On the Grammaticalization and Subjectification of the‘HO+X’(好 X) Construction in Hakka

Vol. 42 No. 3   09/2012    


On the Grammaticalization and Subjectification of the‘HO+X’( X) Construction in Hakka


Yeh, Jui-chuan  









Key words

Hakka, HO+X, subjectification, grammaticalization


        This study provides a synchronic analysis of the Hakka ‘HO+X’ ( X) construction, which can be subdivided into ‘HO+NP’, ‘HO+VP’, and ‘HO+AP’ subconstructions. Following generative lexicon theory, it is argued that the interpretation of HO in the ‘HO+NP’ construction is not determined by the inherent lexical semantics of HO, but by the co-composition of HO and the NP. Likewise, the grammatical environment of HO in the ‘HO+VP’ construction is crucial in interpreting its semantics and in defining its morphosyntactic categories. When it appears in a sentence in which the speaker is the source of modal attitudes, HO, as a deontic modal, involves requirement or permission. When it occurs between two clauses, HO serves as a purpose clause marker, indicating the condition-purpose relation between the two clauses. As a middle construction marker, HO occurs in a sentence whose subject is a patient (or an instrument) and whose agent is implicit in the conceptual structure. In the ‘HO+AP’ construction, HO is a modal adverb expressing strengthened subjective quantity. Finally, we suggest that the primary motivation for the categorical shift and semantic extension of HO is the need for expressing speakers’ subjectivity, and that the corresponding subjectified forms are determined by the degree of subjectification. The mechanisms involved here include reanalysis and analogy.  



Author: Yeh, Jui-chuan
Genre: Article