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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: The Verb GIVE and the Double-object Construction in Cantonese in Synchronic, Diachronic and Typological Perspectives Add Dissertation
Author: Andy Chin Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Washington, Asian Languages and Literature
Completed in: 2009
Linguistic Subfield(s): Historical Linguistics; Syntax; Typology;
Subject Language(s): Chinese, Yue
Director(s): Anne Yue-Hashimoto

Abstract: This dissertation examines the double-object verb [pei] 畀 and the
double-object construction in Cantonese in diachronic, synchronic and
typological perspectives.

Apart from being a verb, [pei] 畀 also performs a number of syntactic
functions as a result of grammaticalization. Our survey on other Chinese
dialects and genetically unrelated languages shows that some of these
functions (i.e. as an indirect object marker and a causative verb) are
cross-linguistically attested while some (i.e. as a passive marker and a
verb introducing instruments) are not. The chronological development of
these functions in Cantonese will also be examined.

As for the indirect object marker function of [pei] 畀, we propose that two
types of indirect object markers can be identified in Cantonese, which are
cross-linguistically attested: The go-type and the give-type. The former is
performed by directional verbs such as 過 in the 19th century Cantonese
dialects while the latter is played by the double-object verb [pei] 畀 in
modern Cantonese. Our survey on the oracle-bone inscriptions and other
dialects shows that the go-type usually predates the give-type.

With reference to the pre-modern Cantonese dialect materials and the recent
field work data on the Conghua dialect, we will explore the syntactic and
semantic factors contributing to the switchover from the go-type to the

The major syntactic construction in which GIVE involves is the double-object
construction. Two typological patterns in terms of the word order of the
objects are found across the Chinese dialects: IO DO and DO IO. The former
is found in the Northern dialects while the latter in most of the Southern
dialects. Over the last two decades, the non-native IO DO word order
pattern has been gaining its ascendency in Hong Kong Cantonese due to the
increasing influence of Putonghua and Modern Standard Chinese. A field work
with 40 native speakers of Hong Kong Cantonese was carried out to find out
the degree of usage and acceptance of the non-native patterns. We will also
compare the results among the speakers in terms of age and occupation,
which are correlated to their exposure to Putonghua or Modern Standard Chinese.

[The dissertation can be downloaded at ]