Chinese/Sinitic is often seen as a textbook example of isolating typology, with little or no inflection, stable morpheme boundaries, no cumulative exponence, and no allomorphy or suppletion. From the diachronic point of view, the isolating nature of Chinese, as well as other typological features (e.g. lack of obligatory categories), are said to be associated with grammaticalization without formal evolution (see e.g. Bybee, Perkins and Pagliuca 1994; Bisang 2004). In this paper, we will discuss the typology of Sinitic in its genetic and areal context. We will then focus on how grammaticalization works in languages of the East and Mainland Southeastasian area (EMSEA), and we shall discuss possible exceptions to this general trend in some Northern Sinitic languages. We will show that the typological features traditionally attributed to EMSEA languages do seem to prevent the establishment of morphological paradigms, but secondary grammaticalization (in the sense of Traugott 2002) may still occur, as a morphophonological phenomenon connected with frequency of cooccurrence and with specific prosodic patterns. We shall also discuss the implication of this for the typology of Sinitic, and for grammar-based cross-linguistic research.

The areal typology of grammaticalization: the case of northern China

Arcodia, GF
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
2020

Abstract

Chinese/Sinitic is often seen as a textbook example of isolating typology, with little or no inflection, stable morpheme boundaries, no cumulative exponence, and no allomorphy or suppletion. From the diachronic point of view, the isolating nature of Chinese, as well as other typological features (e.g. lack of obligatory categories), are said to be associated with grammaticalization without formal evolution (see e.g. Bybee, Perkins and Pagliuca 1994; Bisang 2004). In this paper, we will discuss the typology of Sinitic in its genetic and areal context. We will then focus on how grammaticalization works in languages of the East and Mainland Southeastasian area (EMSEA), and we shall discuss possible exceptions to this general trend in some Northern Sinitic languages. We will show that the typological features traditionally attributed to EMSEA languages do seem to prevent the establishment of morphological paradigms, but secondary grammaticalization (in the sense of Traugott 2002) may still occur, as a morphophonological phenomenon connected with frequency of cooccurrence and with specific prosodic patterns. We shall also discuss the implication of this for the typology of Sinitic, and for grammar-based cross-linguistic research.
CLUB Working Papers in Linguistics. Volume 4
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3726410
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