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Tsing Hua Journal of Chinese Studies
ISSN 0577-9170; DOI 10.6503/THJCS


The Origin and Constructions of the Dummy Pronoun ta 他 in he ta ge tongkuai 喝他個痛快

Vol. 44 No. 4   12/2014  


The Origin and Constructions of the Dummy Pronoun ta in he ta ge tongkuai 喝他個痛快


Kuo, Wei-ju









Key words

ta, he ta ge tongkuai, double object construction, speaker orientation, different locus


      This study examines the formation of the dummy pronoun ta in he ta ge tongkuai 喝他個痛快 ‘(Let's) Drink to our heart’s content!’ from a diachronic syntactic perspective, and it also discusses other related constructions with the dummy pronoun ta. The results suggest that, although there are some similarities and differences among these constructions, they can be divided into two categories: those related to double object constructions (e.g., he ta ge tongkuai and gei ta ge hun 給他個混 ‘(Let's) Muddle along!’); and those associated with single object constructions (e.g., he ta san bei 喝他三杯 ‘(Let's) Gulp some wine down!’ and guan ta san qi ershiyi 管他三七二十一 ‘(Let's) Forget about it and let it rip!’). For the former category, we propose that ta in he ta ge tongkuai was analogized from a double object construction, which resulted in a formal object (ta) being inserted. In the latter case, ta was grammaticalized from a third-person indefinite pronoun which had been an appositive in Middle Chinese. Constructions with the dummy pronoun ta are all strongly speaker-oriented, which may be due to the fact that ta evokes a different locus, that is, a concept of a space that does not coexist with the speaker.




Author: Kuo, Wei-ju
Genre: Article
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