Grammaticalized uses of the postverbal locative prepositional phrase in Lianhua Gan

Xiaojuan Hu

ABSTRACT: The postverbal locative prepositional phrase “Prep+DemLoc” of Lianhua Gan Chinese has been grammaticalized as a postverbal durative marker and a sentence-final mood particle. This study examines the syntactic and semantic properties as well as the grammaticalization of these two uses. The postverbal durative “Prep+DemLoc” is attached to some resultative verb compounds with phase complements that have the semantic features of [+dynamic], [–durative], and [+telic], and expresses the durativity of the resultant states expressed by these RVCs. It forms a contrastive distribution with the perfective marker li. The sentence-final “Prep+DemLoc” fits with the distributional and functional properties of a typical sentence-final particle in Chinese. It takes the preceding clause in its scope and can co-occur with other sentence-final particles in a restricted order. It is used to express the subjective mood meaning of emphasizing the existence of the state of affairs expressed by the preceding clause and facilitate the conversation by taking on the discourse function of gaining strength to the speaker’s communicative intention that can be implicit or explicit in the conversation. Based on the synchronic data, I reconstruct two probable pathways of the postverbal “Prep+DemLoc” in Lianhua Gan, i.e., “Locative > Durative > Mood” and “Locative > Mood”. The significance of this study mainly lies in its implications for cross-dialectal comparative studies on the counterparts of the postverbal “Prep+DemLoc” in other Chinese dialects.