This paper presents a novel analysis of the grammaticalization path of the various uses of Pi 23 kã 34 ('he says') in modern Shanghainese. We propose that Pi 23 kã 34 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 23 kã 34 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.
- Modal particle
- Topic-marking particle