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Unformatted text preview: LING3201 First Language Acquisition Natalie Yu Tsz Sum (1155000186) Term Project paper Fall 2011 Usage and Development of Cantonese Sentence-final Particles wo3 , wo4 , and wo5 in native Cantonese-speaking Children 1. Introduction Sentence-final Particles Sentence-final particles (SFPs) are minimal lexemes occurring at the end of a sentence with no referential meanings, but many of them are related to modality and pragmatics. They can appear in the form of discourse particles and act as qualifiers (or grammatical modifiers) of the sentence. Linguist Chao Yuen-Ren has described sentence-final particles as "phrase suffixes" just as word suffixes are in construction with the word preceding it, a sentence-final particle or phrase suffix is "in construction with a preceding phrase or sentence, though phonetically closely attached to the syllable immediately preceding it (Chao 1968). Sentence-final particles are found mainly, but not exclusively, in many East Asian languages, including Mandarin and Cantonese. 2. Central Research Issues 2.1 Literature Review The Classification of Cantonese SFPs by A. Law (2002) 1 Cantonese sentence-final particles (SFPs) are bound forms attached to the end of sentences and constitute an important grammatical category in the language. The number of SFPs in Cantonese ranges from 30 (Kwok 1984) to 95 (Leung 1992), depending on how one counts them. Functionally, especially in the early studies, they are often said to be similar to intonation in non- tonal languages (e.g. Chan 1998, Cheung 1972, Kwok 1984), mainly because many SFPs carry emotive meanings. Some studies (e.g. Luke 1990) prefer the term utterance particles , suggesting that these particles are attached to utterances rather than sentences. Numerous studies have found that SFPs express a wide range of meanings such as aspect, focus, modality, speech acts and temporal order (cf. Chan 1998, Cheung 1972, Fung 2000, Kwok 1984, Law 1990, Luke 1990, Leung 1992, Matthews and Yip 1994, Lee and Yiu 1998a, 1998b, 1999 and Lee and Law 2000, 2001). (Law 2000) 1 Excerpt of table on Cantonese SPFs by Leung Chung-sum (Leung 2005) 2.2 Research Focus It is significant how an additional word aka an SFP at the end of a sentence will change the meaning of the whole sentence or the focused constituent it covers. The Cantonese SFP system is much richer and complicated than the Mandarin one. The number of SFPs in Mandarin is also much smaller than in Cantonese. Unlike English, verbs do not carry tense-markers in themselves in Chinese. See these sentences in colloquial Cantonese. (1) ? ? ? ? Siu-ming eat rice Siu-ming has a meal. (?) Note that it is difficult to determine what the speaker is trying to express through this sentence because it is ambiguous in terms of semantics due to unknown illocutionarity....
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