This paper aims to explore the origin and to reconstruct the path of the development of a preverbal element, glossed as ACQ here, in the Nanning Yue dialect (NY) spoken in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region in south-western China. Apart from being a full verb meaning “acquire”, this morpheme can also appear in preverbal and post-verbal positions, expressing different modalities. It is argued that the preverbal ACQ in Early Cantonese (i.e. the ancestral language of modern Cantonese spoken in the Pearl River Delta as well as NY) is relatively non-productive, and this leads us to consider that the emergence of this peculiar grammatical element in modern NY might involve external factors. One possible such factor is language contact. Specifically, we argue that the new readings derived from the preverbal ACQ in NY were transferred from Zhuang, the most common non-Sinitic language of the Tai-Kadai family in Guangxi, by contact-induced interference. Copyright © 2011 School of Oriental and African Studies.
|Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
|Published - Mar 2011