The study of 行xing in subjective expressions in Mandarin Chinese--A focus on modality and hyperbolic expression

  • 陳 玫瑾

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


The aim of this study is to discuss Chinese 行xing with regard to modality and hyperbolic expressions 行xing is polysemic in Chinese and can be a verb walk a noun journey and so on Two of these usages are special which are for the deontic modal and hyperbolic expressions because they are related to the speaker’s attitude toward the event Therefore this study will attempt to investigate行xing in its modal use and hyperbolic expressions in Modern Chinese According to Lyon (1977) each type of modality can be further divided into possibility and necessity From the semantic aspect this study will classify modality into four groups which are epistemic deontic dynamic and future modality; from the syntactic dimension it can be categorized as root modal and epistemic modal (Butler 2003 Cook 1978) When 行xing is expressing permission it is a deontic modality In this use 行xing is usually a predicate which appears at the sentential final position and is modified by the quantifier adverbs The meaning of 行xing in deontic use is similar to the modal verb 可以ke-yi which also conveys the speaker's permission However 可以ke-yi is not only more widely distributed than 行xing but also its syntactic structure is more flexible than 行xing 行xing can also appear in a negative formation to be a hyperbolic expression such as X到不行 X dao bu xing It is used to magnify the speaker’s emotion to show that something has been achieved to the maximal degree from speaker’s perspective Furthermore it is also possible to add a classifier phrase 一個yi ge between 到dao and 不行 bu xing to form as a superlative form to magnify the speaker’s opinions In sum 行xing in subjective use can be a modality or a hyperbolic expression that expresses the speaker’s attitude In modal use 行xing has two different parts of speech In deontic use it is more like a verb which is usually a predicate appearing in the sentence final position and in dynamic use it is more like an adjective and is usually modified by degree adverbs In the hyperbolic expression X到不行 X dao bu xing it is generally used to modify a gradable adjective or a verb related to people’ emotion on a maximal scale
Date of Award2015 Feb 9
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorHui-Chi Lee (Supervisor)

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