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Linguistic Typology

Founded by Plank, Frans

Editor-in-Chief: Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Maria

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Volume 12, Issue 1


Variation in the grammaticalization of complementizers from verba dicendi in Sinitic languages

Hilary Chappell
Published Online: 2008-07-11 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/LITY.2008.032


This article presents the first study of crosslinguistic variation in grammaticalization processes affecting verba dicendi in Sinitic languages, making use of discourse data in the comparison. Its principal objective is to undertake a quantitative analysis of say verbs used as complementizers in Southern Min and Cantonese in order to pinpoint the stages reached in grammaticalization. In particular, it will be argued that Southern Min is more advanced in its development of a complementizer than is Cantonese. A second and more general objective is to provide an overview of grammaticalized functions of say verbs in an enlarged sample of ten Sinitic languages for which discourse data is also available, including Hakka, Xiang, Wu, Jin, Gan, and three varieties of Mandarin.

Keywords:: Cantonese; complementizer; discourse analysis; grammaticalization; quotative; Sinitic; Southern Min; speech reporting; syntax; verba dicendi

About the article

Correspondence address: Centre de Recherches Linguistiques sur l'Asie Orientale, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), 54 boulevard Raspail, 75270 Paris cédex 06, France; e-mail:

Received: 2006-04-10

Revised: 2008-01-26

Published Online: 2008-07-11

Published in Print: 2008-06-01

Citation Information: Linguistic Typology, Volume 12, Issue 1, Pages 45–98, ISSN (Online) 1613-415X, ISSN (Print) 1430-0532, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/LITY.2008.032.

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