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Modality Without Modals: The Case of Interrogatives in Early Vernacular Texts

  • Christoph AnderlEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Frontiers in Chinese Linguistics book series (FiCL, volume 5)

Abstract

When researching the system of interrogative sentences and interrogative pronouns in early vernacular Chinese texts (early 白話 báihuà), one is surprised about the richness of rhetorical sentence patterns and the large array of question pronouns employed in the textual material. This is especially true of texts which feature a large number of dialogues, such as the 語錄 yǔlù (Recorded Sayings) literature of the early 禪 Chán School. In this paper I will analyze some aspects of this complex system, with an emphasis on the 10th century 祖堂集 Zǔtáng jí (Collection of the Patriarchs’ Hall; short: ZTJ). As will be demonstrated, rhetorical questions are an essential part of the system of modal markers in this type of literature.

Keywords

Modality Rhetorical questions Late Medieval Chinese Zutang ji 祖堂集 Chinese interrogative pronouns Historical linguistics 

Abbreviations and Symbols

?!

Indicates a rhetorical question

AC

Ancient Chinese (pre-Hàn Chinese)

ASP

Aspectual marker/aspect

BHC

Buddhist Hybrid Chinese

c.

Century

COP

Copula

DIR

Directional complement

EMC

Early Medieval Chinese

freq.

Frequency

LMC

Late Medieval Chinese

MC

Medieval Chinese

MM

Modern Mandarin

MOD

Modal adverb/modal marker

MP

Modal (final) particle

MV

Modal verb

Q

Question marker

RQ

Rhetorical question

T

See Takakusu (1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933)

ZTJ

See Yanagida (1984)

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Copyright information

© Peking University Press and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium

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