Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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In Chinese linguistics, there has been a long-term interest in the many uses of有 yǒu. However, a number of these studies limit the functions of 有 yǒu only to a particular period (i.e. the Archaic or Modern period). Moreover, explanations as to why 有 yǒu lost its dominance and was substituted by other words is rarely given. Thus, this paper will synthesize the key interpretations on the variety of functions of 有 yǒu during their development from the Archaic to Modern Chinese periods, and provide explanations for its semantic and syntactic characteristics. In addition, this paper also supports Hopper and Traugott (2003)'s view that during the process of grammaticalization, a content word can shift its function to be a grammatical one.

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