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A Diachronic Study of Concessive Conjunction Sui
concessive-adversative complex sentence
There has been a long history for the concessive conjunction (henceforth CC) suī (雖) to act as a functional word. It denotes both concessive conditional (even if), viz. semi-factual concession (虛讓), and normal concessive (although), viz. factual concession (實讓) in Classical Chinese, and its usage lasts up to the present day as the main connective in the concessive clause of a concessive-adversative complex sentence (henceforth CACS) in Modern Chinese. This thesis thus takes suī as the research object. By combing through its evolving trajectories, we attempt to provide explanations for related issues in each stages of the Chinese history. Chapter 2 discusses the origin of suī, focusing on its formation and development in Old Chinese. We consider the copula wéi (隹, including graphemes惟, 唯 and 維) in Old Chinese as the predecessor of suī, since the latter is correlated to the confirmative or emphasis function of the former, from the point of view of either etymology or the actual development. In addition, the emergence of concessive context in complex sentences also plays a crucial role in the evolution from copula into concessive connective. Chapter 3 investigates the concessive function of suī along its evolving trajectories in history, and the diachronic inspection concentrates mainly on the period from Old Chinese to Early Modern Chinese. Through the surveying, we claim that the concessive conditional sense of suī was taken over by other conjunctions. The concessive function of suī, therefore, narrows down gradually to merely the normal concessive sense in Middle Chinese, together with Early Modern Chinese, and this situation remains in Modern Chinese. Besides, for the CACS’s of suī we distinguish different constructions in actual usage as well as expression types in adversative sentences within diachronic contexts. Chapter 4 pays attention to the formation and development of disyllabic CC’s in construction of suī-X, which prevail in Middle and Early Modern Chinese. After examining a good deal of cases, we obtain the patterns of compounding in those disyllabic CC’s as following: 1) the reassembling across hierarchies; 2) the suffixation of functional word to suī; 3) the combination of suī and its near-synonyms. Behind compounding processes as such we conceive of two main propellent mechanisms, namely, the bleaching of lexical meaning and analogy, which lead to the grammaticalization within the compound structure on the one hand, and the acceleration of lexicalization on the other hand.
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