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A Brief Introduction to Comments on Researches into Ancient Chinese Functional Words

Guo Xiliang, Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Peking University, Beijing 100871  
It can not be denied that researches on functional words in ancient China had achieved greatly, nevertheless, they were mere handmaids of classic philological studies, and never researched into the field of grammar. Jing Zhuan Shi Ci was the representative work on functional words best accomplished in ancient China, but it misled other researchers to study functional words in an exegetical approach. Ma Shi Wen Tong dealt with its research work from the view of system grammar, and some of its ideas were more brilliant than many other grammatical works in the history even nowadays. However, it is a pan-chronic grammatical work, and in want of the viewpoint of historical development. It has some deficiencies or mistakes unavoida- bly. From 1950s, what deserves the greatest attention is that some papers began to combine diachronic analy- sis with synchronic research on functional words. They pay close attention to the historical changes of every functional word while attaching importance to the systematic development of functional words through differ- ent periods of time, which indicates the coming of a new stage of research on functional words.
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