DIRECT AND INDIRECT CONDITIONALS: A CORPUS-BASED STUDY OF CHINESE YAOSHI AND YAOBUSHI IN SPOKEN AND WRITTEN DISCOURSE
Hsun-Ming Hsu, Yu-Fang Wang, Kai-Ming Hu
This study explores Mandarin Chinese yaoshi and yaobushi constructions in both spoken and written discourse from the perspective of grammaticalization. Although the conditional markers yaoshi and yaobuhsi seem antonymous, there are some asymmetries between them in conditional constructions. Adopting a synchronic approach, this study discusses the semantic-pragmatic uses of yaoshi and yaobushi. In addition, we also show their semantic development from the propositional domain, to the textual domain, and from there to the expressive domain, viz. a semantic development whereby the meanings of the lexical items change from less to more situated in the speaker’s mental belief and attitude. By investigating the development of yaoshi and yaobushi, we can describe more accurately their various usages in contemporary Chinese and explain the asymmetries between their uses in conditionals. It is concluded in this study that the differences in their grammaticalization, subjectification and intersubjectification included, influence not only their occurrences in conditionals but also their pragmatic functions in discourse.
Key words: conditional, grammaticalization, subjectivity, intersubjectivity