Modality in General Linguistic Investigations Conducted in China Prior to 1949

Part of the Frontiers in Chinese Linguistics book series (FiCL, volume 5)


This article focuses on the investigations by Li Jinxi (New Grammar of the National Language. Li Jinxi collected works. Heilongjiang Education Press, Harbin, 1924), Lü Shuxiang (Outline of Chinese Grammar. The Commercial Press, Shanghai, 1942a, Outline of Chinese grammar. Collection of Lü Shuxiang’s works. Liaoning Education Press, Shenyang, 1942), Wang Li (Modern Chinese Grammar. Series in Chinese grammar. The Commercial Press, Beijing, 1943, The theory of Chinese grammar. Collection of Wang Li’s works. Shandong Education Press, Jinan, 1944) and Gao Mingkai (On Chinese Grammar. Kaiming shudian, Shanghai, 1948). The aim is shedding light on their notable anticipations of contemporary theories on modality. It will be shown that those works were not confined to a language-specific discourse but had the depth and vastness of the best General Linguistics tradition. After an introduction on the relevant seminal tenets on modality, the article presents five sections focussing on a different critical issue as analysed in the literature above. Namely, the attitudinal theme and the relation between sentential and verbal mood (Sect. 6.2); the illocutionary and propositional levels of modality (Sect. 6.3); the notion of modals as a semantic category (Sect. 6.4); the distinction between modalities of moral duty and mere necessity (Sect. 6.5); modal interdefinability and negation scope (Sect. 6.6).


Modality Lü Shuxiang Negation scope Chinese linguistics Non-factuality 


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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Asian StudiesUniversity College CorkCorkIreland

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