MORE THAN PERSON DEIXIS: USES OF 'YA' (丫) AMONG NATIVE AND NON-NATIVE BEIJINGERS
This paper examines how the morpheme 'ya' is used among native and non-native speakers of the Beijing dialect. It traces the development of 'ya' from a lexical noun to a third person singular pronoun, initially with derogatory meaning, and then extending into a social identity marker signaling familiarity and intimacy. Evidence from both production and perception studies also shows that the use of 'ya' has extended to other regions, with non-native uses of 'ya' emerging in the process. In addition to native vs. non-native use, other factors also contribute to differences in the use of 'ya' constructions. Among the factors identified in this study are age group, gender, and length of residency in Beijing.
Key words: Ya, person deixis, Beijing dialect, native and non-native, social identity marker