The morpheme dāk 得 has a broad range of functions in modern Cantonese, including being used as a particle introducing an adverbial construction, as a particle introducing the so- called ‘potential complement’ (we refer to this as the ‘long potential’) and as a verbal (quasi- )suffix (the ‘short potential’), which indicates that the state of affairs denoted by the verb may happen. In this paper, we first offer a general introduction on dāk 得in modern Cantonese, which we then compare with Mandarin de 得 and parallel acquisitive modals in Lao, Vietnamese, and Zhuang, also with a focus on their modal meanings. We will then provide a diachronic overview of Cantonese dāk 得based on a sample of texts from the 19 th and early 20 th century written in Cantonese by Western scholars, missionaries, and officers. The historical Cantonese data will be analyzed and compared to the development of the cognate morpheme de 得 in mainstream Chinese written sources: because of the limited diachronic depth of Cantonese data, this is necessary to delve further into the history of this item and of the related constructions. We will argue that: a. all the contemporary Cantonese (and Mandarin) uses seem to derive from the attainment sense of postverbal de/dāk 得; b. the vast majority of possible word order configurations were attested at some point in the recorded history of Chinese, but there appear to be also some patterns which could be specific to Cantonese; c. there seems to be a (partial) structural and semantic split between the ‘short’ potential and the ‘long’ potential; d. the adverbial construction probably had a more straightforward development.

A synchronic and diachronic analysis of potential dāk 得 in Cantonese

Arcodia, Giorgio Francesco
Writing – Original Draft Preparation
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In corso di stampa

Abstract

The morpheme dāk 得 has a broad range of functions in modern Cantonese, including being used as a particle introducing an adverbial construction, as a particle introducing the so- called ‘potential complement’ (we refer to this as the ‘long potential’) and as a verbal (quasi- )suffix (the ‘short potential’), which indicates that the state of affairs denoted by the verb may happen. In this paper, we first offer a general introduction on dāk 得in modern Cantonese, which we then compare with Mandarin de 得 and parallel acquisitive modals in Lao, Vietnamese, and Zhuang, also with a focus on their modal meanings. We will then provide a diachronic overview of Cantonese dāk 得based on a sample of texts from the 19 th and early 20 th century written in Cantonese by Western scholars, missionaries, and officers. The historical Cantonese data will be analyzed and compared to the development of the cognate morpheme de 得 in mainstream Chinese written sources: because of the limited diachronic depth of Cantonese data, this is necessary to delve further into the history of this item and of the related constructions. We will argue that: a. all the contemporary Cantonese (and Mandarin) uses seem to derive from the attainment sense of postverbal de/dāk 得; b. the vast majority of possible word order configurations were attested at some point in the recorded history of Chinese, but there appear to be also some patterns which could be specific to Cantonese; c. there seems to be a (partial) structural and semantic split between the ‘short’ potential and the ‘long’ potential; d. the adverbial construction probably had a more straightforward development.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/5008000
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