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Etymology and Historical Change of the Interrogative Particle“Po(婆)”

CHU Tai-song;YANG Jun;School of Chinese Language and Literature,Anhui Normal University;School of Chinese Language and Literature,Anhui University;  
The"Po(婆)"was used in the sentence pattern"VP-neg",it could interchange with"Bu(不),Fei(非),Wei(未),Wu(无)"and they had same function.Through paralleling the different Chinese translation of the same stories of the Buddhist scriptures,the"Bu(不)"in the sentence pattern"VP-不"as a particle is the feature of northern dialects.The main positive and negative question sentence pattern in the southern dialects is"VPI-不-VP".Through investigating the relations between phonetic and semantic,the words"Bu(不),Fei(非),Wei(未),Wu(无)"have homological relationship.Originated from the"Bu(不)",the"Po(婆)"is the variant of the"Bu(不)"in the western dialects.After the Tang Dynasty,the uses of the"Bu(不)"and the"Wu(无)"in the positive and negative question sentence pattern had a reciprocal relationship.The"Wu(无)"was preserved the ancient phonology in the oral language,while the"Bu(不)"continued its vitality by virtue of the"Po(婆)".The negatives in the sentence pattern"VPneg"had been becoming two kinds of fixed forms gradually,the one had nasal initials and the other had stop initials.Their main vowels were the[a]category and its altered phonetic forms.Based on these two kinds,the negatives diffused gradually.They were recorded by different Chinese characters in different time and different districts.
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