2017 3(3).
    [Google Scholar]
  53. Yao, Zhenwu
    2013 Shanggu hanyu dongjieshi de fazhan ji xiangguan yanjiu fangfa de jiantao. Guhanyu Yanjiu 2013(1). 63–74.
    [Google Scholar]
  54. Yap, Foong Ha, Ying Yang & Wong Tak-Sum Wong
    2014 On the development of sentence final particles (and utterance tags) in Chinese. InKate Beeching & Ulrich Detges (eds.), Discourse Functions at the Left and Right Periphery: Crosslinguistic Investigations of Language Use and Language Change [Studies in Pragmatics Series], 179–220. Bingley United Kingdom: Emerald Publishers. 10.1163/9789004274822_009
    https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004274822_009 [Google Scholar]
  55. Yeh, Meng
    1993 Stative situations and the imperfective ‑zhe in Mandarin. Journal of Chinese Language Teachers’ Association28. 69–98.
    [Google Scholar]
  56. 1996 An analysis of the experiential guoEXP in Mandarin: A temporal quantifier. Journal of East Asian Linguistics5. 151–182. 10.1007/BF00215072
    https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00215072 [Google Scholar]
  57. Zhang, Lihua
    1995A Contrastive Study of Aspectuality in German, English and Chinese (Berkeley insights in linguistics and Semiotics 19). Peter Lang.
    [Google Scholar]
  58. Zhuang, Huibin
    2014 The prosodic history of Chinese Resultatives. Language and Linguistics15(4). 575–595. 10.1177/1606822X14532053
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1606822X14532053 [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): Boye & Harder (2012); Chinese aspect markers; grammatical-lexical distinction
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