Publication details [#62882]

Yap, Foong Ha, Marco Caboara and Yi Deng. 2017. Attitudinal nominalizer(s) in Chinese: Evidence of recursive grammaticalization and pragmaticization. Lingua : 1–21.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


This article explores the life-cycle of versatile nominalizers in Chinese, with special attention to how they evolve into attitudinal stance markers. Based on cross-dialectal and diachronic data, it first distinguishes a broad set of extended uses of nominalization constructions within the Sinitic language family, among them relativizing and subordinating uses, then traces how these dependent nominalization constructions are reanalyzed as independent finite structures. The assay discloses a series of semantic and syntactic scope expansions that paves the way for nominalization constructions to be extended from referential uses to attitudinal uses. These findings point out the robustness of an (inter)subjectification process whereby nominalizers often combine with other particles at the right periphery to form complex sentence final mood particles, which have valuable implications for cartographic studies in diachronic syntax and also for diachronic pragmatics studies that center on the interface between grammar and discourse—not only for Chinese, but for other languages with attitudinal nominalizers as well.