The [有 yǒu + vp] construction in Singapore Mandarin
Ambiguity and semantic continuity
As a result of contact between mutually unintelligible Southern Chinese varieties like Hokkien and Cantonese, Colloquial Singapore Mandarin (csm) 有 yǒu ‘have’ has extended its semantic functions to include that of realis modality marker. This paper will demonstrate how a framework of ambiguity and semantic continuity can allow us to determine the associative links between different synchronous functions of the 有 yǒu ‘have’ construction. The ambiguous context that links the existential and realis modality functions of 有 yǒu ‘have’ is [没有 méi yǒu ‘not have’ + vp]. This ambiguous context allows 有 yǒu ‘have’ to be reanalyzed as a realis modality marker with méi ‘not’ as the negator. Additionally, the semantic continuity between the existential and realis modality marker functions further confirms such an association. While [yǒu + np] affirms the existence of someone or something, [yǒu + vp] affirms the existence of an event.
Keywords: Colloquial Singapore Mandarin, construction, semantic functions, semantic extension, ambiguity, semantic continuity
- 1.1Sociolinguistic history of the Chinese community in Singapore
- 1.2Brief history of Mandarin in Singapore
- 1.3Review of research on [有 yǒu + vp]
- 1.4Theoretical framework
- 2.Data and methods
- 3.1 有 yǒu ‘have’ in csm
- 3.2 有 yǒu ‘have’ in negative and interrogative forms in Singapore and msm
- 3.3 有 yǒu ‘have’ in Hokkien and Cantonese
Published online: 29 October 2021
Center for Chinese Linguistics PKU Mandarin corpus
. http://ccl.pku.edu.cn:8080/ccl_corpus/ (3 December 2018)
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