Edited by Sylvie Hancil and Vittorio Tantucci
[Studies in Language Companion Series 232] 2023
► pp. 50–73
In this study we support the view that grammaticalization can unfold both in the form of increased dependency and increased expansion (cf. Traugott & Trousdale 2013), even when originating from the same original lexeme. We provide the case study of the Mandarin apprehensive verb 怕 pà ‘to be afraid’ which developed a new epistemic meaning ‘to believe, to conclude that’. The shift from fear to reason in so-called epistemic-apprehensives (Jing-Schmidt & Kapatsinski 2012) has been observed in a number of languages, including the English construction I am afraid (Leech 1983; Palmer 2001). What this study shows is that this transition in Chinese involves grammaticalization as increased dependency for constructions such as 不怕 bùpà ‘no fear’ > ‘although’ and 只怕 zhǐpà ‘only fear’ > ‘probably’. However, it also leads to grammaticalization as expansion, such is the case of 恐怕 kǒngpà ‘to be afraid’ > ‘to conclude that’. This supports and reinforces Traugott & Trousdale’s (2013) view that grammaticalization is not necessarily bound to increased reduction and dependency and can be at work also as a mechanism of functional expansion, even along the same cline of change, such is the present one involving the same source (fear) and target domains (reason) of reanalysis.