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The Ongoing Grammatical Change in Chinese Dialects: A Case Study of the Variations of the Delimitative Aspect in Cantonese

SHAN Yunming;  
Dialect grammatical variation is a difficulty in the study of language variation. Through a variety of research methods together with data analysis,this paper investigates the variations of the delimitative aspect in Cantonese. It shows that the variant of "V + 下"is much more frequently used than the variant of "VV". However,the latter keeps penetrating into Cantonese by lexical diffusion,although it still remains inferior to the former in language competition. By now the "VV"variant has induced some changes in verbs: some monosyllable verbs tend to be used in"VV"more than in"V + 下"; some low-toned verbs are directly used in "VV" without phonetic inflection. The enduring penetration of "VV"into Cantonese is one of the proofs that Chinese dialect grammar is gradually assimilated into Mandarin.
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