INCLUSION OF THE OUTSIDER–GRAMMATICALIZATION OF THE VERBAL PARTICLE 'MAAI' IN CANTONESE
This paper explores the grammaticalization of the verbal particle 'maai' in Cantonese. Originally a verb of movement meaning ‘approach/get close to’ a reference point, 'maai' has undergone grammaticalization to become a directional particle meaning ‘towards’. It then developed into an additive quantifier meaning ‘also/as well’, and has further been reinterpreted as an evaluative marker, marking the speaker’s negative evaluation of the object of the verb to which 'maai' is suffixed. A number of pragmatic processes are involved in 'maai’s' grammaticalization, in particular pragmatic inferencing and subjectification. The evolutionary pathway ‘addition’ > ‘subjective evaluation’ is attested by historical data and is also supported by cross-linguistic evidence.
Key words: directional particle, Cantonese, MAAI, grammaticalization, subjectification