The Evolution of Pi 2334 ('he says') in Shanghainese

Weifeng Han, Dingxu SHI

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper presents a novel analysis of the grammaticalization path of the various uses of Pi 2334 ('he says') in modern Shanghainese. We propose that Pi 2334 originated from a quotative clause, then developed its reportative use by making the source of information obscure (in the sentence-final position), and finally integrated with the proposition to form a modal particle indicative of the speaker's subjective evaluation. Recently, Pi 2334 has been raised to topic position to serve as a topic-marking function; specifically, one that expresses a counter-expectation meaning. The whole process can be chronologized as follows: quotative clause > reportative clause > modal particle > topic-marking particle. Such a path is considered to be elegant and practical since not only do the stages involved gracefully follow the principles of grammaticalization as delineated by Hopper (1991, 1996), but it is also helpful for the analysis of similar patterns across languages.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)479-494
    Number of pages16
    JournalLanguage and Linguistics
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014


    • Grammaticalization
    • Modal particle
    • Shanghainese
    • Topic-marking particle


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