GRAMMATICALIZATION OF THE VERB ‘TO ACQUIRE’ INTO MODALITY: A CASE STUDY IN VIETNAMESE
Kingkarn Thepkanjana and Soraj Ruangmanee
The verbs meaning ‘to acquire’ are known to be highly polyfunctional words in Southeast Asian languages. They have many syntactic functions and many grammatical meanings. One of the important grammatical meanings expressed by the verbs meaning ‘to acquire’ across languages is modality. This study aims to investigate the grammaticalization of the verb ‘to acquire’ in Vietnamese, namely, được, into a grammatical marker of many types of modality. It is found that được can indicate three types of modality, i.e. ability/capacity modality, circumstantial possibility, and permission. It has not developed into a full-fledged epistemic modal yet. It is argued that the grammaticalization of được into different types of modality is primarily driven by metonymic processes.
Key words: grammaticalization, modality, verb ‘to acquire’, Vietnamese